Across the King’s River is an upcoming documentary feature film that follows one man and his daughter on their quest for self-transformation among the great healers of West Africa.
Producer, James Weeks, says one of the goals of the film is to inspire others to follow their visions.
Weeks had no idea that he would one day embrace African healing traditions but eventually became a believer after a powerful shaman helped his family overcome a series of life and death challenges.
In Across the King’s River, Weeks takes Tulani, his daughter, to meet Aseda, the Yoruba shaman that he credits for saving his life and keeping his family together. The old man also initiates Tulani as a priestess of Osun, the orisa, or divine spirit of love and fertility.
Aseda, James’ spiritual father, is one of the 16 major diviners of Ifa, a rapidly growing religion with more than 100 million practitioners worldwide. The philosophy originated among the Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria and predates Christianity by more than 10,000 years.
African healers often diagnose and treat medical problems long before their Western peers can even detect them. In addition to helping Weeks ward off diabetes, Aseda’s spiritual skills also helped deter Weeks’ oldest son from a life of crime.
“The healers in the film are the keepers of a vast body of knowledge and have important messages to share with the world,” Weeks says. The journey takes Weeks and Tulani deep into three African civilizations: the Dagara of Burkina Faso, the Lebu of Senegal and the Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria.
Across the King’s River also features scholar, Christopher Brown, a disciple of the late Dr. Afolabi Epega, a world-renowned authority on Ifa. Like his mentor, Epega, Brown is on a mission to show the connection between science and spirituality.
Brown is an initiated Ifa priest and a mathematician. He also has a degree in computer science. Brown believes that science is nothing more than spirituality in disguise.
Across the King’s River will be directed by Emmy Award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson and goes into production in spring 2012. The title of the film is derived from a Yoruba proverb that is often used when one has something difficult to do or say.
“The proverb implies that a higher force has sent you on a mission that must be fulfilled at all costs – no excuses and no turning back. It’s more than a proverb. It’s a way of life,” Weeks explains.