The Fifth Sacred Thing Movie Project Releases New Video

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 9, 2013 — 15 Comments

In 2011 Starhawk raised over $75,000 dollars through Kickstarter to help fund a pitch-reel in order get a feature film based on her post-apocalyptic 1993 book, “The Fifth Sacred Thing,” made. While several Pagan-initiated crowdfunding campaigns have rivaled that impressive achievement, none have surpassed it. This is most likely due to Starhawk’s unique place in our community as one of a small handful of Pagans who have broken through to a wider audience. During the campaign, Starhawk talked about how she feels like the time is now for a film adaptation of her work.

Starhawk at Occupy Santa Cruz. Photo by Matt Fitt, Santa Cruz IMC.

Starhawk at Occupy Santa Cruz. Photo by Matt Fitt, Santa Cruz IMC.

“I so strongly believe that the world needs a positive vision of the future right now. I can’t think of any movie that projects a positive vision of a future here on earth. How can we create it if we can’t envision it? A friend confessed to me the other day that she and everyone she knows thinks it’s already too late, that we’re past the point of no return. I don’t believe that. I believe that the earth is resilient and creative—and we are agents of that creative force called to reinvent our way of life right now. If we can give people some hope, some direction and some inspiration, it seems worth all the risks and the work!” 

Now that it’s 2013, Starhawk gives an update on the progress of the project, and shares a video designed to convey the story of  “The Fifth Sacred Thing.”

“What it’s not: It’s not a trailer for the movie, in the sense that a trailer is a selection of scenes to build interest for a movie that’s already been made.  We haven’t made it yet—and when we do we still intend to make a live-action, feature film with real actors, not an animation.  But until we get the financing to shoot the film, we can’t put together scenes that don’t yet exist.  So we’ve exercised our creativity to show you a bit of our underlying concept, together with the art and music we have been able to create thanks to the amazing support we’ve already received.  So think of it more as a video calling card, something we can use to introduce the project to investors and potential collaborators.”

The video narration is by actress Olympia Dukakis, who has also agreed to star in the film. A closed captioned version of the video can be found, here.

Considering the pace of pitching and making a movie in Hollywood, they don’t call it “development hell” for nothing, it may be several more years before a film is actually made. Then again, if the production team is able to find backers, and a studio (small or large) expresses interest, things could ramp up rather quickly. The Fifth Sacred Thing website will most likely have ongoing updates.

I think a “Fifth Sacred Thing” film could be a welcome antidote to the bulk of post-apocalyptic films that either depict wastelands, unending horrors, or fascist media-controlled enclaves where teenagers are forced to fight for our amusement. A film that posits a humanity able to change, grow, and build something new together in the face of collapse instead of endlessly tear each other apart seems like an antidote that our culture might be ready for. Here’s hoping!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    I like post apocalyptic/dystopian future movies. I think they do a really good job of showing the average level of humanity, both now and then.

    They do fill me with hope, though. The common feature is a much smaller human population – something the planet desperately needs, if ecological balance is to be restored.

    • I like them too, but I do get a little down that the only non-dystopian sci-fi that I can think off is Star Trek. I love Star Trek, but surely there is some room in sci-fi for something that isn’t doom and isn’t Star Trek. And Fifth Sacred Thing could be arguably have dystopian elements as well because it is set in a near-future that has suffered a global collapse and nuclear war (if memory serves). It just happens to have some positive spin at the end. OK, so Star Trek is still the only sci-fi that portrays a completely positive future based on a constant state of societal improvement.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Fifth Element is not (really) dystopian, neither is Star Wars (although, that was set a really long time ago…)

        I find the Star Trek model to be far less believable than a societal collapse (which I am convinced we will witness before the end of the century, probably sooner.)

      • Meh. In canon, the Federation only began after the survivors of WWIII met up with the Vulcans (and the survivors were none too numerous, after the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s and the nuclear exchange of the early 2000s). So it wasn’t ALL sunshine and happiness.

        • Don’t forget about all the poor being confined in the ‘sanctuary districts’ in the 2020s.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Can see that one happening…

  • Charles Cosimano

    I like cyborgs fighting it out. This sounds just plain boring.

    • Like most movies based on books, the book is better.

  • Luminous_Being

    I do love Ms Dukakis’ voice in this. She once did a spectacular reading of the Charge of the Goddess on Jennifer Berezen’s She Carries Me album.

  • J

    I really hope this film gets made. (To an even greater degree, I hope to one day live in the nascent San Francisco commune. I’ll dutifully take potshots at Southlander convoys from my perch atop Strawberry Hill.)

  • Franklin Evans

    If you haven’t read it yet, some of you might find it as compelling (and worthy of a film adaptation) as I do: The Masters of Solitude by Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin.

    • Chas S. Clifton

      Good book, but the sequel had “sequelitis.”

      • Franklin Evans

        I agree, but more for plot choices than any “breakage” with the first book.
        Kaye recently (December) blogged that the third book is completed and Godwin has submitted it through his agent.

  • Franklin Evans

    It’s been at least five years since I read her novel. Time to reread it.

  • Obsidia

    I love the artwork in the video….any chance this could be made as an animated film?