James Weeks born in St. Croix Virgin Islands is a documentary filmmaker, author and an initiate in the Yoruba tradition of Ifa. His passion for ancient African spiritual traditions led him to start the film project ‘Across The Kings River’ which aims to document healing practices and wisdom across West Africa. The film will document his journey along with his daughter, Tuliani as they meet with various elders to learn the ancient traditions. The film will serve as a visual legacy to prevent this wisdom dying out with the elders.
How did your journey into Ifa begin?
I was called to this path, and that keeps me going. The power of a divination around 2003 confirmed this was the path for me. The reading resonated with me deeply and I was told things about my future that intrigued me. Some things have already happened; some things are in the process of happening. A problem with my eldest son led me to Ifa for a reading. Then, the reading revealed a deeper story. I realized that my son was a messenger, and he came to help me walk my destiny.
How have these ancient Yoruba teachings impacted your life?
One of the key lessons or teachings is patience. There’s an Ifa proverb that says: “One who cannot follow ants cannot follow Ifa.” Following ants is a metaphor for patience, which is important because we are often in a rush. So many people want instant success and give up too easily in the pursuit of their dreams. Working on this film has also taught me a lot of patience and has also given me deeper insight into purpose.
What was the motivation behind the Across The Kings River film?
The idea for a film began when I was promoting a fine art calendar called “Sacred Journey.” It was a calendar inspired by my travels in Nigeria. Someone suggested that I should do a film called “Sacred Journey.” The name of the film eventually became “Across The King’s River”
Across The King’s River Trailer from james Weeks on Vimeo.
What are your aims for the film?
One of the goals has always been to inspire others to follow their visions and/or to help others see the power in their own stories. After watching my film, I hope it inspires others to take practical steps to improve their lives or follow their dreams. I don’t want to merely educate. The goal is transformation.
Have you come into any new learnings since working on this film?
Great question. It has really opened me up to how others celebrate and connect with Spirit. So, it has really opened my mind to the many ways in which we call can connect with the Higher Power. There is a danger when we don’t respect the spiritual beliefs of others. But there’s also a great danger when we don’t trust ourselves enough to listen to our own inner voice. There needs to be a greater push for self-empowerment in our spiritual traditions.
Were you a filmmaker before embarking on his project?
No, this is my first film, but it won’t be the last. Trying to get a film off the ground is so difficult and challenging that you might as well go ahead and make 2 or three films since you’re going to go through so much adversity anyway.
What positives have you experienced whilst working on this film?
The support and the enthusiasm from fans keep me going. People write me all the time to tell me that King’s River page is such an inspiration to them. That makes me very happy because if the page has the power to change lives, I know the film will have a monumental impact in the lives of many.
Have you faced any challenges trying to complete this production?
So, I have a lot of new ideas now as well as new team members. I firmly believe that I can make a much better film now than I could have 2-3 years ago. So, it’s very important to be patient and to understand that your ancestors DO try to open doors on your behalf. But many times, the ancestors might keep doors closed if they feel certain doors are not right for you. Things have to be done right.
What can people do to help to complete this film project?
Donations of any amount can be made at www.acrossthekingsriver.com. Fans can help by also sharing information about the project to others.