THE ARTISTS

Loretta Shartsis:  Director, Writer, Producer

Coren Lindfield:  Cinematographer, Editor

Loretta has been an artist since the age of five.  She attended private art classes from age nine.  When she was in high school, she received special permission to take night classes at the Los Angeles County Art Institute Master of Fine Arts College.  

 

In 1966, she received a B.A. degree in sculpture from UCLA, and entered California University, Long Beach.  There she completed all the classes for a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics, but before starting her final MFA project, she took a journey to India.

Instead of returning to America, Loretta stayed in India to follow a spiritual path.  For three years she lived in Himalayan Ashrams practicing traditional Indian yoga.  In 1972 she went to Pondicherry to see the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and became a disciple of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

For three years, she lived and worked in Auroville, a city founded by the Mother, dedicated to human unity.  Then she lived and worked in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for three and a half years before returning to America.

In America, Loretta entered Whittier College School of Law, graduating with a J.D, degree.  She maintained a general law practice, which included a large variety of legal work, with a concentration on criminal appellate work in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  

 

In 2001, Loretta moved permanently back to Auroville.  With  her training in legal research and writing, she does research into the lives and philosophy of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. 


With her experience of oral argument before the Court of Appeal, she lectures in Auroville and other countries.  Combining her legal research skills with her experience as a fine artist, she creates teaching exhibitions, and publishes book compilations of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

 

In 2010 Loretta put up an exhibition on the Mother's flower teachings.  From all sides came the request that she make a video on the subject.  This was a totally unknown art form, one which she had never experienced.  When it became clear that this video was supposed to manifest, she simply started doing the work as it came to her.  Slowly but surely everything and everyone needed to create the video came; sometimes in miraculous ways.  Producing, directing, writing, filming, photography and voice-over work naturally flowed as another creative artistic expression.
  
Loretta is an all-round creative being.  She has done all modes of painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture.  She designs furniture, houses, theatre costumes and sets, books and exhibitions.  She is a writer, photographer and stage and screen actor. It is all part of her yoga practice and her aspiration to receive and create by offering herself and her skills to help in the manifestation of the new force brought by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Coren grew up in the Findhorn Community in NE Scotland where his first connections with the Divine beauty in nature were formed.  In 2001 he received a B.A. degree in Integrative Educational Studies from Haverford College.  Following these studies, he embarked on a year-long trip around the world.  During this year he first visited Auroville, where a planned 10 day visit turned into a two-month stay.  This experience would plant the seed for his eventual return to Auroville.

Along with studying alternative methods of education, Coren has worked in the field of environmental restoration and traveled extensively. Recently he followed his interest in intentional communities and lived for three years in the international spiritual community of Auroville, in S. India.  While in Auroville he began working on The Teachings of Flowers.

This is Coren's first film project.  His long-time interest in photography led to working behind the camera and seeking to visually match the spirit of The Mother's teachings.  After three years living and working in the Auroville community, he left to begin a new chapter in Seattle, WA.



Coren now works at Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle, running their office and collaborating on an archival history project of the Monastery.  He plans to continue working in the field of documentary film work.

 

"When I give flowers, it is an answer to the aspiration coming from the very depths of your being.  It is an aspiration or a need - it depends on the person.  It may fill a void, or else give you the impetus to progress, or it may help you to find the inner harmony to establish peace.



I give you flowers so that you may develop the Divine qualities they symbolize.  And they can directly transmit into your soul all that they contain, pure, unalloyed.  They possess a very subtle and very deep power and influence."



    - The Mother

Jean-Christophe Bonnafous:  Music

Jean Christophe Bonnafous was born on 10th of March 1977 in Perpignan (France). He was starting out on a promising career in the field of Emergency Humanitarian Help when he discovered an Indian bamboo flute called Bansuri. He subsequently decided to go to Mumbai to meet the legendary flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.


His encounter with the maestro was a revelation and at the age of 27 he started his musical journey at the prestigious Music Conservatory of Rotterdam (CODARTS) under the tutelage of Hariprasad Chaurasia and Henri Tournier. By 2011 Jean Christophe had finished his studies in Indian Classical Music with a Masters Degree with Distinction.


Jean Christophe has developed an imaginative and subtle way of playing, combining virtuosity and sensibility. He is gifted with a natural talent for revealing the depth and beauty of the Bansuri sound.


Since 2008 Jean Christophe performs regularly alongside Hariprasad Chaurasia in Europe and India. He has already performed as a soloist in prestigious venues such as the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and is currently collaborating on different musical projects within and beyond World, Jazz and Early Music. In 2010 Jean Christophe became a recipient of the prestigious Dutch HSP Award for Excellence.

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