Cuke Film and Video

Shunryu Suzuki on film | cuke-The-Arts as in art-art and music

Tassajara - a meditative portrait - 1997, a film by Frazer Bradshaw.

Tano Maeda, founder of the International Buddhist Film Festival, asked me why the Cuke Film/Video section didn't include this film. I said because I didn't know about it. He wrote:

Twenty-eight minutes of details that we often overlook in a high-speed world. Feature cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw delivers a wordless, visual poem that forces us to slow down and experience the pace of the oldest American Zen monastery.  We screened it at our IBFF 2003 Los Angeles.

I got hold of Frazer Bradshaw. He wrote back that he'd made it in 1996 "fresh out of film school." He called it an observational documentary. Said he hadn't seen it in 20 years and that it hadn't been digitized. We had a bunch of back and forth and he got interested in digitizing. Going straight from the 16 mm film would be by far the best but it was too expensive. VHS wasn't good enough. He compromised and had it transferred from a Betacam SP copy. That's the professional Beta with a larger cartridge than the Betamax. So now we can all enjoy it. It's good. Enjoy. - DC

Check his website and IMDB:  www.frazerbradshaw.comIMDB Vimeo

How to Cook Your Life, a film by Doris Dörrie featuring Edward Brown and his cooking dharma

A Zen Life - D.T. Suzuki - a film by Michael Goldberg

my illustrious film and video career - dc

9-29-16 - A short documentary called SIT by Yoko Okumura. Featured on cuke blog What's new today. Focuses on Shohaku Okumura's family dealing with an unmotivated son. Very well done. - dc


1-04-15 - Check out Paul Rosenblum's artistic photos at Ryuten Photography dot com

The Mill Valley, CA, Gallery 291 website still features Paul's December show there. The photo to the left was snatched from their website and can be seen much larger on Paul's cuke page which has exciting links like to interviews with him and a neat excerpt about Suzuki from his Sweeping Zen interview.


8-07-14 - Mary Quagliata on Vimeo - Non-profit videographer


Mary Quagliata Gallery


Mary's memories of Shunryu Suzuki


4-11-14 - You may want to join the Years of Living Dangerously watch party for Episode One. It's a Showtime series on climate change. Looks good.  - posted in Climate Change


1-31-14 - Check out John Halpern's Waking Buddha film project "A film about Waking Up. Here's the Waking Buddha website.


His prior film is Refuge.

9-05-13 - With the Dharmata folks again, met Vickie Hitchcock who made When the Iron Bird Flies about Tibetan Buddhism coming to the West. Chariot Videos Iron Bird official home page

Here's the Facebook page for When the Iron Bird Flies

IMBD page

4-11-14 - The Grand Rapids Lip-dub Video was filmed May 22,  2011 as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a ‘dying city.'

11-30-12 - Richard O. Moore's Louisiana Diary

Read about it on Wikipedia

See it on Thirteen dot org

Richard Moore was for years a neighbor of Green Gulch Farm. He had an impressive role in pubic TV and documentary film. He's in his nineties now and is working on getting some of his new poetry published.

9-30-12 - Detropia

8-02-12 - Fat Sick and Nearly Dead - one successful alternative to the miserable diet habits encouraged by government subsidies, corporate propaganda, and our bad habits. See also Food Inc and Supersize Me and The Future of Food.

7-31-12 - Judy Silber produced a documentary about compassion broadcast July 16 on KALW (91.7-FM, San Francisco). She's now working on Buddhist oral history in the Bay Area.

7-22-12 - Take a break with Matt. - thanks Jack Elias

7-13-12 - Wow - some computer animation here

6-23-12 - Interested in seeing this film. - dc - thanks Howie

6-10-12 - I Am - the film

6-09-12 - Met a woman named Martha Traer at Ray Sumser's art show [link gone] who did a brief video on Ray's best known piece, Cartoonum. Find it on Traervision with lots more of her work.

I told  Martha about my illustrious film and video career.

12-03-11 - Check out Christopher's Black Tie Cinemas thing on YouTube - something he does with high school friends though it's extracurricular. The one called Laundry Room is downstairs. I don't know if it's appropriate for a thirteen year old to be killing his friends down there but who am I to judge?

11-04-11 - Buck - a film about a man who works with horses. He says that a lot of times when he's helping people with horse problems, he's really helping the horses with people problems. I found myself reflecting on how he's also showing us how to better relate to each other. He was severely abused as a kid and became a gentle soul and a wise man. - dc

11-03-11 - Refuge--the Journeys (a Buddhist film) - Nine or ten years ago a man named John Halpern came to what was once my back yard and interviewed me for a film named Refuge. He couldn't find me when it was finished in 2004 and I'd moved. Now he's trying to make it into a feature length film, from its present less than an hour length. So he's got a Facebook page and is raising money and having screenings.

REFUGE ~ THE JOURNEYS Kickstarter Promo on YouTube with some brief excerpts starting with the Dalai Lama and later John Halpern encouraging us to support the next phase of this film.

Here's a 2004 review from the Buddhist Channel. 
Here's Refuge - the Journeys Facebook page.
Here's a couple of minutes of footage with yours truly in the mix: REFUGE Clip- YOGIS & FILMMAKERS

Incidentally, I shudder to think of what else I might have said. Why'd I do that? - dc

7-25-11 - Ko Brian Blix sends links to his iMovies

click the tab Jukai 2011 at BZC Photo Site

Albums and iMovies at KoFotoFactory


Work at other site: iMovie on  Crosses of Lafayette homepage

5-06-11 - There's a fantastic new documentary out about Chogyam Trungpa, Crazy Wisdom. We got to see an early screening of it this weekend and it is really wonderful. They have a short section in there about Trungpa and Suzuki Roshi, and I was wondering if there were recordings made of Trungpa's lectures at Tassajara and City Center? Obviously, those would be really important recordings to copy and preserve! - Joe Galewsky of the Desert Mirror Zendo and Guest House in Albuquerque, NM>

Review of Crazy Wisdom [See more at What's New 5-05-11] from the Chronicles Project - The Boulder Premiere of "Crazy Wisdom"

5-21-2010 - Zowie Howie K sent a link to a wonderful documentary on Chinese Poet Han Shan, Cold Mountain, the name of the film. I loved seeing and listening to Bill Porter (Red Pine), Gary Snyder, Burton Watson, and poet Jim Lenfestey whom I was unfamiliar with. I was filled with admiration for them and Han Shan, and humbled which is a good thing. Culture Unplugged  is the name of the site. It's got many tempting documentaries. I saw a few others and was reminded of the statement (origin unknown) that the only thing worse than bad TV is good TV. - dc

5-16-10 - Ramana Maharshi: Sage of Arunachala, a film - thanks Lor

5-15-10 - Fierce Grace, an inspiring film about Ram Dass.

4-15-10 -  Top shorts at Vue8 - digital films.

11-24-09 - If you're interested in movies, you must be familiar with IMDB, the Internet Movie Data Base. I have used it since near when it started - like more than ten years ago I think. Recently I placed my first movie comment. Read it here.

11-15-09 - Off to Munchen which we call Munich to sit zazen in the evening and meet with the local chapter of Dharma Sangha.

Hope to meet with Doris Dörrie while here in her hometown. Here's her IMDB Page.  Hey, that's Edward Brown in the photo next to her there. She made the movie on him - How to Cook Your Life. She also made the excellent Enlightenment Guaranteed. Her new movie, Cherry Blossom Hanami is doing well in Germany and people who've seen it tell me it's her best.

Last I talked to her and the only time she was making a movie in Berlin during the day and reading Crooked Cucumber at night. Remember that? It's what started this site and is the namesake.

7-06-09 - Indian movie on King Asoka

Eric Arnow writes:
Asoka was probably most responsible for the spread of Buddhism in the world. He built an empire through war and suffering, so I think this movie is quite relevant to today. His only friend says, "What have you won?" " The tears of widows". His realization on the battlefield, "I won everything and destroyed everything." The movie should be required viewing for all our modern Empire builders. If the link doesn't work, it is found on, and also in segments on you tube. Just search for Asoka. This movie is a Bollywood (Indian Hollywood) movie starring some well known Indian actors and actresses. It start out as pretty much pure entertainment, but at least for me was very poignant and powerful, especially the final scene. Enjoy, Eric

5-01-09 - Earlier this year Michael Goldberg sent this update on A Zen Life - D.T. Suzuki. It still applies.

Screenings of "A ZEN LIFE - D.T. Suzuki" continue to attract good audiences and comments. DVD sales are steady). If you know anyone who might want one for personal use, it can be ordered directly on our distributor's Web site.

There are 2 clips on YouTube,

an excerpt from the opening of the documentary

and out-takes.

DVDs are now available of "A ZEN LIFE - D.T.  Suzuki," a 77-minute documentary about Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966). Read more about it and how to get the DVD in the new cuke Film Section

Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology - Lew Lancaster on YouTube. The intro says: A distinguished scholar of Buddhism, Lewis Lancaster founded the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative to use the latest computer technology to map the spread of various strands of Buddhism from the distant past to the present. Series: "Burke Lectureship on Religion & Society"  Lew writes:

This is a venue that the Zen Center may want to explore. In my case, 250 people came to the lecture but nearly 1000 have viewed it within two weeks on the internet. This is a powerful new tool...even for any of your films of Suzuki Roshi.

Read more about Lew Lancaster including the cuke interview.

5-29-08 - A friend just sent me a link to Alan Watts Theater, not realizing it had been featured on cuke last year. But I've got high weed mowing both here and at Clay's school tomorrow, so be reminded oh dear cuke reader of this bit of wisdom from Watts and the gang who makes South Park. I've coincidentally been dealing with Mark Watts, son of Alan, because Mark has been an archivist not only of his father's voluminous works - see Alan Watts dot com - but of Shunryu Suzuki tapes.  Mark said that one day he got a call from Matt Stone saying you he and his friend Troy Parker had a little adult cartoon show you probably don't know about and we're interested in doing some work together. Mark, like me, was and is a South Park fan and went and spent three weeks in LA and that first link up there is what they came up with. Now it's also got a home in cuke-The-arts film-video section. And thanks for reminding us Delsing.

5-05-08 - Just saw the Tassajara Alumni Reunion Video that was part of the Report on the SFZC's Early Tassajara Alumni Reunion posted three days ago and think it merits this plug - and not just because yours truly is in it. Quite the opposite - I cringe to see myself thus reflected - it may be time for more diet and exercise on my part. Now I must make a note to get the outtakes from that video for the archives. - Good work Timothy O'Conner Fraser and the rest credited in the video. Incidentally, in the image above, from right to left that's Peter Overton, Susan Burns Overton, and yours truly dc. - A tiny error - I make a mistake in talking to them when I say we were dropped off at the beginning of the national forest - it was way before that. - dc

Dairyu Michael Wenger cuke link page

I'd like to put something here about the Zen film festival (or was there more than one?) that Michael Wenger put on. Through that he got to know Doris Dörrie who made the above mentioned film on Edward Brown and Wenger had a workshop with her on filmmaking at Tassajara.

Michael Wenger has also worked with the Shunryu Suzuki films with Timothy O'Conner Fraser (both of the SFZC) and they came up with a really good compilation of the three source films and still footage.

Now I remember that the SF State film department (or whatever it's called) did five student films on Shunryu Suzuki using that footage and interviewing people.

Anyway, this should all be available but it's not as far as I know. Let's look into it. - DC

Current Events type nonZen documentary films

Saw Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders, a documentary film, one of many I've seen and enjoyed perversely in the last few years exposing various evils of how our society functions, or should that be - of our dysfunctional society?

There are so many of them that have been full of good information so lacking in the MSM. I can't list all that I've seen or liked. Just thought I'd mention it. Here are a couple more that come to mind:

The Corporation


And of course, the big ones - An Inconvenient Truth, Fahrenheit 911, Sicko.

Remember the importance of The Last Epidemic.

And then there's Dark Circle which I set up a screening at Greens for twenty-five years ago or so. It was about the connection between nuclear power and weapons and focused on Rocky Flats near Boulder, CO. It was made by Judy Irving who also made The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Here's her Pelican Media website for these films. And here's Mark Bittner's website - he's the author of the exellent book of the same name about those parrots. One of them was named Suzuki - or was it Shunryu? and he mentions reading ZMBM and Katrinka, Clay, and I went to the premier of it in SF (I think that was the premier).  - dc