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2013 was a busy and exciting year for The Fifth Sacred Thing! We are happy for the opportunity to share the highlights of our march toward production with you.
Making a feature film is a huge undertaking, and our efforts this year have all been directed at securing investment, financing, and champions in the industry to move us forward.
January opened the year with a fantastic new addition to our production team as Maya Lilly came on board in our LA office. Maya is a producer, actor, playwright, and musician, attended Juilliard, and is a recipient of the Udall Congressional Award for her work using theatre and film as environmental activism. In addition to her work on TFST, Maya continues to produce several documentary projects and is touring the US performing her original play, Mixed.
Did we mention that her name incorporates two of the major characters in the book, and according to Starhawk, she looks exactly like Madrone as Starhawk has always imagined her! Is this magic at work?
January also saw our team attending the Global Alliance for Transformative Entertainment (GATE) conference in Los Angeles. The conference offered an opportunity to meet with other industry professionals who share our goals of addressing social ills affecting the world through the arts.
In February we held a table reading of our screenplay in Los Angeles with local actors and supporters of the film. We also had several introductory meetings with production executives to discuss bringing the film project to the screen. Each opportunity to pitch the film project helps us to hone our message, get quality feedback from industry pros, and to refine and deepen our relationships, discovering who are the allies and partners we want to engage with in the journey of bringing Starhawk’s novel to life!
April was truly amazing for us, as we convened for several days of intense strategy meetings in San Francisco. This marked the first time our entire core staff had all been in the same room at one time! We were joined by our ally Joan Haran, a researcher from Cardiff University in the UK who has been shadowing our project in an attempt to analyze and quantify metrics of measurable social change brought about by works of fiction.
We also like to engage in some group fun time when we get the production team together, and Earth Day provided us a great opportunity to catch a little down time in the sun. Starhawk gave a stirring address on the stage in front of City Hall, and sat in on a panel discussion as well. Brandy Mack brought the girls from Hunters Point Family’s Girls 2000 program down to show off some of the work they’ve been doing in the garden there. The program is one that we hope to support with our Green model for production. Of course, many more of our friends and allies were in the house (well, dome actually) and it was a truly classic SF spring frolic!
In May we were very excited to premiere a teaser video about the film, One Act Of Courage, which was narrated by Olympia Dukakis (as Maya Greenwood) and featured all new music and concept art from a slew of our fantastic collaborators including Andrew Jones, Geo Glyphics, Jessica Perlstein, Joshua Penman of Akara, Rena Jones, and The Mediaeval Baebes. We have been truly humbled by the response to the video, which has already amassed well over 30,000 views, and received coverage in Reality Sandwich as well as a host of film, environmental, and pagan blog sites.
Throughout the spring and summer Starhawk was hard at work with screenwriting guru Maggie Soboil, refining the screenplay of The Fifth Sacred Thing, both paring it down and expanding it, refining the character relationships, and generally punching up the excitement. We have been through several (make that many) revisions of the screenplay – but these two amazing ladies hit a home run with their collaboration!! Our entire team is extremely pleased with the new script, and it has really tightened our vision of how to push forward with the production.
Summer is a time for growth, and our Green Projects director Jay Rosenberg spent 9 weeks over the summer supervising our Emerald City Project, overseeing a permaculture and garden program for youth in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood. Projects like this are examples of what we hope our Fifth Sacred Thing Foundation will eventually support. This year’s program saw the construction of a new greenhouse and aquaponics system, with a longer program and more students than last year – and of course a ton of fun and smiles! You can see a video of Ed Donaldson from Hunters Point Family describe the aquaponics system below.
Of course, if permaculture workshops, political activism, spiritual leadership, constant world travel, a huge herd of sheep, and a major movie project aren’t enough for you, your name is probably Starhawk! So of course through all of this year Starhawk has been hard at work on the sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing, tentatively titled City Of Refuge. Yes, I have heard the entire story, yes I am dying to tell you all about it, and no, I am not in the habit of making Witches mad at me – so you are going to have to wait! But trust me – it is epic in the extreme, and I am just as excited that I will soon have a dog-eared and love-worn copy of it on my shelf as you are.
As summer rolled into autumn we launched our Guild program. The Fifth Sacred Thing project is a massive undertaking, going well beyond the film itself, and because we have gotten so many offers of assistance we designed the Guild program to help us bring all our multi-faceted goals for the project to life, while allowing the core production team to remain focused on the development and production of the movie. The program is still ramping up, but our deepest thanks and gratitude go out to all the volunteers who have been giving their time, talent, and assistance to bring our vision to life. If you would like to inquire about joining or leading one of the guilds you can sign up here.
In November I attended the American Film Market in Santa Monica, attending conferences on independent filmmaking and the state of the industry, meeting movers and shakers, engaging with our advisors and LA team members, and of course schmoozing at cocktail parties! It was definitely one of the funnest and busiest weeks of the year for me, and I was able to solidify some important relationships to advance the film project forward, including our new line producer, Cathy Gesualdo, who jumped right into the thick of it – spending the next several weeks acquainting herself with the project and putting together a new shooting schedule and budget for the film.
In December Starhawk and I were back in the car on the way to Los Angeles again for a host of meetings and her annual Solstice Ritual. We had a truly crazy schedule of four plus meetings per day (yes, that is completely nuts in LA) with producers, distributors, lawyers, production companies, special effects houses, and assorted friends and allies.
And now in January, we start the new year with new investors coming online, a new budget, ROI projections and comps ready to go, the revised screenplay, video teaser, and pitch all ready to make our next steps possible. We are grateful for your ongoing support, and look forward to updating you in the next exciting developments for this project.
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WATCH: "One Act of Courage"
New promotional video for The Fifth Sacred Thing film in development, narrated by Olympia Dukakis.
LISTEN: Fifth Sacred Thing Music
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