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Purpose and Passion: Staying Alive After 65

(Documentary, 2013, running time: 38 minutes)

Jayne DeVane continues to live her life with purpose and passion despite passing age 65 and a tragic loss. Jayne conducts workshops in Reiki, understanding chakras, crystal therapy, aromatherapy, personal health observation techniques, neutraceuticals, and belly dancing. She is skilled in allopathic medicine as well as alternative healing modalities. Whether it's in her genes or life style, or both, she exemplifies “youthing" in its best sense.

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An Open Mind

(Documentary, 2012, running time: 54 minutes)

The human body can heal itself in miraculous ways. “An Open Mind” is about energy healing; the power of prayer, faith and beliefs; rising of the collective consciousness, and how we can sense and correct an energy imbalance before it expresses itself in physical illness.

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Out of the Blue

(Documentary, 2010, running time: 52 minutes)

Ray Schmitt began a two-year spiritual journey with his camera in September 2007 after suddenly losing his wife and film partner Judy Lee. He couldn’t imagine her “not being.” Where did she go? She had to exist in some spiritual or energy form otherwise he would have been more devastated by the loss. He set out to re-examine, or affirm, his belief system. Using Ken Burn’s film “The Brooklyn Bridge” as a metaphor, Schmitt builds a bridge to the metaphysical world. First traveling to Mexico he has many synchronistic encounters along the way including meeting widows who share their own personal stories. Schmitt explores whether things can exist in different forms or dimensions, how the universe connects with us and us to the universe, and how inspirational thoughts or messages can seemingly come to us “Out of the Blue.” But one thing Schmitt wasn’t prepared for was a revelation that occurred just as he was completing his film.

Best Feature Documentary, West Virginia Filmmakers Film Festival, 2010
Best Healing Film, Akasha Metaphysical Film Festival, Carmel, CA, 2011
Screened at AWAKEN Spiritual Film Festival, Morristown, NJ, 2011
Screened at Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, 2011

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Dead Girl Walking

(Documentary, 2008, running time: 36 minutes)

Marcy Brenner was diagnosed with breast cancer the same year she lost her mother to ovarian cancer. She was 34. This is her story from the brink of despair to being truly alive. This film is for breast cancer survivors and their partners, for spiritual seekers and for anyone whose life has been touched by a life-threatening illness.

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Madalina

(Documentary, 2007, running time: 34 minutes)

Madalina Nicola was born in 1970. After graduating college, in 1994 she married and immigrated to the United States. Since childhood, Madalina suffered from Trigeminal Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Asthma, all conditions with no known medical cure. She overcame her illnesses through a combination of prayer, exercise, natural remedies, and focusing more and more on art. She is now a successful painter with numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States.

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6 Months

(Documentary, 2007, running time: 54 minutes)

Filmmaker Ray Schmitt has a genetic disorder called “Marfan Syndrome” which affects his aorta. This film explores his own life as he goes about making films on others. In six months he will find out if he needs open heart surgery to correct this condition—surgery which he is afraid could alter his personality.

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Big Jim Calvin

(Documentary, 2007, running time: 40 minutes)

This short documentary has a large talent for its subject. Big Jim Calvin, a string wizard with the molasses baritone . . . a teller of tales . . . humorist, actor, composer. As Jim would say, he was just living life as art. His story is told through the eyes of his last two wives: Royann, who was his duo partner for many years, and Nan, who videotaped his every performance. George Gruhn, Nashville’s musical instrument authority also shares his observations of Jim for the last twenty years. This documentary follows Jim’s story from California performing with the New Christy Minstrels, to Jalisco, Mexico, to Nashville.

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Talking Hands: Signing Music

(Documentary, 2007, running time: 30 minutes)

American Sign Language—ASL—is a fascinating dance of fingers and hands. It is not merely pantomime nor is it English using hands. It is a complete language with its own grammar and syntax. Add music and it becomes dazzling. Talking Hands: Signing Music shows sign language interpreters using ASL to translate the power, beauty and emotion of music to deaf and hearing-impaired audiences. These professional interpreters help them experience the joy of live concerts. At its best it communicates the essence of an artist’s lyrics over actual words. American Sign Language is all about expression. It’s visual, so even mellow music can produce facial fireworks.

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Beautiful You
A Film about Poet-Sculptor Ai Qiu Hopen

(Documentary, 2006, running time: 38 minutes)

“Beautiful You” is like a Horatio Alger story of a young Chinese girl with incredible determination to overcome her rural poverty and become an artist. The oldest daughter of migrant bee keepers, Ai Qiu’s passion for art formed another destiny for her. She was to live her dreams. Ai Qiu worked long hours on a loom at night to earn enough money to attend middle school. Spurning an arranged marriage, Ai Qiu attended East China Normal University on scholarship, beginning a career as a sculptor in Shanghai upon graduating. After corresponding with American sculptor Bill Hopen over the Internet, they met, worked together, and eventually were wed. Bill and Ai Qiu now divide their time between Sutton, West Virginia and Shanghai as they successfully pursue their artistic careers as internationally recognized sculptors of bronze.

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For the Love of Theater
A film by Ray Schmitt and Joshua Miller

(Documentary, 2006, running time: 28 minutes)

In any community the visual and performing arts are an essential path to creative expression and culture. In a small rural community, where funding can be difficult, it takes the commitment of dedicated people with a vision to ensure that the Arts flourish and thrive. In the small town of Sutton, West Virginia, the Landmark Theater is doing just that for the performing arts. It has provided a home for a small community theater group and through the vision and patience of its artistic director Jim Walker it is keeping the arts alive. Joshua Miller.

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Fiddlin’ Wayne Strawderman

(Documentary, 2005, running time: 28 minutes)

Wayne Strawderman has been entertaining folks with his fiddle and mandolin playing for over 50 years. This film tells about his early life growing up in Mathias, WV, the musical influences in his life, and the “good home fellowship” that characterizes him and his music. The film contains archival photographs, excerpts of Wayne Strawderman playing fiddle tunes at the Lost River Museum and with his popular band The Trout Pond Pickers, and commentary from his good friend and band mate Ralph Hill.

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The Whole Hog
Traditional Butchering in West Virginia

(Documentary, 2005, running time: 24 minutes)

Ever since early frontier times, families butchered their own hogs for food. This practice is becoming increasingly rare today but is still practiced with regularity in the Lost River Valley area of Hardy County, West Virginia. Families and friends get together for this all-day event which is highlighted by a delicious country dinner. This film celebrates this rural tradition and the people who practice it. The film is intended to be interesting, educational and informative. Because of the nature of this subject, some of the graphic images might not be suitable for young children.

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UFOs in Hardy County, WV
First-Hand Accounts of Strange Phenomena

(Documentary, 2005, running time: 28 minutes)

Filmmaker Ray Schmitt interviewed friends, neighbors, and other people about UFOs and other strange phenomena they have been seeing above the skies in Hardy County, WV. People began contacting Schmitt after they heard about the sci-fi film he made called “The Lights.” That film was shot in the Lost River Valley area of West Virginia and was based on an account that Schmitt heard about strange lights streaking across the sky in the nearby Shenandoah Valley. Local people began contacting the filmmaker about what they had seen in Hardy County. Many agreed to be interviewed on camera while others preferred to remain anonymous. But their stories are unique inasmuch as they all occurred in Schmitt’s “own backyard.” These stories are absolutely amazing and beg for a scientific explanation.

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Buckwheat and Ralph

(Documentary, 2004, running time: 28 minutes)

Ralph Hartman was a young boy living down the street from filmmaker Ray Schmitt. Schmitt used to see Ralph driving a tractor along the country road when he was only 5 or 6 years old... Buckwheat and Ralph was filmed over the course of a year and reflects the changing seasons, the tranquility of a mountain valley farm in Hardy County, West Virginia, and the relationship of a young boy with his dog and horses.

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The Abby Spirit

(Documentary, 2004, running time: 28 minutes)

Abby Wathen, a twenty-four year old beauty following in the footsteps of her Appalachian sister Ashley Judd, moved to New York City in 2000. During the previous decade she experienced severe, chronic pain as a victim of a mysterious disease—Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy—or RSD. This portrait tells her story, and the story of the entire family that suffered with her. Abby is now a successful model and actress working on stage, films, and national television...

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Lulu: Triumph of the Human Spirit

(Documentary, 2004, running time: 39 minutes)

Lucien “Lulu” Ferrenbach–a French metal sculptor, water colorist, boat builder and sailor, is profiled in this new documentary by Judy and Ray Schmitt. Growing up in Nazi-occupied France, Lulu overcame a serious racing bike accident that left him paralyzed to lead a life free from all tethers. He left his profession as a world-class metal sculptor in France to build and sail his own boat around the world...

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The Texture of Life: The Tusing Sisters of Branch Mountain

(Documentary, 2003, running time: 28 minutes)

This portrait of two Hardy County, West Virginia Mennonite sisters is based on a short story by their niece Kathleen Sholl. Through narration she tells the story of her annual summer visits to the home place on Branch Mountain while growing up in the Fifties. In 1972 the Smithsonian “discovered” the Tusing sisters and wrote an article on their weaving techniques and life outside the mainstream. They seldom left their 200-acre farm, not owning a car, and used little electricity except for a few light bulbs and a small radio.

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Until I Become Light: The Robert Singleton Story

(Documentary, 2003, running time: 54 minutes)See details and read reviews...

Robert Singleton’s journey is reflected in his art and events that caused a transformation of both the art and the artist. From Abstract Expressionism to a spiritual manifestation of Heaven’s Light. But Singleton’s journey has not been easy. His life is scarred by physical, verbal, and sexual abuse and by parents who mocked him and did literally nothing to encourage his art or creativity. A youth who struggled with his sexual identity and who lived his life in denial, only to find true love taken away from him by the ravages of AIDS. Singleton’s journey is about care giving and unconditional love, about introspection and forgiveness. And demons which continue to haunt his soul.

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Mountain Memories: An Appalachian Sense of Place

(Documentary, 2002, running time: 34 minutes)See details and read reviews...

Award-winning nature photographer Jim Clark is profiled in this film about his love and passion for nature photography. The program contains about 125 stunning images from the Allegheny Highlands of West Virginia, many of which appear in Clark’s books. The program includes childhood memories, stories surrounding some of the photographs, the photo opportunities in the Allegheny Highlands, his concerns about mountaintop removal, how he got into nature photography and his approach to it, and an incident where an explosion of his home on a barrier island in Texas destroyed ten thousand images and several manuscripts.

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The Lights

(Short feature, 2002, running time: 37 minutes)See details and read reviews...

Two fun-loving, co-eds from James Madison University head for Lost River, West Virginia for a long weekend. They are staying at a secluded farmhouse on Big Ridge above the Lost River Valley. Christine and Krista are invited to attend a pig roast in the Upper Cove attended by locals and Harley bikers. They are told about “the lights” that can be seen from atop North Mountain zigzagging across the sky above the Shenandoah Valley. They are also told about a dark pond in the forest that has unusual appeal to the deer. But that’s just the beginning.

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Twigman - Portrait of the Artist Tom Pumroy

(Documentary, 2002, running time: 33 minutes)See details and read reviews...

Artist Tom Pumroy from Paw Paw, West Virginia is profiled in this program. The film is a visual montage of Pumroy’s digital artwork, his oil pastels, watercolors and pen and ink sketches, and his making of rustic furniture, pergolas, gates and arbors using tree limbs and branches. Pumroy discusses how his search for truth and beauty through art led him to the Creator. His ideas are boundless and expressed in an articulate, spiritual and personal way drawing analogies from the Bible, Nietzsche, and Jung.

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$4 Trillion and Counting: The Pension System in America

(Documentary feature, 1999, running time: 79 minutes)See details and read reviews...

$4 Trillion and Counting is a documentary on the private pension system in America. The program shows how pensions developed since the American Express Company offered the first plan in 1875, the forces that converged over the next century leading to comprehensive Federal regulations known as “ERISA,” and the retirement income challenges for the 21st Century. The program highlights the changing pension world and the financial stake that all Americans have in their retirement income security.

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Adriana: Shadows on Yellow Silk

(Documentary, 1997, running time: 60 minutes)

Adriana is the compelling real life story of famed Middle Eastern dancer
Adriana Miller. Adriana dazzled audiences throughout the country in the 1960s and 1970s before a series of personal tragedies and illnesses threatened her very life and career. Set against a fabulous backdrop of belly dance and intoxicating music, this film bares the very soul of a dynamic and complex woman.

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A Conversation with Poet Laureate Rita Dove

(Documentary, 1993, 30 minutes)

Rita Dove, seventh Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, is interviewed by National Public Radio special correspondent Susan Stamberg. Includes Ms. Dove’s readings of selections of her poetry.

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Coming to Terms

Documentary, 1990, running time: 57 minutes)See details and read reviews...

History and biography combine in this profile of Hugh Gallagher, who was paralyzed by polio at the age of 19 and went on to champion the rights of people with disabilities. Gallagher had a successful career on Capitol Hill and in the White House where he was a pivotal figure in the passage of the 1968 Architectural Barriers Act, a watershed piece of legislation that helped inaugurate the disability rights movement. In 1974, Hugh Gallagher experienced a crisis in values and left the nation’s capitol to come to terms with his own disability. He had to determine how President Franklin Roosevelt—his childhood role model--was so successful in managing his own paralysis.

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When Sound is Silent

(Documentary, 1987, running time: 24 minutes)

Award-winning documentary on sign language interpreter Barry Nickelsberg who “signs” music for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Nickelsberg discusses how he was led to this calling and includes excerpts of his signing music using American Sign Language (ASL).

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