The Story

Zen Kids is a documentary about a group of smart, hip 20 year-olds who grew up the sons and daughters of Zen monastics. The film follows them as they grapple with their upbringing, the lure and hypocrisy of the outside world, and what it all means as they forge ahead into adulthood.

Zen Kids is the first in a documentary series entitled Kids, produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Thompson. Each episode explores the lives of young adults who grew up off the grid of mainstream American culture: Anarchist Kids, Circus Kids, Black Panther Kids, Sex Worker Kids, Commune Kids, Hippie Kids...

The pressing question for these thoughtful, outspoken kids on the eve of adulthood is this: will they define themselves with or against the counter-cultural life choices of their parents? Or will they integrate aspects of their upbringing into a whole new identity that feels authentically their own? Each episode of Kids will follow the unfolding stories of these off-the-grid kids as they make sense of the radical values they were raised with and  come to terms with who they are now.







The Story


A Bird Flies Like Birds explores the cyclical nature of violent trauma and the possibility of grace. The film draws its inspiration from a poem about seeing things directly, exactly as they are. Poetic imagery and narration draw the viewer from the outward reality of these stories to an inward one, giving voice to the ebb and flow of the shattered self fumbling toward wholeness.

Bird’s ultimate concern is this: given trauma’s stubborn and paradoxical narrative, is it possible to interrupt the cycle of violence within oneself?


Project Status

The National Endowment for the Arts has generously awarded filmmaker Elizabeth Thompson a $25,000 research and development grant. Thompson is now seeking individual donations to support Bird’s production and post production.