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NM gets first look at PBS’ ‘Gandhi’s Gift’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico-based filmmakers Cynthia Lukas and Kell Kearns have worked diligently for five years.

Mahatma Gandhi spinning, his radical act against Britain's takeover of India's textile industry. (Permission Of The Gandhi Research Foundation )

Mahatma Gandhi spinning, his radical act against Britain’s takeover of India’s textile industry. (Permission Of The Gandhi Research Foundation )

And their documentary, “Gandhi’s Gift,” is finally done and will have a sneak peek on Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Guild Cinema.

This is well before the documentary will air on PBS in 2017.

“We just completed the film about a month ago,” Lukas says. “It’s been an amazing journey.”

“Gandhi’s Gift” focuses on Mahatma Gandhi at the end of his life, on the brink of attaining his lifelong goal of independence from the British but with his heart breaking by the partition of India and the terrible communal violence that is killing untold hundreds of thousands.

Having led masses in nonviolent marches, Gandhi, now in his 70s, walks alone for unity and peace.

In a dangerous grass-roots pilgrimage called the Miracle of Noakhali, he walks barefoot from village to village asking Hindus and Muslims to live together. He comforts refugees and endures two fasts to restore peace before being assassinated by religious extremists.

Historians believe that his work for interreligious harmony kept India from expelling Muslims.

The production was filmed on location in India, South Africa and the UK at all of the important sites in Gandhi’s life.

It is Kearns’ 15th independent film; he directed acclaimed PBS biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the great Sufi poet Rumi.

“Gandhi’s final years are especially inspiring because he showed our world a way out of the descending spiral of violence and hatred,” Kearns said.

He and Lukas are fortunate to have witnesses who actually grew up in the mahatma’s presence to tell his story.

“One fascinating aspect of making this film has been meeting those who are living and teaching Gandhian principles of nonviolence, equality, interfaith harmony and sustainability,” Lukas said.

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