Chikara Motomura produced, wrote, directed, edited, and did the cinematography & sound in his film, JOURNEY TO HOKUSAI, which follows Marin County artist, Tom Killion, from his northern California studio to Kyoto, Japan, to study with 5th generation master print makers to learn how to print in the Japanese wood block tradition of Katsushika Hokusai.
In but four and a half days, he produced beautiful wood block prints using the ancient techniques on paper made by “Living National Treasure,” Ichibei Iwano, ninth generation master papermaker.
Sara Dosa wrote, directed and produced the extraordinary documentary, FIRE OF LOVE. It premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival as the Day One film in the US Documentary Competition, & won the Jonathan Oppenheimer Editing Award for Erin Casper & Jocelyne Chaput’s superb editing, as well as raves from critics. Her work has won a Peabody Award for AUDRIE & DAISY and an Emmy Award for REMASTERED: TRICKY DICK AND THE MAN IN BLACK.
National Geographic Films acquired FIRE OF LOVE for release in 2022. It screens at the Mendocino Film Festival audiences on June 3rd & 4th at the Coast Cinemas.
FIRE OF LOVE recounts the love between, and work of, two young French volcanologists, Katia and Maurice Kraffts, whose courageous exploration and documentation of volcanoes revolutionized our understanding of Earth processes. They dedicated their lives to trying to answer questions like “what forms & re-forms the world.” and “What is it that makes the Earth’s heart beat, her blood flow?”
They were one in their obsession with volcanoes, but they were complementary in their approaches and division of labor, which certainly advanced the success of their work. When asked if they were the only volcanologist couples in one of their many media appearances, Maurice said he “doesn’t think there are any other couples, & if there are, I pity them, because it’s very hard for volcanologists to live together – it’s volcanic…. We erupt often.”
FIRE OF LOVE is dedicated to the 43 people who lost their lives on Mt. Unzen on June, 3, 1991, which is when Katia and Maurice Krafft were finally consumed by that eruption they were studying.
This interview with Gillen D’Arcy Wood was originally broadcast on June 10, 2015. His book, TAMBORA: THE ERUPTION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, had just been published by Princeton University Press.
“Out of sight and out of mind, Tambora was the volcanic, stealth bomber of the early 19th century. Be it the retching cholera victim in Calcutta, the starving peasant children of Yunnan, China or County Tyrone, Ireland, the hopeful explorer of a North West Passage through the Arctic Ocean, or the bankrupt land speculator in Baltimore, the world’s residents were oblivious to the volcanic drivings of their fate.”
In 2015, it was 200 years after Tambora erupted cataclysmically with extremely dire global consequences. What can we learn from this event as we face our own challenges in a rapidly changing climate?
Gillen D’Arcy Wood is a professor of English and an environmental historian at the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he directs The Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities. Gillen D’Arcy Wood has written extensively on the cultural and environmental history of the 19th century, and is the author of The Shock of the Real: Romanticism and Visual Culture, 1760-1860 (Palgrave, 2001), Romanticism and Music Culture in Britain, 1770-1840: Virtue and Virtuosity (Cambridge UP, 2010), an historical novel, Hosack’s Folly (Other Press, 2005).
We were already in production to rebroadcast this archived edition of Forthright Radio from April 25, 2005, featuring un-embedded journalist, Dahr Jamail, with documentary filmmaker and humanitarian assistance worker, Mark Manning, recounting their experiences relating to the two battles of Fallujah waged by the United States military in Iraq in the Spring and Fall of 2004. – when former President Bush made this statement in a speech at his presidential library on May 18, 2022:
“Russian elections are rigged. Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process. The result is an absence in checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq …… I mean of Ukraine …. “
Mark Twain noted that history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.
And we were struck by certain similarities between the selling of the U. S. invasion of Iraq to the American people in April of 2003, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022. In both cases, the leaders asserted that the military actions by their vastly larger, stronger and wealthier nations were purely defensive in nature. In the case of the US, the administration claimed that Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (which was later proven to be entirely false, and were known to be false at the time) required immediate preemptive military force, and that “we must fight them over there to prevent having to fight them here.” Russia justified their military actions by claims of NATO provocations by encroaching on its border and the potential of Ukraine joining NATO.
Saddam Hussein, who had formerly been an ally of the US in the 1980s against Iran, now had to be subjected to regime change, because of the brutal nature of his dictatorship. The Russian excuse was the Ukraine government was rife with Nazi fascists.
Each government maintained tight control over information, and the mainstream media in both countries were slavish in delivering their governments’ messages of the righteousness and necessity of their respective invasions, assuring their populace that their soldiers would be welcomed as liberators and the military actions would be over quickly. The popularity of both these leaders and their military actions initially rose in polls.
Many Americans are amazed that Russians support Putin’s aggression, forgetting how enthusiastically they watched the “Shock and Awe” spectacle delivered by all major American media, at least in the early days of the Iraq War. In Russia protest and demonstrations against the invasion are put down swiftly, and those who even refer to the situation with the word “war” are subject to lengthy prison terms.
Before the invasion of Iraq, in major world capitals, some of the largest peace demonstrations in world history were either ignored or dismissed as mere “focus groups” by the Bush administration.
As we view with horror the senseless destruction of Ukraine villages and cities and the wanton civilian deaths, we find this interview with Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning instructive of our own nation’s responsibility for similar acts.
Indigenous artisans, cooks and farmers tell us this story (in Spanish and in their own languages) about the origins of indigenous corn and how their ancestors have guided the evolution of seeds from the dawn of agriculture to the 21st century; a collective effort that spans more than 350 generations.
To their voices are added those of community leaders, scientists, cooks and many others whose knowledge and activism are committed not only to the defense of food sovereignty and genetic integrity, diversity and the collective property of indigenous seeds, but also for the defense of an enduring cultural legacy and way of life.
Filmmaker and Chair of the FIlm & Digital Media Department at UC Santa Cruz , Gustavo Vazquez, brings us to Oaxaca to experience the wisdom of various indigenous communities, as they explain that “Corn was not domesticated by man – Man was domesticated by corn.”
Professors Ignacio Chapela (UC Berkeley) and Alan Bennett (UC Davis) discuss the merits and dangers of genetically modified organisms, and the characteristics of different landraces of corn that have co-evolved with the people of Oaxaca – continuing co-evolution vs. exploitation for patenting and profit.
Susana Harp, Senator from Oaxaca, works to protect the heritage and health of her region, and to respect the validity of their approach. “Corn & its surrounding rituals are tied to the cosmology of the indigenous people – by extension, the essence of being Mexican, linking our lives to corn.”
Ethnographer John Peabody Harrington spent 50 years recording and documenting over 150 different, dying Native American languages. He left between 1 to 3 million pages of notes and extensive recordings, all of which are now being used by California tribes to revitalize and restore their Native languages.
As the dominant European American culture organized to destroy Indian language and culture, Harrington dedicated his life to recording and transcribing their languages before the elder native speakers died.
Dan Golding’s film, CHASING VOICES, chronicles Harrington’s work, and that of his long time assistant, Jack Marr, as well as those who seek to revive lost languages using his archived notations, such as UC Berkeley’s Breath of Life Worshop/Conferences.
Chasing Voices will be followed by Native Cinema Short Films and Conversation at the Mendocino Film Festival 2022.
You can join this series of shorts for Native perspectives and visionary discussion afterwards with the filmmakers and local Tribal Pomo Leaders.
The short films include AWAKEN, CHISHKALE: BLESSING OF THE ACORN, FOREST GRANDMOTHERS, and POMO LAND BACK: A PRAYER FROM THE FOREST.
The Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people have seen their population dwindle and their culture threatened since coming into contact with non-Native Brazilians in the 1980s. Though promised dominion over their own rain forest territory, they have faced illegal incursions from environmentally destructive logging and mining, and, most recently, land-grabbing invasions spurred on by right-wing politicians like President Jair Bolsonaro. With deforestation escalating as a result, the stakes have become global.
Screen shots from THE TERRITORY of remaining Uru-eu-wau-wau territory surrounded on 3 sides by man made desert.
Filmmaker, Alex Pritz, gained incredible access to the Uru-eu-wau-wau people, and environmentalists dedicated to protecting them and their Amazonian rain forest, as well as Brazilian settlers, filming as the groups come into conflict. From stone age technology to e-technology in only a couple of generations, The Uru-eu-wau-wau understand that the struggle for their survival is also the struggle for humanity’s survival. Protecting the rain forest is crucial to minimizing the catastrophic effects of climate change.
eu-wau-wau people protect their land from invaders & illegal deforestation: