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WNBC Interview

Director Sanjay Rawal was on NBC Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough in NYC on Wednesday the 22nd of September.

Watch here!

NBC Nightly News

New York, New York – 09/24/10 – USA

Review from Shockya.com

Review from Shockya.Com

A surfing monk kind of sounds like an oxymoron, right? When someone first suggested I check out the short film Ocean Monk, I certainly thought so. However, not only are the monks in this film talented athletes, but the connection they draw between the sport and their search for enlightenment really does make sense.

Ocean Monk is a documentary focusing on a group of monks living in New York City. It was through the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, the famous Indian spiritual teacher, that the brothers were able to find an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city in the city of Long Island. Not only is the gang willing to take to the waves regardless of temperature, they seemingly have no fear as they gracefully rip through rolling waters.

The mixture of a high-risk sport and tranquility is quite unusual making it an endlessly enthralling subject. Tack on some mesmerizing camera work and perfectly paced editing and Ocean Monk delivers big time ultimately making me want to put the technique to use myself – or at least spend some time with the fun-loving and fascinating group of monks.

Check out the trailer for Ocean Monk below and head over to the film’s website to see when you can catch it for yourself when it runs in the New York Surf Festival this week.

By Perri Nemiroff

Ocean Monk in Time Out NYC

NY Surf Film Fest Schedule

The Schedule is up! Ocean Monk is the first film of the entire festival!

Tickets go on sale on September 8th. Ticket info will be posted shortly.

Review from Simply-Showbiz.Com

Beach Blanket Babylon Goes Nirvana

Aug 30th

The new documentary short Ocean Monk, from director Sanjay Rawal, examines the connection between surfing and Eastern meditation. It follows Rawal and a group of fellow monks—disciples of the late spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy—who live in Queens, NY and incorporate surfing into their quest for transformation and transcendence. The film debuts in September at the NY Surf Film Festival. (Yes, the world of film festivals is getting that niche-y these days.)

The spiritual brothers in this doc are fully committed to this particular meditative activity. Living in the frenetic and crass environment of New York City, they suggest, can be as big an impediment to finding higher truth as the bite of those icy waters off Long Island where the boys regularly Hang Ten. These middle-aged buds are not paddling around in tropical waters with bronzed slackers, after all. We’re talking Queens here, not Maui. The monks take the whole bone-chilling regimen perfectly seriously.

Which is not to say they’re without humor. We watch as one of them hits the frigid waters dressed in a Santa Claus suit. The moment brings to mind those annual news reports in which jolly members of the local Polar Bear Club test their constitutions by cannon-balling into the brine on New Year’s Day.

At points in this 18-minute film you wonder whether these fellows are always in full transcendence-seeking mode when they face these killer waves or maybe just looking for a dangerous kick, a giant high. There’s definitely an undercurrent of Kerouac-ish super-jock attitude within this fraternity, with monks identified as race organizers and Guinness World Record holders. And you can imagine these guys chewing the blubber with the likes of merry prankster Ken Kesey, who tended to look for enlightenment through considerably different channels.

There’s barely a female face in the film, and you just might wonder how these monks would feel about the prospect of women truth-seekers joining their ranks. If a Moondoggie can benefit from this sort of quest for inner tranquility, why not a Gidget, too?

Skillfully photographed and edited, Ocean Monk features repeated shots of crashing waves that illustrate the point that there’s a whole lot of overpowering nature out there to try to feel at one with.

For more information, see www.oceanmonk.com and www.nysurffilm.com.

Director’s comment on review from Simply Showbiz

I loved the review from Simply-Showbiz.com! The author, Mark Dundas Wood, makes some great observations and I am very grateful he took the time to review the film.

He makes an interesting point about the lack of women faces in the film, which he is totally justified in making. To be completely honest, while I have women friends who surf, I don’t have any that surf in the winter. And frankly there are far too few women who surf in New York in general, at least in comparison to California or Australia. Maybe  men in the water in NYC aren’t welcoming enough? Maybe we aren’t as encouraging to women in the water as our California brethren? I really don’t know. It is a point I should have made in the film, however.

There are far too few women surfers in NYC and we should do everything to encourage more to join the ranks!

Kudos to Mark for making such a prescient point!

-Sanjay Rawal

Kelly Slater and Sri Chinmoy

Jack Johnson and Sri Chinmoy

Titus Kinimaka and Sri Chinmoy