Last fall, filmmaker Julie Bayer Salzman created the short film “Just Breathe” featuring her son and his classmates. In four minutes, kids talk about meditation and dealing with difficult emotions. The short went unexpectedly viral after Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), retweeted it. Oprah showcased “Just Breath” after an interview with Kabat-Zinn on Super Soul Sunday in April.
“It’s powerful to see little kids explaining meditation—something so simple on one hand but so complex on the other,” says Bayer Salzman. “But I also feel like using only kids to talk about meditation somewhat limited the audience because people just thought, ‘Oh, isn’t that cute, kids.’ It’s easily dismissed.”
Julie doesn’t want her legacy to be “cute.” After taking a six-week mindfulness course through Mindful Schools, and meditating regularly for 30 minutes a day, she wants to reflect some of the deeper benefits of meditation in her filmmaking. So this month, the filmmaker launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a series of shorts on mindfulness meditation as a healing tool. Julie aims to create three-minute shorts speaking to individuals who have taken mindfulness training. The series will explore anxiety, illness, loss, and addiction.
“My feeling is we need more films that speak to more people,” says Bayer Salzman.“People with whom others can relate—somebody who is using mindfulness to get through something that’s incredibly challenging.”
So far, Bayer Salzman has raised $1,089 of her $150,000 goal.