Connect Beyond Festival Announces “Connecting Beyond”

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Due to the current surge of COVID-19 cases and current state and local restrictions on large gathering restrictions in Asheville, NC, Connect Beyond Festival will transition to a 100% online event schedule in the coming year. “Connecting Beyond”, the new digital experience, will feature an online book club with participating authors, workshops, virtual film screenings with participating filmmakers, access to the Festival’s archive of concerts, panels, and a new podcast series with industry-leading artists and creators. “I’ve realized that just because we can’t get together in person, doesn’t mean we have to live in isolation. I think it’s important to create the opportunity for people to have meaningful conversations online. Like so many others, I’ve taken refuge in books, films, and music. I see this as a much needed time to gather online, connect with each other, and share our experiences,” says Jessica Tomasin, festival director. More information about the new initiatives and 2021 plans can be found at

Connect Beyond Book Club - In conjunction with Work With Meaning and Quietude, the Connect Beyond Book Club will examine a variety of texts to explore how best to navigate these challenging and unprecedented times. We will have a facilitated conversation around different themes that emerge from the books. The intention of this series is to foster resilience, understanding, and purpose for the year ahead. 

The book club will host a bi-weekly online meeting on Thursdays. Registration for the book club will be available via “Join us as we discuss books which are helpful in discovering how we each stand up, and step back into life as the intensity of the pandemic and the chaos of our time shape our collective experience. It's time to align our values and our hearts and act deliberately in community.” says Richard Garzarelli, co-founder of Work With Meaning.

The first book club feature will be The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose by Chris Wilson. The book has been described as “an inspiring instructive, and ultimately triumphant guide to turning your life around, from a man who used hard work and his Master Plan to convert a life sentence into a second chance.” Registration is available now and the online meetups will be on February 25th, March 11th, and March 25th (includes Author Q&A).

Connect Beyond Virtual Film Series - In conjunction with Social Construct, the 2021 film program will include monthly screenings of unreleased, work-in-progress, and brand new films exclusively for festival guests. In addition to these film events, there will also be exclusive Filmmaker Q&A sessions following most screenings. Film announcements will be released shorty via the website. To view the film archive, visit

Connect Beyond Podcast - Yes, we jumped on the podcast train too! The Connect Beyond Podcast is a new audio series of archived festival recordings, artist and creator Q&A sessions, and special film discussions to be released weekly via Spotify, Apple Music, and related podcast channels. Monthly Patreon subscribers will receive content one week prior to public release. Full schedule of podcast releases to be announced soon.

More information is available at