Rumi Returning [www.rumireturning.com]
A documentary biopic produced and written by Kell Kearns and Cynthia Lukas is slated for its U.S. premiere at the 2007 Santa Fe Film Festival through December 2. The world premiere of Rumi Returning took place on September 23 at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Monterrey, Mexico. More than a thousand spiritual leaders from every continent and major religion filled the theatre. Akbar S. Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University, declared that "the film is of historic importance." In telling the great Muslim mystic’s story, Rumi Returning weaves a tapestry of the past, present and timeless. The movie is enveloped in gorgeous cinematography shot throughout Turkey, and the mesmerizing music and sacred dance of the whirling dervishes that Rumi inspired. The film is slated for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in May 2008.
In celebration of his 800th birthday, Rumi festivals have taken place in hundreds of far-flung cities, including Tokyo, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, New York, London, Amsterdam, and even Prescott, Ariz. In a remote city in central Turkey, thousands of interfaith pilgrims from around the world converged for a birthday celebration at the sarcophagus of this 13th century Islamic teacher and Sufi poet. Coleman Barks, whose translations of Rumi into the idiom of modern poetry made "the sultan of lovers" the best-selling poet in America, describes Rumi as "the only planetary poet we have, probably." Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, described by the BBC as "the foremost expert on contemporary Islam," noted, "If there’s one motto that the post 9/11 world needs to adopt, it should be a line from Rumi in which he says, ‘I go to the synagogue, I go to the church, I go to the mosque, and I see the same altar, and I feel the same spirit.’" Rumi, Ahmed concludes, embodies "the universal spirit without which I’m afraid in the 21st century-and I say this with great confidence-we as a world civilization are lost. We do not have a choice. We must re-discover the spirit of the universal mystics."