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MARK ELLIOTT

DIRECTOR
CINEMATOGRAPHER

A native of the United Kingdom, Mark Elliott started making documentaries in the early 1970s when he came to Dharamshala, India with a primitive video camera and made a film at the invitation of the Dalai Lama. His Buddhist films include THE LION’S ROAR, on the XVI Gyalwang Karmapa; YANGSI, on the incarnation of the great Tibetan Lama Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche; NURTURING COMPASSION, BODHISATTVA,  and UNDER THE BODHI TREE, all with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Other subjects of his films include the Lakota medicine men Henry and Leonard Crow Dog (CROW DOG’S PARADISE), high-wire walker Philippe Petit (CONCERT IN THE SKY), and radical psychiatrist RD Laing (EROS, LOVE AND LIES).

 

Mr. Elliott’s films have been featured theatrically and in film festivals throughout the world. They have been shown on international television as well as stateside on The Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer and PBS. For the last 30 years he has made his home in the remote mountain community of Crestone, Colorado. 

 

Underneath their ordinary exterior, these films contain a wealth of insights into the migration of Buddhism from the East to West. By witnessing this transition, we learn a lot about the meaning of Dharma, too. While Mr. Elliott eschews the moniker 'dharma filmmaker' — as there may not be such a rubric — still, ever since THE LION'S ROAR (1985), considered a spiritual classic, his films have opened a window onto the landscape of modern Buddhism like few others.

Mark Elliott

The transmission of a religion from one geographical region to the next is most likely worthy of anthropological study, and perhaps the fine points might escape most casual observers.

 

But culture plays a critical role as the lines along which the transmission runs, and since we are steeped in Western culture naturally, we can see many of the critical junctures in this exchange, which come to light in subtle and obvious ways through Mr. Elliott’s persistence with his camera.

 

On balance, his films offer viewers a living, first-hand immersion into the defining thematic concerns of what it means to receive Buddhism in the current age: the clash of Buddhist values with modern, materialistic society, the tension between tradition and adaptation, and the relevance of essential and beneficial wisdom regardless of time and place.

SELECT FILMOGRAPHY

TANTRA OF GYUTO  (1974) 

Allied Artists, with Sheldon Rochlin

 

CROW DOG’S PARADISE (1978) 

Centre Productions

 

CONCERT IN THE SKY (1984) 

Centre Productions

 

SOFT FIRE (1984) 

Centre Productions

THE DREAM FOREST (1985) 

Centre Productions

THE LION’S ROAR (1985) 

Centre Productions

NO DEPOSIT-NO RETURN (1988) 

Rocky Mountain PBS

 

THE BLOODLESS VALLEY (1990) 

Gatesgarth Productions

 

EROS, LOVE AND LIES (1991)

Gatesgarth Productions

 

EYE OF THE LAND (2000) 

Gatesgarth Productions

 

YANGSI (2012) 

Crestone Films

 

BODHISATTVA (2012) 

Crestone Films

 

A PLACE OF THE HEART (2015)

Crestone Films, with Douglas Beechwood

A PROFOUND SILENCE (2015) 

Crestone Films, with Douglas Beechwood

 

NURTURING COMPASSION (2018) 

Crestone Films, with Douglas Beechwood