David Wants to Fly


David Sieveking is a young emerging, Berlin-based filmmaker, with high ambitions, but no real inspiration. Making subversive films like David Lynch, his hero, in his dreams. Meeting the master himself has been on his list for a long, long time. When he learns that Lynch will speak at a conference about transcendental meditation in Fairfield, Iowa – of all places – he seizes the moment, gets a ticket and flies out to meet his idol. As an added bonus he get a first introduction to transcendental meditation which takes him on a journey from Berlin to the US, via India, the Netherlands and back home again.

Transcendental meditation was developed and advocated by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – who came into prominence as the Beatles guru in 1967. It is not a religion, philosophy or lifestyle – but rather a daily meditation practice that aims to achieve higher alertness and awareness.

The 90 minutes of Sieverking’s investigation unravel a number of narrative strands: there is the deconstruction of an ideal as well as idol, a journey to and through transcendental meditation, the filmmakers creative process of making his first film, plus a look at his personal relationship that crumbles and then resurrects itself throughout these turbulent times.

Light in tone and touch, Sieveking manages to strike the fine balance between his personal story and the bigger picture of the film: the meaning and purpose of transcendental meditation: spiritually, politically and commercially.

One poignant scene of the film takes place during a presentation at a Berlin theater – with David Lynch and Raja Emanuel Schiffgens. Schiffgens , who looks more like a German carnival prince rather than a spiritual leader, is the German administrator of Global Country of World Peace (GCWP) Maharishi’s country without borders for peace loving people everywhere. During the lecture, Schiffgens announced that together with David Lynch they are going to build a Transcendental University in Berlin on top of the Teufelsberg – a landfill mountain build from the rubble of the second world war.

Germans are overall very sensitive and skeptical against any language or ideas that evokes the Third Reich and Fascism, and therefore when the Raja called the new university building the “Tower of Invincibility” and called for all Germans to become invincible – the attentive, open and curious Berlin audience immediately reacted, denouncing him a charlatan and crook. David Lynch, who does not speak any German quietly sat by, looking dazed and confused.

One would think that this was a mockumentary, if one did not know it really happened! At times outright hilarious, Sieveking’s film becomes more sinister when the darker side of Transcendental Meditation is uncovered – and when he realizes that a supposedly secular, non-religious meditation practice, has turned into a money grabbing, elitist enterprise.

However, in addition to presenting a well rounded documentary, Sieveking adds a personal happy ending to his film – and so after all, Transcendental Meditation did expand his life and horizon!

DAVID WANTS TO FLY premiered at 2010 Berlinale, and has been successfully playing the festival circuits. This film has received an honorable mention at the Warsaw Planet Doc Review Festival and has been highly recommended by the German national film review board. DAVID WANTS TO FLY was theatrically released in Germany earlier on May 2010.
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Tanja Meding

Tanja Meding :Since moving to New York from Germany in 2003, Tanja Meding has worked as a producer for Maysles Films and other independent production companies. Amongst others, she produced SALLY GROSS-THE PLEASURE OF STILLNESS by Albert Maysles and Kristen Nutile which aired on WNET/Thirteen and Channel 25 and is now available on DVD from www.reframecollection.org. Since 2007, Tanja has been producing short films by Rosane Chamecki, Andrea Lerner and Phil Harder: JACKIE & JUDY premiered at DANCE ON CAMERA at LINCOLN CENTER was awarded with a PEARL at the POOL 2010 Festival in Berlin. Upcoming this September is a video installation of two new shorts: BOXING and THE COLLECTION at NY's newly opened New York Live Arts building in Chelsea. In addition, Tanja is the co-producer of Gabriella Bier's LOVE DURING WARTIME, a documentary about an Israeli dancer and her Palestinian husband. The film had its US premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and is distributed in the US through 7th Art Releasing. Furthermore, she is the US co-producer of Pascale Obolo's documentary CALYPSO ROSE, LIONESS OF THE JUNGLE. Currently in development with Claudia Brazzale is RETRACING STEPS, a portrait documentary about a group of international dancers and choreographers and their lives 20 years after they first met in NYC.

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