First International Raw Lifestyle Film Festival

April 2007


by Shannon Leone

Everybody dreams about doing something incredible in their life that has never been done before (well, at least Dreamers do) and some of us actually achieve it. DORIT of Serenity Spaces sure has. You probably haven’t heard of her yet, but you will. She has hit on something that is going to sweep the world, and no one is more surprised than she. Dorit has created an entirely NEW genre in filmmaking. How extraordinary it is when something new comes into being for too often it seems as if it has all been done already! Well, Dorit is a true pioneer, and pioneers are quite, well, pioneering.

Ask her how she came up with this ingenious idea, and she will tell you that actually, she didn’t. The story goes like this: Two brilliant women (as my twin-brother says “are women anything but?”) are chatting away (we do tend to love our chats) and one brilliant women– enter the amazing musician, filmmaker, Amazon Woman who does all this and way more WITH 4 _ Raw kids (a bun is currently in the dehydrator as we chat!) JINJEE TALIFERO, says to the other brilliant woman “You know Goddessa Dorit, someone should really create a venue for us Raw Filmmakers- That would be such a blessing for our beautiful world…Please pass the figs.” And the other brilliant woman, our Heroine says, “Ok, Angel”.

The rest is as they say Herstory. And so the moral of the story is, eat more figs…

Of course the story doesn’t end there, it merely begins. And here is the rest of it:


After leaving our snowed-in Toronto home at 3 am to catch flights into sunny L.A., we arrive with just enough time to rent a car, find our hotel, change outfits, and get to the reception for 6 pm! Streetside was all-a-buzz with large colorful signs advertising the event, camera crews interviewing some of the filmmakers and lots of smiley people.

As we enter, a most vibrant woman whirls around and says with a warm smile “You must be Shannon and Luke from Canada” and welcomes us with a big hug- It’s our Leader, DORIT. Then suddenly,‘POOF!’ she is gone in a flash attending to a multitude of tasks.

Once inside, we see more people wall-to-wall, huge round trays of beautiful Raw delicacies going around, uh, over here please! and a Press Room. In there, ANDY DICK was being interviewed by FOX Network. I had no idea that wildcard was Raw…cool.

I noticed a group forming around a diminutive silver-haired woman so I squeezed in to see what that was all about. Oh my, it was none other than the legendary PATRICIA BRAGG. What a surprise. She looked great, all dolled up & totally clear.

Another visionary, STEVE PRUSSACK from Raw Vegan Radio was there getting great stuff for his show, plus many other producers and media types. So exciting….

I recognised ANGELA STOKES in the crowd and we talked about her recent 92 day Juice feast. As everyone knows she has lost 160 lbs going raw over her 4-year journey.

We headed over to where SERGEI BOUTENKO was hanging – a genuine great guy and my little boys’ hero. He is the most likeable guy ever so catching up with him was great downtime for Luke and me.

MIKE FIELDS introduced himself. So he is the filmmaker who came all the way from New Zealand- and with his pregnant wife, Kathy, no less! What troupers. He sweetly gave me some great flying advice for my white-knuckle trip home. I hope it works- I think I squeezed one of Luke’s fingers off…

Next, met MIKE ANDERSON a very thoughtful and thought-provoking guy as I was being pulled away for an interview by a European network that broadcasts there and in the Middle East. Imagine: Raw Foods in the Middle East – perhaps that’s the answer…

MATT MONARCH, who wrote the book RAW SPIRIT, also came to support the festival. He’s basically inhuman…His Raw path began after reading Norman Walker’s book BECOME YOUNGER- he literally went 100% Raw overnight, and that was 7 years ago.

After the interview, I noticed a vivacious blonde sporting a Carmen-Miranda-Chikita-Banana Showgirl costume complete with a vine (instead of feathers which would be “cruel”) & fruit bowl headdress – What great spirit from JENNA NORWOOD.

Then I got to meet ORSY SZABO and her dear Mom, HOLLY MOSHER who has 2 films showing, and DEBRA SECUNDA from the Dr Cousens DVD.

ELENA TONETTI, a very poised woman of purpose, reminded me of Victoria Boutenko – they both deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for their momentous work… in time.

Finally, there were STORM and JINJEE and their 4 Raw, vegan children, whom though we had never met we had spoken over phone and ‘net’, and exchanged our films years ago. It felt like a reunion. Storm is Superman, and Jinjee is absolutely lovely inside and out. Her beautiful pregnant belly was happily peeking out between her cargo pants and t-shirt. They are an inspired and inspiring family. Speaking of which, the ALMOND MILK BOOK lady and family was also there as a Sponsor. What an awesome group so far!

It was time now for the entertainment and the Welcoming Ceremony by Dorit. And then all the filmmakers had time to introduce their films and show their trailers. Everyone was impressed with the variety and high calibre of films. And here they are:

30 DAYS RAW by Mark Perlmutter about a group of regular people who follow S.A.D. and are insulin dependant Diabetics who go Raw for 30 days under Dr G. Cousens

Dr ANN WIGAMORE’S LIVING FOODS by Debra Secunda highlights the wondrous effects of a living food diet that includes wheatgrass, rejuvelac and sprouts; with special appearance by Master Raw Chef and Author, RHIO

LIVING FOODS by Brenda Cobbs sharing her passion for living foods

VEGAN 2 RAW VEGAN by Mike Fields a comical look at what taking being a vegan to the next level by going Raw could look like

EATING by Mike Anderson a highly graphic, hard-hitting look at the suffering, destruction and waste caused by our modern diets based on factory farmed animal foods

SUPERCHARGE ME! by Jenna Norwood a clever spin-off of Morgan Spurlock’s junk food experiment with a Raw twist; special appearances by Ben Vereen & David Wolfe

GO FURTHER by Actor and Activist Woody Harrelson on a wild ride in his bio-diesel tour bus with friends and strangers; special appearance by Raw Chef Rene Underkoffler

SIDE EFFECTS by Kathleen Slattery-Moshckau and Holly Mosher is an entertaining indictment of the Pharmaceutical Industry

MONEY TALKS by Kathleen Slattery-Moshckau, John Ennis and Holly Mosher is a more academic look at the ‘side effects’ of Big Pharma

THE MEATRIX by Diane Hatz is a short animation spoofing the Matrix films which draws attention to the problems with factory farming- Poignant message yet kid-friendly

LELEK by Orsy Szabo a touching portrait of a young woman trying to cope with her father’s terminal illness via the healing potential of Raw Foods; includes V. Boutenko

BIRTH…AS WE KNOW IT by Elena Tonetti an impressive look at how our birth passage affects the quality of our entire life- truly stunning footage and great information- hauntingly beautiful narrative

AN INTERVIEW WITH SERGEI by Sergei Boutenko an entertaining look at the Raw Food diet from this young Raw Master

RAISING CHILDREN RAISES US by Shannon & Luke Leone is a living example of Conscious Parenting of young children through UN-schooling and a High-Raw lifestyle

BREAKTHROUGH by Storm and Jinjee Talifero poses the question of what would happen if our children grew up on real food- Raw, Living Food as opposed to junk food- Would it facilitate reaching our Human Potential?

What a great line up! The audience was excited and looking forward to seeing all the films tomorrow. It was a perfect night. Sweet dreams everyone! Zzzzzzzz


The DATE PEOPLE generously supplied us with 40 fresh varieties- Our Raw ‘popcorn’.

Watched movies from 10 am-9pm- I laughed, I cried, I need a hug, and I want to dance!


Watched the last several movies- Viewing mine in public for the first time was exposing!


I arrived enjoying a palpable feeling of excitement in the air. Live drumming warmed the crowd from the stage. Soon dinner was served- a Raw vegan feast including dessert. Next it was time for the awards. All the films are of merit, and were celebrated all weekend. Here are the stand-outs:



Most Educational- EATING

Most Motivational- SUPERCHARGE ME!

Most Impactful- BIRTH…AS WE KNOW IT

Most Informative- MONEY TALKS

Everybody was absolutely jubilant to have been part of this totally unique and ground-breaking event. There was music playing, children dancing and constant photo-opps with our enthusiastic fans. Special connections and friendships were made that very magical weekend, perhaps for life. I am very touched to be a part of this forward-thinking, truly dynamic, first ever Raw Film Festival family. I can hardly wait until the next RFF!

Blessings on all the filmmakers for their vision, the beautiful audience members for coming out to support this event, all the generous sponsors and entertainers for their service, and bless DORIT for gifting the world with a whole new realm of possibility.

SHANNON LEONE is a Mom, Artist, Writer, Speaker, Director of THE LITTLE FRIENDS FOUNDATION and Filmmaker- RAISING CHILDREN RAISES US. Contact Information: Lonestar Publishing 1-866-LEONE-11;

By permission of author

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