I met with the last Hopi traditionalist elder Martin Gashwaseoma at his home high atop the mesas of northeast Arizona in 2008. After several hours of having the Hopi prophesy explained, I asked if Martin would like to do an interview. He declined, saying that people had already come and filmed what he knew. He told me that I would need to find some other elders to speak to.
For the next 4 years I drove around with a couple friends on and off, filming interviews with all of the ‘elders’ that I could find; scientists, back-to-the-landers, historians, indigenous leaders, anarchists, inventors. I wanted to know the truth about our technological civilization, because it seemed that at the heart of our many societal and ecological problems was a profound crisis within us… a fundamental problem with our worldview, our way of life.
Fall and Winter is my attempt to synthesize numerous voices into a collective history of mankind’s will to dominate nature, and the hydra-head of crises this had produced. I hope to have created a film faithful to the message that the Hopi so passionately attempted to deliver to us since the detonation of the first atomic bomb. When this message was finally delivered to an empty UN floor in the 1990’s - 50 years from their initial attempt - it was still well before the realities of climate change was on people’s minds.
We desperately need to understand the scope of what is happening. I believe what we call ‘climate change’ - including the science that confirms it - has yet to reach the understanding held by a few ancient cultures scattered across the planet. People who speak of being the survivors of nature’s previous response to our attempts at domination. Regardless of how we interpret this information, it is in our interest to listen and learn from people who have constructed a way of life that has survived in balance with nature for time immemorial.
In the time since Fall and Winter’s release, I can say that the messages it contains have only mounted in relevance and urgency. This has pushed our decision to make the film available for free. I hope that Fall and Winter moves you, that it engages you, and offers a perspective that challenges the narrative of ‘progress’.
It is my hope that Fall and Winter helps us to better understand the mistakes we have made, including the lies that have perpetuated our increasingly incompatible way of life. It is time we consider the wisdom of perspectives outside the walls of our industrial civilization. Now is the time to be critical of your situation, to find your community, to discover alternate paths.
As Michael Reynolds says in the film: “Avoid the path that this world is presenting you… avoid it like the plague. Get some disinfectant and wash your mind from the virus that you have had put into you. Educate yourself in the phenomena of the planet, and how they can take care of you, and go in that direction.”
Happy Solstice and good luck!