Springs artist releases first video documentary

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Enhanced consciousness is one benefit of pursuing one’s creativity, said documentary video filmmaker Michelle Vandepas, president of Conscious Destiny Productions. Her first digitally photographed documentary, entitled Woman as Butterfly, explores her concept as it examines the life of an 83-year-old artist who allows her flower to bloom in an explosion of creative output after her husband dies of cancer.

Vandepas met the artist while working on a short film about inspirational people. In the case of Woman as Butterfly, Vandepas tells the story of Taos artist Ann Saint John Hawley. “Meeting Ann instantly changed the direction of the film,” Vandepas said. “I knew fairly quickly that I would scrap (temporarily) the footage already shot, and start over again with Ann as the main focus.”

Vandepas is no stranger to the Colorado Springs business scene, and her accomplishments include having founded five corporations, patenting and licensing technology worldwide, having brought in $5 million in revenue from various shoestring startup companies.

That creates a paradox, or perhaps invokes a stereotype, as highly creative types are at times characterized to not be good at business. With Vandepas, however, one understands that creativity is what drives her, not dollars, which may follow, because she is good at what she does.

“Conscious awareness of one’s creativity is paramount for the success of an entrepreneur,” Vandepas said.

Vandepas has another documentary close to editing, and it, too, is about an artist, now living in Manitou Springs. He faced difficult times and hard choices throughout life, and how late in life he developed a serious illness, was pronounced dead, but was revived. His art is a glimpse into the light on the other side. In this case, his unconsciousness led to deeper awareness; even an altered consciousness.

Vandepas periodically takes groups to Taos where she leads others in developing their creativity through printmaking and creativity workshops. While in Taos, the group stays at the well-known Mabel Dodge Luhan bed and breakfast. Participants will enjoy making one-of-a-kind art pieces using monotype printmaking, and while taught by a well-known Taos printmaker, no art experience is needed, said Vandepas. Another trip is in the works, if you’re interested in going, see contact information at the end of this story.

Vandepas is nothing if not creative, and her purview is wider than her movie lens. She is taking lessons in art, dance, singing, piano and writing. Her artwork is on display at Bella Art and Frame, Monument, Blue Star Restaurant, and Cerulean Restaurant, all in Colorado Springs, and the BAC in Manitou Springs.

Finding markets for Woman as Butterfly is a priority, and those who have seen the film are saying nice things about it.

“To watch this film was so comfortable and such a treat,” said Edwina A. Foreman, Colorado Springs Film Commissioner. “Makes you want to say, ‘go girl!’”

Other responses included one by cranial therapist DeAnne Dingwall: “Such an inspiring movie.” Another, from x-ray technician Leslie Norris: “It has opened my doors all the way to see so many possibilities, and let my creativity, joy and soul come alive.”

With Vandepas as an example, Colorado Springs is full of creative, talented people, and she is willing to share her platform with local artists. On Woman as Butterfly, she tapped local acoustic guitarist Phil Volan, Native American flutist Marina Raye, and pianist Julia McCay for background music. All three have CD’s or tapes available, and last month Volan won second place at a prestigious musical contest featuring players from around the world.

To find out more about Woman as Butterfly, you may go to www.womanasbutterfly.com, or Vandepas may be reached at 719/527-8257.