Sailor, Sufi, Spy: Robert Darr and the Journey features the worldly and spiritual journeys of Sausalito resident Robert Darr, a man whose life spans the diverse and disparate practices of building and sailing wooden boats, translating Persian poetry and serving as Sufi spiritual guide to a community of recently-settled Afghan refugees. Through one Californian’s story we witness the meandering path to self-realization, the upheavals caused by war, and the power of the human heart to connect across vastly different cultures and help navigate the difficult journey of being human.
I met Robert Darr while working on my last video project Travels with H: Hafiz in a New World. I was looking for people who knew more about the poet Hafiz and one person said, ‘Have you met Bob yet? The boat-builder in Sausalito?’ Well no I hadn’t…but knew that I had to make my way over there. Bob helped me quite a bit.
And the workshop in which he trains students in traditional methods of wooden boat-building is a fascinating and unique world….one which the camera just loves!
I’m convinced more than ever that Bob’s story is an important one to share. He’s a very grounded, spiritual person who grew up sailing the Pacific with his father from Tahiti to California. He spent the 80s doing humanitarian work in Afghanistan, and there came in contact with his Sufi teachers. He is head instructor at the Arques School of Boatbuilding in Sausalito, and has recently just helped restore the oldest wooden yacht on the West Coast.
He occupies this strange intersection between sailing, spirituality, Islam, poetry and teaching –to name just a few.…. His is a global story that encompasses very different cultures, from Tahitian to San Franciscan to Afghani; he has witnessed the counter-culture movement of the 60’s in California, and war in Afghanistan in the 80’s. Having been a seeker of truth and beauty his whole life, now in his 60’s what does he make of all he’s seen and done? What does he make not just of his journey, but of this journey of life that we are all on? This movie will explore these questions.