Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Awake: The Life of Yogananda 2014

Directed by Paola di Florio, Lisa Leeman

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is known as the ‘Father of Yoga in the West’. In this fascinating documentary, produced by the Self-Realization Fellowship who continues his work, we learn about his extraordinary life.

USA In English
87 minutes DCP
Exempt

Directors, Screenplay

Producers

Peter Rader
,
Paola di Florio
,
Lisa Leeman

Photography

Arlene Nelson

Editors

Peter Rader
,
Ken Schneider
,
Paola di Florio
,
Lisa Leeman

Music

Anoushka Shankar
,
Krishna Das
,
Philip Glass
,
Alanis Morissette
,
George Harrison

Narrator

Anupam Kher

With

Deepak Chopra
,
Russell Simmons
,
George Harrison

“Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West. Although the name Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) may not ring a bell, his teachings had a lifelong influence on the likes of George Harrison and Steve Jobs… Heeding a metaphysical calling to leave India for materialistic America, Yogananda initially landed at Boston Harbor at the dawn of the Roaring 20s but eventually realized that Los Angeles would offer a greater wellspring of disciples… But when Yogananda took his teachings to the South, he experienced a rude spiritual awakening upon discovering orange robe-wearing, long-haired, brown-skinned men weren’t exactly warmly embraced. It wasn’t long before he was smeared as the leader of a love cult preying on married women. Funded by the Self-Realization Fellowship but co-directed by Paola di Florio and Lisa Leeman with an open, inquisitive mind, the film offers an absorbing glimpse into the life and times of the world’s first superstar swami.” — Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times