June 2022 marked the world premiere of “The 5 Powers Revolution,” an animated feature documentary film that tells the inspiring true story of the deep interconnected friendships and profound mutual influences of Thich Nhat Hanh; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Sister Chan Khong; and Rev. Alfred Hassler.
These four extraordinary peacemakers and spiritual teachers built an unprecedented partnership that changed the course of human history, working together to stop the massive war in Vietnam and ultimately laying a foundation for progressive social and environmental consciousness that continues to impact the world to this very day. The “5 Powers” named in the title are Faith, Diligence, Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight, and the narrative provides a groundbreaking and artistic framework for considering each of those essential characteristics to help end war, heal our planet, and heal ourselves in the process.
“The 5 Powers Revolution” creatively describes how this quartet of Zen Buddhist teachers and Christian leaders, representing radically different faith traditions and cultural backgrounds, remarkably connected in the mid-1960s. Those relationships were facilitated in large part thanks to Hassler, who served as executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation from 1958- 1974. Upon taking that leadership position at FOR, Hassler had just created and published the famous comic book, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” which was distributed to tens of thousands of Black families in the U.S. South with the approval and support of Dr. King.
This one-hour film, directed and co- produced by FOR member Gregory Kennedy, was inspired by the success of that historic 1957 comic book. With new documentary footage, new animation, and new narration provided by Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, who served as FOR-USA executive director from 2018-21, the Summer 2022 launch of the film has received plaudits from around the world.
Multiple screenings have already been held since its launch, followed by live panel talkback sessions with participants from Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. Featured speakers have included Kennedy and co-producer Noam Dromi; Laura Hassler (daughter of Alfred, and executive director of the Netherlands-based Musicians without Borders); and members of the Order of Interbeing (the Zen Buddhist lineage founded by Nhat Hanh), including Dr. Anthony Nicotera (FOR-USA director of advancement). A series of graphic comic books in multiple languages have also been released alongside the film to help its message touch diverse audiences worldwide.
Twenty percent of the net income derived from sales of the film, comic books, and NFT products will be devoted to the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, and six percent will be sent to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, in recognition of the fact that FOR was the sole organization that both Dr. King and Thich Nhat Hanh both joined during their lifetimes. To learn more and purchase or rent the film, visit the5powersrevolution.com.
Since 1918, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has published the award-winning print magazine Fellowship. It is also now online, offering original grassroots analysis, movement research, first-person commentary, poetry and more to help people of faith and conscience build a nonviolent, compassionate world.
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