Before we discuss IMAGINARY HEROES, I want to briefly, humbly, and profusely express my gratitude to some people who have become real heroes to me: the 140,000 of you who came out the weekend of January 29-30 to support INDIGO. The film played in all 50 states and 41 countries around the world that day and media everywhere took notice. In essence, this was the First International Spiritual Cinema Gathering!! The turnout was extraordinary and so was your response to the film itself. As a result, the film, which cost $500,000 to produce, is already profitable and that will encourage more people to invest in these films for other filmmakers. We will all then get more films with heart and soul. More than anything, it sent a powerful message around the world that there is an audience for Spiritual Cinema that can be reached in nontraditional ways. So…thank you….thank you…thank you!! In the words of the late, lamented, wonderful Johnny Carson: there will be “more to come.”

 
Now, to our film of the month….

 
Sometimes a wonderful, little film–even a studio film- can get completely lost, like a little child wandering in a crowd of adults. Without proper support, such could unfortunately be the case with Imaginary Heroes which deserves to draw an audience because of its breathtaking courage and sensitivity in bringing a controversial subject matter to the screen–and handle it with grace, and, ultimately, hope and inspiration.

 
For me, Spiritual Cinema has two major elements. First, it asks questions that relate to who we are and why we are here and, second, it makes us feel better about being human beings when the film is finished. Sometimes the film “ride” is light and fun and sometimes it’s much more challenging. As spiritual beings, we are not afraid to look into the most emotional issues of our humanity and Spiritual Cinema, at its best, can illuminate even the most daunting of those experiences—just as long as there is redemption, hope, and healing at the end of the journey. In fact, filmmakers can have a hugely positive effect on us when they have the courage to take on challenging subject matter and then show us a deeply human and resonant pathway to healing.

 
Such is the life force of IMAGINARY HEROES which focuses on a subject matter that will initially make many wince and want to look away but will, I believe, promote great healing, catharsis, and hope for those who choose to see the film.

 
I know many of you will instinctively want to stop reading and not even consider seeing the film when the issue itself is revealed in the next paragraph but–PLEASE–I beseech you to read on because this film can be a catalyst for deep understanding, hope, healing, and redemption for anyone who has ever been touched by such a tragedy –or knows someone who has.

 
The wonderful actors Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels portray the parents of three young people, one of which is a superlative swimmer who has already set several state and national swimming records as he prepares for the next Olympics. On the outside, he is the epitome of someone on the brink of major achievement. Inwardly, however, he is tormented by his own silent demons and, in the first five minutes of the film, he takes his own life.

 
The film itself then takes us inside every parent’s worst nightmare—how do you cope with such a devastating event? How do you even live from day to day?

 
Having produced WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, I know firsthand how difficult this subject matter is for most people. The devastation of those left behind can often be too much to bear and, as result, suicide is one of those taboos in film that very few people ever approach because of the quite understandable resistance that most people have to even consider it. When, however, a film such as IMAGINARY HEROES can actually transcend that challenge and show us a way through the grief, then I believe that it deserves a very special place in our hearts.

 
Even more amazing is the fact that this extraordinary journey into healing was written and directed by a 25 year-old first time filmmaker named Dan Harris whose career trajectory will, I trust, be stratospheric after people see this hauntingly beautiful film.

 
IMAGINARY HEROES is uncompromising in its depiction of the grief and sorrow for all concerned as it tastefully and honestly brings us inside the pain of the parents and the siblings who are left behind. The journey is initially not a pretty one—-but it DOES lead to something utterly beautiful and completely rewarding. By the end of the film, a pathway to healing has been illuminated. We are shown how people can indeed survive such an experience with their humanity and love for each other intact and, most importantly, with hope for their own sense of self and dignity.

 
Many of us know people who have been touched by this kind of tragedy. I urge you to see this film and then gently recommend it to those who may be profoundly and positively affected by its ultimate message of hope.

 
(Stephen Simon produced such films as Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come, produced and directed Indigo, and will next be directing and producing the film version of Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God. He also wrote The Force is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives and co-founded The Spiritual Cinema Circle http://www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/ Stephen welcomes your comments by email: Stephen @spiritualcinemacircle.com)