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Besides Transcendental Meditation, What Does One Learn with the David Lynch MA in Film?

Besides Transcendental Meditation, What Does One Learn with the David Lynch MA in Film?

Want to get David Lynch’s feedback on your filmmaking?  Want to get advice from him on how meditation can help you become a better filmmaking? The Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, is hosting its first class of the David Lynch MA in Film and also offers two in-person Q&A sessions and periodic Skype sessions with Lynch. 

This year’s admits will head to the school’s Fall Forest Academy on August 19 for their introduction to the school, and Transcendental Mediation.  The program sells itself by noting that it helps you “[tap] into an inexhaustible ocean of creativity within yourself–pure consciousness.” 

Lynch, who is the mastermind behind TV’s “Twin Peaks” as well as cinematic classics like “Mulholland Dr.” and “Eraserhead,” has also been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.  And since 2005, he’s focused his energy on the David Lynch Foundation for Consciouness-Based Education and Peace, which “brings the Transcendental Meditation program to some of the world’s most stressed populations.”

The school’s location, the quaint Fairfield, Iowa, is (according to the program’s brochure) dubbed “Peacetown, USA,” and is a “small town with a global vision and a global culture that welcomes high-caliber artists who want to be at the vanguard of change.”

The curriculum starts with the Forest Academy, then moves onto Advanced Narrative, followed by Advanced Screenwriting, Acting for Film, The Frame, and the Field.  In January, there’s a Spring Forest Academy, and from February through April, a three-month course will allow the students to work on a larger project.  Finally, The Media Market will teach students how to sell their films.

Faculty at the program include Stuart Tanner (“The Mahogany Trail,” “Saving the Disposable Ones”), Gurdy Leete (an author of many Flash guidebooks), and Cullen Thomas (“Change Begins Within,” “Wormtooth Nation”).

The university is named after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who founded the school in 1973.  All students and faculty at Maharishi University of Management practice Transcendental Meditation.  And all classes are taught one-at-a-time in blocks, with no other classes competing for students’ attention.  There is also a 3 1/2 day break between each block.

Sorry, applications are past due; August 10 was the cut off!  Try again next year!

Check out some promotional videos from the school below.

Here’s one that answers the question that’s on everyone’s mind:  Why make movies in Fairfield, Iowa?

And in case you want more, here’s a promotional video with some information from one of the school’s undergraduate students:

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged ,



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Hollywood PR guru, producer, director speak to MUM students in Film MA
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
October 2013

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) students in the new David Lynch MA in Film are enjoying hearing stories and receiving advice from the inner circles of Hollywood, including marketing guru John Raatz, director/screenwriter Jeremy Kagan, producer Bill Borden, and even a brief phone call from actor Jim Carrey.

Mr. Raatz, a representative for Jim Carrey, Martin Sheen, and Madonna, offered the students a two-day workshop on transformational media, which focuses on raising awareness. He was the marketing genius behind the film What the Bleep Do We Know? He and Mr. Carrey are co-founders of the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment.

Mr. Carrey called in via Skype while Mr. Raatz was speaking with the students, and Mr. Raatz gave him an update on the success of his children's book.

Bill Borden, a producer for 34 movies, such as Mission Impossible: III, spoke to the students twice, telling them behind-the-scenes stories of what goes on during the production of a film, such as the challenges of dealing with the various personalities.

Jeremy Kagan, whose hit movies include Heroes, The Big Fix, and The Chosen, spoke to the students via Skype. His message was: maximum commitment, minimum attachment. Have a vision but let go when it doesn't work.

Forthcoming speakers include actor/director Bill Duke and screenwriter/book author Ron Peterson.


The word meditation, is derived from two Latin words: meditari(to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation ‘medha’ means wisdom.Meditation means to drop everything which is in one’s memory and to come to state where only consciousness remains, where only awareness remains.The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, is calm and serene and at peace, meditation happens.“If you light a lamp and remove all the objects surrounding it, the lamp will still go on giving light. In today’s world where stress catches on faster than the eye can see or the mind can perceive, meditation is no more a luxury. It is a necessity. To be unconditionally happy and to have peace of mind, we need to tap into the power of meditation.


Fairfield, IA is the national center for the TM movement. Lots of celebrities pass through there while taking Ayurvedic treatment from the 5-star resort/clinic and a lot have vacation homes there.

I chatted briefly with someone from the TM university after I signed up to receive more info. He couldn't name names, but agreed with me that they had hopes that various TM notables in the film industry would do unannounced lectures/seminars at the film school while they were in town.

Film and entertainment people known to be TMers and/or have visited the TM university in recent years include: Jim Carrey, David Lynch, Laura Dern, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, Howard Stern, and the list goes on and on. The first city that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visited in the USA was Los Angeles back in 1959, and the Who's Who of Hollywood types who learned TM over the years (whether or not they still practice it) looks very much like the Who's Who of Hollywood.

There's literally no telling who might drop in to say hi:


I practice TM, and have experienced that my music and art are continuing to improve, and sometimes it's big jumps. At various times when playing music, it's as if I'm not doing it, and at that moment it's entirely effortless – I'm really just a witness to what's happening. To some degree, I feel this is what David L. is referring to when he talks about experiencing the source of creativity. I probably couldn't do this film major, but if possible it would be fun to audit a few courses.

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