Profile By Liz Nord
Everything about the new documentary "Meditate & Destroy", captures the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) spirit of the punk music that runs rampant through its soundtrack. The film's director, first-time-filmmaker Sarah Fisher, shot and edited most of the flick herself, and it is currently touring with the best-named film festival ever: From Here to Awesome. FHTA is a fest put together by indie filmmakers like Arin Crumley of Four-Eyed Monsters fame, as an experiment in D.I.Y. distribution—a way to get movies to audiences without having to go through the major studios and theatre chains that often suck up all of a film's profits.
"Meditate & Destroy" is a raw depiction of the story of Noah Levine, a charismatic, heavily tattooed, motorcycle-riding, punk rocker who hit rock bottom in a rough adolescence, punctuated with heroine abuse and several visits to juvenile hall. He was arrested five times in 8th grade, and it went downhill from there. In one particularly difficult scene, Second Life animation and frantic video montages accompany Levine's recounting of his attempted suicide in prison.
Levine's salvation came from a surprising place. While still in jail, he began to meditate and practice the ancient teachings of Buddha. He realized that, despite its association in the US with 60's counterculture, Buddhism actually had a lot in common with punk rock, especially in its basic message that life is suffering. Eventually, he got out of prison, cleaned up his act and even began teaching Buddhist practices to other punks and young people in the juvenile justice system. When his autobiography, "Dharma Punx", was published, he went on Warped Tour to spread the message of freedom through meditation.
When you think of documentaries, you might imagine falling asleep on the couch while your parents watch the History Channel, but "Meditate & Destroy" is not your mama's documentary. It features a good dose of drama, and a rockin’ soundtrack with live performances from seminal bands like Bold and Good Riddance. It doesn't hurt that Levine's followers are one good-looking bunch of young, blue-haired, pierced, tattooed hotties. If Noah's students and his story have anything to prove, it's one of the best lines in the movie: "Buddhism ain't just for hippies anymore."
You can catch "Meditate & Destroy" at a From Here to Awesome screening near you, or download it from IndieFlix.