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Join The Explorers Club on Monday, December 19th for a special screening of “TEYYAM, of Gods, Heroes and Ancestors”.
Cultic and ritualistic arts have always exerted a great influence on the social life in India, especially Kerala, the home of a myriad range of performing traditions. Prominent, among these, is the ritualistic art form of Teyyam.
During two months of the year, regardless of caste, social function, income, gender and age, devotees attend Teyyam rituals to seek blessings, ward off evil spirits, cure disease, have a healthy child-birth, settle disputes, and gain advice and prosperity from the Gods.
TEYYAM, of Gods, Heroes and Ancestors offers a penetrating look at these sacred performances, along with interviews of the performers and noted scholars in the field. The film moves in-and-out of a thoroughly immersive experience, where we can feel the euphoria of the actors and the participants who are caught up in the action, to an insightful narrative that explains the significance of the drama.
Morell’s film is a truly memorable work, and in many ways it is emblematic of his other documentaries, which display his unique ability to transcend the camera’s objective lens to bring us a compelling, first-hand experience.
What is perhaps most striking about Teyyam rituals, which include dance, music, chanting and real, scorching fires (as opposed to safe, artificially-controlled pyrotechnics), is the opportunity participants have to commune directly with their Vedic Gods, and thereby seek cures, blessings, insight, health and prosperity, protection from evil spirits, healthy child-bearing, and advice in the settling of disputes.
Morell captures these moments, too, with an unflinching dedication to communicate the essence of an ancient, yet still vibrant, art.
This will be an in-person lecture at Explorers Club Headquarters, and we are opening a number of tickets to guests.
In-person tickets are $15 for Members, and $30 for the General Public.
Check-in will begin at 6:00 pm, with a beer and wine reception from 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Patrick Morell is a Cinematographer/ Documentary Director/Editor with over 25 years of
experience filming documentaries showcasing indigenous populations and environmental
changes that we face.
Areas explored include the Artic (Greenland and Siberia) . South East Asia (Tibet/ China/
India/Nepal) the Middle East, Russia, Europe, the United States, Cuba and most recently (2022)
Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo.
Powerful documentary film-making requires seeing beyond the surface of life, and bringing
to light the inner dimension of culture, mind, and spirit that compels individuals and societies
to act as they do. It is that intention – the desire to bring the whole story to light, not merely
its most accessible features — that makes Patrick Morell’s work so compelling.
Achieving that goal is not without hardship — and danger. While filming in Kolkata, India,
for example, Patrick was attacked by wild dogs and suffered serious injury. In the wilds
of Nagaland, he was chased by a one-horned Rhino. But arguably the most fearsome
mammals who have stalked Patrick were the Chinese soldiers in Tibet who detained Patrick on
numerous occasions when he was shooting his widely celebrated documentary, “High Train to
Tibet & quot”, which premiered in New York in 2014.
Michael Urheber is a writer, composer and lyricist. His musical, The Further Shores of Knowing,
was recently published under the auspices of The Institute for the Study of Consciousness,
founded by Arthur M. Young. His non-fiction book, Bava’s Gift, Awakening to the Impossible,
was published by ICRL Press in Princeton, NJ. He is currently working on a full-length stage
play called Postmark: Fort Wadsworth,1944. Michael was the script consultant for Patrick
Morell’s documentary, Teyyam, of Gods, Heroes and Ancestors, and Christopher Munch’s
acclaimed 2020 film, The 11th Green. He is a graduate of Colorado College with a degree in
Music, and resides in Bucks County, PA.
See our upcoming events