Friday, May 30, 2014

Video short animation "The Incident at Tower 37" directed by Chris Perry

Watch "The Incident at Tower 37" 10 minute multi-award winning HD animated film about a water tower #37, which siphons up every drop of water from a once-pristine lake, that is, until the station's steward realizes that it is slowly destroying an entire ecosystem. Director Chris Perry won a 2014 Academy Award for his role in the Voodoo software application.program developed at Rhythm and Hues Studios and used on many films including "Life of Pi".

Youtube lower res version of "The Incident at Tower 37"

Written and directed by Chris Perry
Produced by Bit Films
Produced within the collaborative animation curriculum at Hampshire College

Honouring "World Water Day"

Chris Perry 2014 Honoree Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
 "Technical Achievement Award" (more background to the award)

Video short animation "Shaman" By Luc Perez

Watch "Shaman"11 minute animated acrylic on paper with computer compositing. In order to survive harsh nature, Utaaq as a young Inuit hunter must become a summoner of spirits, a Shaman. The story starts with Utaaq, now an Inuit elder, waiting at an urban bus stop in downtown Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. When Utaaq spots a bird from his native Greenland flying above his head, this rare visitor to those climates reminds Utaaq of his youth. In memory flashbacks, old Utaaq's journey from young hunter to Shaman is told.

As a young hunter he discovers that a mountain wanderer is using a Tupilak for killing local hunters. Tupilaks are magical creatures that must obey their masters. In order to prevent further death and destruction, and to restore the balance with nature in his community, Utaaq goes into the mountains to learn, to be, a Shaman. When Utaaq returns to his community, he uses his powers to destroy the mountain wanderer. After the flashback of memories ends, the story returns us to the bus stop where old Utaqq is still, waiting, nostalgically weary, watching the bird. The familiar Arctic bird, forced to fly farther south for survival due to human tampering with the Arctic, reminds Utaaq of his heart-connection to the wilderness of his native northern home ... before he too was forced to fly south leaving the land for an urban life in the city.

Pour survivre dans une nature hostile, Utaaq, jeune chasseur inuit, devra devenir un invocateur d’esprits, un shaman. Shaman veut rendre hommage à ce peuple fascinant dont la culture traditionnelle s'est considérablement dégradée depuis les 100 dernières années. Shaman est une tentative de mettre en image un aspect de la culture Inuit : le chamanisme. Je voulais aire ressentir au public la force de la vie spirituelle inuit et de la restituer dans ce monde extreme qu’est la nature majestueuse du Groenland. Il était important de décrire les différentes étapes qui font d’un homme un invocateur d’esprit. J’ai voulu situé le film dans un passé tres proche pour renforcé le contraste avec notre monde matérialiste. Shaman est un conte et un hommage à cette magie que nous avons peut-etre perdue à jamais.

Director's statement and website: "Shaman wants to pay tribute to this fascinating people whose traditional culture has deteriorated considerably over the past 100 years. Shaman is an attempt to imagine an aspect of Inuit shamanistic culture. I wanted the audience to feel the strength of Inuit spiritual life, and restore to this extreme world what the majesty of Greenland's nature feels like. It was important to describe the various steps that makes a man into a conjurer of mind. I wanted to set the film in a very recent past for enhanced contrast with our materialistic world. Shaman is a story and a tribute to the magic that we may have lost forever."

Video "Making of"

“The film is a visual experience! It’s a non verbal film painted with a big brush and dissolving images of landscapes and the sea in Greenland. Shaman is a playful tale of the magic forces of nature in Inuit culture where people and animals are transformed and joined together. Every picture is a painting – the picture sequenses have continuous metamorforsis, dramatic shifts accompanied by a very interesting soundtrack.”
— Special Mention Award, Odense.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Video short documentary "Land Has Breath" directed by Ivan Golovnev + "Crush" by Agency Rush

Watch: "Land Has Breath" (Vimeo high res link here) 8:33 minute short documentary (Youtube low res link here) with Slava Cheltuev, Telengit community leader and shaman from Russian Altai's high altitude Kosh Agach Raion which traverses the Altai's sacred lands, rediscovering Altai's Human-Nature relationships. He reflects on our 21st century world and stresses the importance of reviving vital traditional knowledge – age-old wisdom that instructs the respectful and harmonic relationship between local environment and human behaviour. Land has breath, an umbilical cord, nose, mouth eyes and ears… everything that exists on earth is alive. Altai is a harmonious co-existence of humanity and nature. This is traditional wisdom of the people of Russia’s Altai Republic, located at the crossroads of China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The mountains here host rich indigenous culture that has protected the natural environment for countless generations.

 “Mountains with glaciers bring blessings to the lives of folk. Valleys with glaciers give pastures for healthy livestock.”

The Altai, parts of which were included on the World Heritage List in 1998 is a region brimming with unique features that give it a striking beauty and a particular importance for the biological diversity of its plants, mammals, reptiles and fish. Through the centuries, Altaians have developed a unique ecological culture, including an entire spectrum of moral values and an unusual philosophical view of the world. Altai’s mountains are sacred places to the clans and tribes of the indigenous population.

Each valley, each mountain peak, each spring has its own spirits, or masters, known in Altaian as ‘eezi’. All nature is animate; the natural world around humans is full of spirits and each living being is of divine descent and serves a divine purpose. The sacred places, plants and animals recognized and protected over millennia by local and indigenous Altaian communities prove that the first environmental conservation and ecology movement arose long before the appearance of modern nature reserves and parks.

Deals between oil companies and governments for drilling and fracking bring new dangers to this land.

Watch "Crush" by Agency Rush
 1:35 minute animation made for Greenpeace on Arctic Drilling/Fracking in Siberia

Article: "Altai communities and snow leopards threatened by pipeline"


About "Land Has Breath" and this UN Project
The United Nations University together with Aleine Ecological movement of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan’s Academy of Sciences - Institute of Zoology and Parasitology, and Foundation of sustainable development of Altai, collaborated as partners in the coordination, production and dissemination of 3 short videos dealing with Central Asian Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change. Collaboratively made with Indigenous storytellers, the videobriefs are told in local languages, respect Intellectual Property rights and provide storytellers with media training, resources and a fair media engagement model for future projects. The final videos played alongside other international climate change videos at a locally coordinated forum event and later at a special screening at the National Museum of Denmark during the Copenhagen COP15 meeting.

Special thanks to Slava Cheltuev and his family, and the people of Kosh Agach Raion; Gorno Altaisk State University for scientific data; Gorno Altaisk Meridian for archive Nature Park Quiet Zone Ukok” for logistics. Developed and produced for United Nations University (UNU) by UNU Media Studio & Foundation of sustainable development of Altai, in association with UNU-IAS Traditional knowledge Initiative and The Christensen Fund. More information Our World 2.0 and UNU IAS-TKI

About the Director/Cinematographer/Editor:Ivan Golovnev
Ivan was born in 1978 in Omsk, a city in southwest Siberia. He graduated from the Omsk State University, History Department. In 2002 he finished college at the Sverdlovsk Film Studio in Ekaterinburg. In 2005 he finished the Highest Courses of Film Writers and Directors in Moscow. In addition to studying theory, he has worked as an assistant director during the filming of documentary and feature films and also as a director of a local TV station. He directed the documentary television series "The Time of Myths" about the traditional culture of the Khanty and the Mansi, two indigenous peoples of Russia’s northwest Siberia. In 2004, he completed a documentary entitled "Tiny Katerina", which chronicles three years from the life of a small Khanty girl and her family who exist in harmony with nature and follow the rites of their traditional culture, until the oil industry disrupts their livelihood. This film has received awards at several international festivals. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Video animation short "Kakuarshuk" by Weaam Sperinck

Watch "Kakuarshuk" 4:40 minute animated story based on an old Inuit folktale describing the journey taken by a barren woman (Kakuarshuk) to find herself a child. The animation was created using a variation of drawings, cut outs and a kaleidoscope. The director wanted to illustrate the main themes of the story: loneliness, reverses and wonderment. Directed, Adapted and Narrated by Weaam Sperinck

About Weaam Sperinck a designer living in Bahrain, studied at Glasgow School of Art and is known for her animations "Birth of the Black Hole" , "Kakuarshuk" and  "A Play of Light"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Video short doc/photographs "War Is Personal" by Eugene Richards

Watch "War Is Personal" delves into the lives of 15 people forever changed by the war in Iraq. As a photojournalist Eugene Richards, in each chapter, shows the impact of the war in photographs and interviews with soldiers, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, revealing their emotional battles.

Thank you to artists who risk their life to share the story of war.

Eugene Richards award-winning photo-journalist. "It was 2006; the war in Iraq was in its fourth year. No weapons of mass destruction had been found. There were reports of tens of thousands of dead and injured Iraqis, of more than 2,000 dead American soldiers, of rising rates of depression and suicide among American military personnel. All the while Congress and the media debated what the conflict was costing America in image and treasure, the president in popularity. Troubled by the public’s growing indifference to the tragedy of Iraq and critical of my own inaction, I set out on what would be a years-long journey to document the lives of Americans who’d been profoundly affected by the war."

“People have done a lot of great work on the war,” Richards said. “But I think the more intimate you get, the closer it comes to you.”

Watch short video interview of Eugene Richards by Italian LODI Channel (English/Italian Subtitles)

Watch: LightBox Video Interview with Eugene Richards
Read Time LightBox article

Friday, May 23, 2014

Video short documentary film "The Last Ice Merchant" / "El Último Hielero" directed by Sandy Patch + "The Last Iceman of Chimborazo" by Gabriela Lozada

Watch "The Last Ice Merchant" / "El Último Hielero" by Sandy Patch
14 minute story: "For over 50 years Baltazar Ushca has harvested the glacial ice of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo. His brothers, both raised as ice merchants, have long since retired from the mountain. This is a story of cultural change and how three brothers have adapted to it."

Director/Cinematographer: Sandy Patch
Producers: Jeremy Yaches, Rodrigo Donoso
Music: Andes Manta
Official Website & Credits
"Making Of"
Extras + more Videos
Photos: Baltazar at NYC Tribeca Film Festival


Watch "The Last Iceman of Chimborazo" by Gabriela Lozada
12:24 minute story: "Deep in the Chimborazo volcano is hidden an ingredient to which people attribute healing and sacred power, Baltazar is the last man on earth who knows how to find it. The healing powers of natural ice."

Así como esta película (abajo)

Ver "El último hielero del Chimborazo Ecuador" 1:15:52 minute documentary in Spanish, no subtitles. Calentamiento de la Tierra no derrite al último hielero de Ecuador. Taita (papá) Baltasar Ushca es el último hielero del Chimborazo. Este hombre a sus 63 años de edad todavía arranca una parte de las nieves eternas del Coloso de los Andes, el Chimborazo (6.310 metros sobre el nivel del mar). Su actividad la inició a los 13 años de edad cuando todavía no existían las fábricas de hielo y la única manera de saborear un helado en Riobamba era con el hielo que Baltasar arrancaba al "Taita Chimborazo".

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Video/Petition short doc "Fracking Threatens Chaco's Sacred American Heritage" (United Nations World Heritage Site) Dir. Anna Sofaer and Matt Dibble

Watch "Fracking Threatens Chaco's Sacred American Heritage - an United Nations World Heritage Site" 14 minute short documentary film narrated by Peter Coyote. The descendant Pueblo people and Navajo people speak of the spiritual significance of the "roads" that connect the Great Houses with places of power in the landscape. John Roney, whose great knowledge of "roads" gained from decades of study, sensitively informs our efforts to protect these remote and fragile features. Adriel Heisey's aerial cinematography reveals ancient roads and sites in stunning imagery. And using state-of-the-art remote sensing technology, Rich Friedman helps us visualize the thousand-year-old Chacoan constructions.

This video was made in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s announcement to facilitate leasing of 6.2 million acres of the Chaco region of New Mexico to oil companies for fracking and horizontal drilling, Chaco is a uniquely integrated landscape of built environments. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is considered one of the most important ancient sites of the Americas. The BLM-designated leasing area contains 35 ceremonial “Great Houses” and many fragile ancient earthworks known as “roads.” These constructions are quite subtle, have not been fully researched, and we fear that they could easily be destroyed before they are documented or understood."

Thank You to the Filmmakers (and petitioner creators) and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque New Mexico USA.

To: The United States of America Bureau of Land Management
From: Citizens of the World
Please join with your support before May 28, 2014 the end of the “scoping period” for "public input" on fracking and drilling around and on this designated UN World Heritage Site, Native American sacred site.

PETITION Statement of INTENTION:"It’s unconscionable that the Bureau of Land Management is already leasing land for fracking around New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Chaco NHP). It’s even worse that the BLM is now proposing to expand drilling through a vast new area --- potentially extending to millions of acres. This region contains thirty-five Chaco Great House ruins and a network of subtle and fragile ancient roads, sites held sacred by Native American descendants. Don’t allow fracking near Chaco NHP.

Why is this important?
The BLM has proposed massively expanded fracking on land surrounding New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park. We cannot allow the BLM to turn Chaco’s invaluable historic landmark into an industrial wasteland.

The BLM is accepting public comments until May 28, 2014 on this deeply irresponsible proposal. We have to act now to urge the BLM not to frack on the lands of the Chaco culture and to make it clear that America’s national parks are worth far more than the dirty oil and gas underneath them.

A thousand years ago, Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico was the ceremonial center of ancestral Pueblo Indians, whose culture encompassed 75,000 square miles of the Southwest. Today, Chaco Canyon is a World Heritage Site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Americas. However, the Chaco cultural expanse reaches beyond this center into unprotected land on the verge of a blanketing of energy development, driven by new oil and gas extraction technologies.

The land now threatened by the BLM’s leasing plans holds irreplaceable information about the Chacoans’ culture.  For many Pueblo people, whose Chacoan ancestors used no written language, these traces on the landscape are their history.

In 1977, while on a research project near the summit of a towering butte in Chaco Canyon, I discovered a spiral rock carving now known as the Sun Dagger site, a ritual calendar marking with light the cycles of the sun and the moon.  My colleagues and I, through the Solstice Project, then went on to discover that twelve massive Chaco buildings are also aligned to the sun and the moon, establishing Chaco Canyon as an center of major astronomical achievements.

Now, in urgent response to the BLM’s proposal to expand fracking, we want to share our startling new findings about the ancient “roads” that exist throughout the vast Chaco region. The Chacoans engineered hundreds of miles of wide and astoundingly straight linear features which archaeologists are now clearly showing were not utilitarian. Native American people have expressed the profound spiritual significance of these features. For instance, the thirty-five mile Chaco Great North Road symbolizes for Pueblo people the connection to the North, their place of emergence. But oil and gas companies are now building access roads that crisscross the Great North Road.

The entire Chaco world is one of cosmological connections manifested in beautiful architectural and astronomical works. Chaco's roads and their associated shrines and ceremonial Great Houses define this greater Chaco world. These subtle features have been only minimally documented but the BLM has claimed there is little in cultural resources to be protected.

We created this petition to the Obama Administration to take responsibility to halt fracking on any further lands in the Chaco region. Please join with your support before the end of the “scoping period” for public input ending May 28th 2014.

One by one we chose to care and share.

Related post on "historical significance of Chaco Canyon Star Navigation Astronomy sites"

Films by Anna Sofaer and Matt Dibble:
Sun Dagger Video of Interactive Exhibit
'The Mystery of Chaco Canyon" Trailer: "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon"
"The Sun Dagger"