Pagan Film Rising: Dark of Moon, Flamingos, and The Spirit of Albion

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 2, 2012 — 8 Comments

In my recent round-up of 2011′s top stories there were many topics I wanted to cover, that I thought were important, but couldn’t include for the sake of brevity. One of those stories was the rise of independent Pagan filmmakers in 2011, a phenomenon that Pagan media critic Peg Aloi mentions in her own round-up of 2011.

Indie Pagan Cinema makes its mark. From the ambitious music-based SPIRIT OF ALBION (with songs by Damh the Bard) to the spooky, blood-soaked, folklore-laden horror flick CALL OF THE HUNTER, there’ve been a lot of great attempts to bring paganism into the theatres. There is also AMERICAN MYSTIC, a fascinating documentary by Alex Mar (interviewed here by Jason Pitzl-Waters) about alternative spirituality which profiles an African-American Spiritualist, a Native American Sundancer, and a Caucasian Wiccan priestess.”

Perhaps the highest profile Pagan-produced film might be the still-in-pitch-phase adaptation of Starhawk’s novel “The Fifth Sacred Thing,” a project that managed to raise over $75,000 in small donations from supporters. At the kick-off of that fundraiser I noted the growing number of movies produced and directed by Pagans and occultists.

“Films made by and for modern Pagans is a newly emerging phenomenon. Recently, film projects like “Our Pagan Heart,” “Dark of Moon,” “Tarology,” “The Spirit of Albion,” and the recently completed “To Dream of Falling Upwards” have woven explicit Pagan and occult themes into visual storytelling. Considering the popularity of Starhawk’s novel, this may be the biggest project of its kind to ever be undertaken. We’ll keep you posted as things develop on this project.”

Now, at the beginning of 2012, there are three projects, out now, or being released soon, that we’ll get to consider as we look at the growth of indie Pagan and occult film-making. First, Taliesin Govannon’s “Dark of Moon,” which was released on DVD at the beginning of December. Govannon describes “Dark of Moon” as film “about friends, lovers, and choices. It’s also filled with Pagans.”

Next up, scheduled for its premier in February, is Antero Alli’s “Flamingos.” An “outlaw romance noir” that features “two enigmatic entities from the Bardo interzones” who “take interest in” the fates of the main characters.

Alli, a prolific indie director, released the well-received Thelemic-themed occult comic drama “To Dream of Falling Upwards” in 2011 (and which I was supposed to review, but it somehow kept getting pushed aside, a condition I’ll try to correct soon). Finally, we have a trailer for “The Spirit of Albion,” due out on DVD in May.

“The Spirit of Albion” is an adaptation of a stage play, and is built around the music of Damh the Bard.

The question isn’t when there will be an oeuvre of independent “Pagan” of “occult” films made or overseen by practitioners, as it is happening now, as we speak. The real question is will these film resonate with our interconnected communities, and will these directors, producers, and performers, find enough support to continue doing this work? If, like Starhawk’s planned film, we are willing to support these efforts, we could see a real flowering of films that speak our language, understand our concerns, and reflect our struggles. A healthy culture needs vibrant artists to help shape our sense of ourselves and our values, and while the budgets may be small, these films seem to be moving us in the right direction.

Send to Kindle

Jason Pitzl-Waters

Posts

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543961321 Peg Aloi

    Great piece, Jason! I too look forward to watching the Starhawk project unfold as there seems to be an attempt to blend indie and studio filmmaking there, at least in theory.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the shout-out! And in the end, what you said in the final paragraph is true… Pagan film-makers need the support of the Pagan community. We can’t keep doing this if the community doesn’t pitch in and keep everything afloat. While I plan on marketing “Dark of Moon” to a crossover audience, I won’t have the resources to advertise to non-Pagans if the Pagans don’t support the work.

    Want studio films to have realistic Pagan characters and content? If we can show that these films are viable commercial ventures on the small scale, then studios will follow suit. Studios are risk-averse… they’ll only “do the right thing” if they think that it won’t be a financial disaster.

    How many people here watched that dreadful Nick Cage remake of “The Wicker Man”? If even a quarter of those Pagans support my film, I’ll be able to keep making Pagan and Pagan-positive films for years to come.

  • Rhuddlwm Gawr

    Congratulations Pagan Community!! I am impressed. I knew Taliesin was making a film. But I was unaware of the others. As they are released, we will announce them to our study group contacts in all fifty states, to our meet-up groups, Facebook Pages and Newsletter Mailing list. And they will tell others who will tell others etc……

  • Zan Fraser

    Hey Taliesin- let me reaffirm my offer from before, on the Juggler: you know, both John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus and A Chorus Line (for instance) were improv-oriented: if you decided you wanted to follow “Dark of Moon” up with an improv-driven flick about Pagans producing a Pagan Ritual (in many ways, is it not, the Quintessential Modern Pagan Experience?), NYC has to offer (1) a potential film-space in the NYC Pagan Community Center operated by Lady Rhea (green-light this, Big Guy, I can hook this up), and (2) Pagan Actors. You want a film about Pagan Life in NYC? We can make this happen.

  • Keith Campbell

    The trailer at the Our Pagan Heart link seems to be unavailable due to privacy settings on Youtube.

  • Anonymous

    So far, 2 Hollywood people have looked at my “Born Again Pagans” script (which got its start right here in the WH comment threads), and they’ve both said it was hilarious…and could probably do quite well…but it’s not for them.

    So…if anyone wants to have a go at a “Judd Apatow-esque” comedy about 2 stoners who find a loophole in the Alabama “Church-Instead-of-Jail-Time” law by joining a Wiccan coven and pretending to be Wiccans…let me know. I’d film it myself, but I am entirely too busy at the moment.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Film makers, please send press releases to Magickal Media… we’ve got over a thousand readers per week, and a media page for film clips and sound files. We’d love to hear from you!

  • http://blog.chasclifton.com/ Chas Clifton

    OK, you have convinced me to order the DVD of “Dark of Moon.”

    I took a stage-movement workshop with Antero Alli years ago. It was … pretty strange. I suppose that for him, “enigmatic entities from the Bardo interzones,” is fairly mainstream. ;)