The following selection of completed works relate to the aims of IMmortal Foundation and the creative achievements of its founders. They represent our basic contention that media is a powerful means of communicating and informing about the human condition in general, and about accepting death and dying as an inescapable part of the very process of living. Their narrative encompasses subject matter about the impact of death on both a large and small scale, thereby illuminating the discussion that IMmortal Foundation inspires.
IMmortal Foundation sponsored the Keynote Address of Tim Edwards, Executive Trustee of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a charity that helps victims of the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India. Described as the world’s worst industrial disaster, this tragedy claimed the lives of over 15,000 people, and has injured over 550,000 others. Mr. Edwards traveled from London to the Canon Theater in Hollywood to deliver an eloquent and compassionate summary of the outstanding work of the Bhopal Medical Appeal. His April 4, 2015 keynote address was given following the screening of “Bhopal, A Prayer for Rain” – a feature film directed by Ravi Kumar, starring Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, and Mischa Barton.
Leszek Burzynski and Terrance Sweeney, Executive Producers of the film, joined SAG-AFTRA President, Ken Howard, and stars Martin Sheen and Mischa Barton at this special screening and fund-raising event, hosted by Kat Kramer as part of her series “Films That Change the World.”
The Mission” is an Academy Award winning film about the decimation of a Guarini Indian mission. The Jesuits working at the mission had to decide whether they would take up arms to defend the Indians, or to obey the order given them by Church authorities to abandon the mission, an action that would certainly have resulted in the Guarinis being sold into slavery.
While President of Columbia Pictures, David Puttnam asked Terry to critique Robert Bolt’s screenplay prior to filming, and to advise on the ethical and ecclesial authenticity of the pre-release cut of the film.
“Romero” is the true story of the assassination of Archbishop Romero of El Salvador. Romero sacrificed his own life to defend the lives and dignity of his people, who were being slaughtered by right-wing death squads. As executive in charge of features at Paulist Productions, Terry acquired the book rights for the movie, and arranged key meetings between the screenwriter, John Sacret Young, and Executive Producer, Fr. Ellwood Kieser, with Salvadorean Jesuits who had worked closely with the Archbishop.
This film, which tells the story of Stoney (Peter Fonda), a grandfather estranged from his grandson Charlie (Joe Mazzello), has touched many hearts and continues to play regularly on cable TV. What drew Leszek to the film as director was how Stoney’s love for his beloved horse, Dakota, breaks down the barriers between him and Charlie.
Dakota is killed in a senseless act of revenge and Stoney learns that he has a terminal illness that puts a time limit on reconciling with Charlie. With the help of his sheep-rearing partner (Kris Kristofferson) and the local sheriff (Keith Carradine) a dying Stoney and an emotionally transformed Charlie find unexpected common ground and, in the process, the true meaning of love.
When producer and friend, Bruce Royer, suggested to Leszek that he write and direct a documentary about the story behind the crosses on Santa Monica beach that, every Sunday during the Iraq War marked each new casualty, he was immediately drawn to the subject. Using three cameras, Leszek portrayed one day – dawn to midnight – in the life of so-called “Arlington West.” Intercut with powerful and moving interviews that include M*A*S*H actor, Mike Farrell, the film played on the Link cable channel for more than a year. It also impressed famed composer, Philip Glass, who licensed his music to the film for a nominal fee.
When Leszek was asked to direct “Flying South” it was his eighth visit to the spectacular environment of New Zealand. Intrigued by making a short, big-screen feature film using the same cameras and film techniques employed by Peter Jackson on the “Hobbit” movies, he was eager to take on the challenge. Since the finished film was to be screened daily for the public in a purpose-built movie theater at Christchurch International Airport, the eight actors portraying a South Island family and their experiences over an almost 40-year period would have no dialogue. Flying sequence sound effects and original music composed by Mark Smythe and performed by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra would provide context, and support an emotional journey of love, new life, connection and unexpected death, all played out against the breathtaking natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island.