PARADIGM SHIFTS Music and Film Festival celebrates true stories of courageous people from around the world who are preserving and protecting our planet, oceans,wildlife, and sacred lands. Dedicated to bridging indigenous cultures, women's wisdom, and the global environmental movement, the festival pairs each film with vocalists, musicians, and dancers performing a variety of music from jazz and gospel, to classical, folk, African, Haitian, Ukrainian, Native American, and new opera and chamber music.

Click Here for more information about Paradigm Shifts
Tuesday, June 13 at 7:00 PM – Opening Night

The Paradigm Shifts opening night ceremony, MOVE INTO THE LIGHT, will include music celebrating nature, water, and the stars through songs that take us on a journey around the world. Composers featured this evening include David DiChiera with the New York premiere of A Letter to Sarah and Richard Pearson Thomas’ chamber piece, Driving at Night.

With voice, violin, piano, cello, and trumpet resonating throughout James Chapel, this opening celebration will lift spirits and encourage the finding of hope in challenging times.

Wednesday, June 14 at 7:00 PM
Wednesday's events will begin with Native American ceremony in James Chapel, followed by a screening of the film AWAKE: A DREAM FROM STANDING ROCK (84 minutes) and a Q & A with Native Americans who witnessed the events at Standing Rock, & filmmakers in James Chapel & via Skype.


In 2016 Standing Rock, North Dakota became one of the most watched places on earth.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe captured world attention through their peaceful resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens the drinking water of 18 million people and Indigenous sovereignty. While many may know the details, AWAKE: A DREAM FROM STANDING ROCK captures the story of the Native-led defiance that forever changed how we fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet.

Directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Josh Fox (Gasland), Academy Award nominated filmmaker James Spione (Incident in New Baghdad) and Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey. Written by Floris White Bull, Josh Fox and Myron Dewey. Executive Produced by Academy Award nominated Amy Ziering (The Invisible War), Golden Globe nominated actress Shailene Woodley (Divergent, A Fault in Our Stars) and Lauren Taschen. Advisors Floris White Bull and Douglas Good Feather. Featuring music from Nahko (Nahko and the Medicine People) and Prolific the Rapper. Co-Produced by Kyle Cadotte, Deia Schlosberg, and Teena Pugliese.


Thursday, June 15 at 7:00 PM

Live Haitian music in James Chapel will be followed by a screening of the film FATHER JOSEPH, a feature documentary of the remarkable life and work of the visionary Haitian priest who established Haiti’s largest micro-credit bank (Fonkoze), with the special mission of empowering hundreds of thousands of women and their families through literacy classes, small business training, and community building loans.

He founded a 700-student K-14 school, an orphanage, a clean water project, a reforestation program, a health clinic, and a radio station; he built dozens of homes, and created the University of Fondwa, Haiti’s first rural college. With humor, courage and faith, Father Joseph Phillipe survives political violence and a devastating earthquake, while lifting thousands of Haitians out of poverty. (1’-11”)

“Affecting and inspiring, FATHER JOSEPH challenges my sense of my place in the world and what my responsibility is to others.” – Willem Dafoe

FATHER JOSEPH is written and directed by Jeffrey Kaufman, who has made a number of documentaries for Amnesty International, and produced by Marcia S. Ross.

There will be a Q & A with the filmmakers and Father Joseph Philippe in person after the screening, followed by a RECEPTION in the Social Hall.


Friday, June 16 at 7:00 PM

Outdoor music and dance at 6:30pm in Union's Courtyard, with a special live performance in James Chapel, will be followed by a screening of TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton. The story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy.

TAKING ROOT weaves a compelling and dramatic narrative of one woman’s personal journey in the context of the turbulent political and environmental history of her country.

Raised in the rural highlands of Kenya, educated in the United States during the 1960s civil rights era, and the first woman to receive a PhD in East and Central Africa, Maathai discovered the heart of her life’s work by reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her that their daily lives had become intolerable: they were walking longer distances for firewood; clean water had become scarce; the soil was disappearing from their fields; and their children were suffering from malnutrition. Dr. Maathai then founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging rural women to plant trees. (54’).

Q & A will follow with filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, the Chair of the International Green Belt Movement.


Saturday Matinee, June 17 at 3:00 PM
Special afternoon of music and film for the whole family!

Sky Caravan, Ukrainian violinist, Milena Davidowicz and Russian pianist, Elena Panova will perform exciting Gypsy and Ukrainian music, introduce young audiences to various string instruments and demonstrate how to play them. Everyone will have the chance to play an instrument.

Following music, Matinee Film: EARTH – Disneynature Film (1’-30”)
An epic story of adventure, starring some of the most magnificent and courageous creatures alive, it tells the story of three animal families on a journey across our planet – polar bears, elephants and humpback whales. Narrated by James Earl Jones.

Click Here to View the Trailer for Earth


Saturday Evening, June 17 at 7:00 PM
Live music from Central Asia in James Chapel, followed

Film screening:

Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary.

This thrilling true tale of Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who is training to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, follows her quest as she rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries, and only a few females have achieved.
Directed by Otto Bell and narrated by Daisy Ridley.

Q & A following the film.





Celebrating People Preserving Our Planet

Bridging indigenous cultures, women's wisdom, and environmental science through soul-stirring films, workshops, and inspiring musical performances.

Paradigm Shifts Programs presented 6 performances in Brooklyn with:
NASA Astronaut Michael J. Massimino who spoke about his space walking experience in repairing the Hubble Space Telescope;
Columbia University Professor Joe Patterson who spoke about the upcoming 2017 eclipse and global telescopes and the network for backyard Astrophysics;
David J. Helfand, Astronomy Chairman of Columbia University who showed a film and spoke about, “We’re Made of Star Stuff;”
Zephyr Penoyre, Astrophysicist at Columbia University, led a panel on inspiration & careers in astronomy;
The cast of performers spoke about their experience attending Space Camp and how they developed their roles. The composer, director led panels on the science and music connections in The Astronaut’s Tale.
Science Meets Music, an Interactive Electromagnetism Workshop for young students, ages 9 and up, at the South Oxford Space in Brooklyn, featuring a hands-on demonstration of how the Theremin works by a top Theremin musician, Rob Schwimmer. Scholarship tickets made available to middle and high school students and teachers.
In Manhattan, Paradigm Shifts held 5 Community Outreach Engagements at various venues:
The Museum of Natural History for the Amateur Astronomers’ Association
The Astronomy Public Outreach Program at Columbia University (3 engagements)
The New York Institute of Technology for students (3 engagements)
The Stein Senior Center
The opera portion of Paradigm Shifts presented staged scenes from Blood of Angels, a new opera about the early Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s with 27 singers and musical staff at the Manhattan School of Music for New American Opera Previews, with an audience talk-back with singers, composer and director, and moderated by Midge Woolsey, of Channel Thirteen PBS for 1 performance, reaching 200 audience members of students and general audience.


Join us for a lively and engaging demonstration of the intersection between music and electricity, led by physicist and designer Karen Patwa. In this interactive workshop, you will receive an informative introduction to electromagnetism, build and take home your own electric motor, and learn about and experience an exciting musical performance on the theremin by Rob Schwimmer, one of the top theremin virtuosos in the world.

The theremin employs electricity to produce unique sounds,
including the spooky sounds played in horror movies!

After receiving her B.A. in physics from Bryn Mawr College, Karen Patwa studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has taught physics and mathematics for over a decade in public and private schools in New York City. 

Rob Schwimmer is one of the top theremin virtuosos in the world and co-director of The New York Theremin Society. He has performed in global venues such as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and the Colosseum. He has worked with Gotye, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin, Marc Shaiman, and many more! 
Photo by Julie Mardin

Program is appropriate for ages 12 and up. Adults are welcome to participate.
Adults present as guardians and chaperones are welcome free of charge.

Click Here for 2015 Paradigm Shifts

Click Here for 2014 Paradigm Shifts

Encompass Opera thanks Environmental Education Fund
for providing the films and speakers and for inspiration and assistance.
Encompass New Opera Theatre
creates and produces adventurous new music drama and opera that explores our place in the universe and the inter-connection of nature through compelling human stories.  Angel of the Amazon, about protecting the rain forest, The Astronaut’s Tale about science and religion, and The Theory of Everything, exploring quantum physics and indigenous cosmology were produced in its Science & Arts program


Environmental Education Fund (EEF)
EEF’s EcoCinema program provides training, mentoring and resources to help individuals and organizations plan and hold an environmental festival.  Creative mediums such as film help to spread awareness and the discussions following the films often inspire collaborations that lead to solutions. A new awareness is key to solving our complex environmental crisis.


A Thank You to Our Sponsors:

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
- Albert Einstein

“I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells.
For when you are at that center within you and I am at that place within me, we shall be one.”

- Chief Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux, 1877