Interview with the Filmmakers of Awake The Life of Yogananda

Summer of Peace 2014 > Community Peacebuilding > Arts & Culture
Broadcast on September 02, 2014
With Paola di Florio & Lisa Leeman & Peter Rader

Indian mystic Paramahansa Yogananda brought yoga and meditation to the West in 1920 and authored the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi.” By personalizing his own quest for enlightenment and sharing his struggles along the path, Yogananda made ancient teachings accessible to a modern audience. This documentary examines the world of yoga, modern and ancient, east and west and explores why millions today have turned their attention inwards, bucking the temptations of the material world in pursuit of Self-Realization.

Lisa Leeman

Co-Director and Producer AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda
Lisa Leeman believes that strong narrative and character-driven films can change the world, one story at a time, and that the path to social change is through the heart. Lisa’s groundbreaking first film, Metamorphosis: Man into Woman, won the Filmmaker’s Trophy at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival. Roger Ebert named Leeman’s One Lucky Elephant as one of the best documentaries of 2011. That film was broadcast on OWN as part of Oprah’s Documentary of the Month Club, and selected for the U.S. State Department's American Documentary Showcase. For the last 25 years, Lisa has directed, produced, written and edited feature and short documentaries. Other notable works include directing the feature doc Out of Faith (PBS) & producing the feature doc Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chogyam Trungpa (Alive Mind Cinema), films for Renee Tajima-Pena; Michele Ohayon; Micha Peled; and others. Lisa has collaborated with many acclaimed filmmakers, including Haskell Wexler, the renowned cinematographer with whom she co-directed Who Needs Sleep. She sits on the faculty of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and has taught master classes on documentary filmmaking in China, Portugal, Jordan, & Malawi. Additional honors include an Emmy nomination and the once-in-a-lifetime AFI Independent Filmmaker Grant.