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New film about Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach, and the connection between physics, opera, and human imagination.
New film about Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach, and the connection between physics, opera, and human imagination.
1,175 backers pledged $106,429 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

THE EARTH MOVES. A documentary about Einstein on the Beach. project video thumbnail
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$106,429

1,175

“He invited me down to see different parts of [The Earth Moves], and I have to say, he is an extraordinarily good filmmaker,” Glass said. A look at the trailer for the film...shows that Walter has indeed done his homework. - The New Yorker
“He invited me down to see different parts of [The Earth Moves], and I have to say, he is an extraordinarily good filmmaker,” Glass said. A look at the trailer for the film...shows that Walter has indeed done his homework. - The New Yorker

Click here to read the full New Yorker article! 

Take a look at our trailer for The Earth Moves.

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An update in the homestretch.

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Hi, my name is John Walter and I am the director of The Earth Moves.

My team and I have been making this film for several years. Now, with festival deadlines fast approaching, we urgently need your support to finish it. So, please join us as partners and help us get this film out of the editing room and into the world.

HOW IT STARTED––THE OPERA

Iconic, groundbreaking, game changing, genre defying––these are just a few phrases used to describe Einstein on the Beach, a rarely performed avant-garde opera created by composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson. Called an "opera" because no other term comes close, the four and a half hour work breaks all of the rules of conventional opera and abandons narrative and traditional orchestral arrangements. Through Einstein on the Beach, Glass and Wilson reshaped the old and classical form of opera into something completely new.

Over the last 35 years, four productions of Einstein on the Beach have toured across the globe from New York and Tokyo to Paris and Melbourne. The work was revolutionary when it was first performed and is now considered one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century.

Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. New York, 1975 © Richard Landry
Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. New York, 1975 © Richard Landry
Einstein on the Beach. Act 4, scene 3. Bed © Babette Mangolte
Einstein on the Beach. Act 4, scene 3. Bed © Babette Mangolte
Albert Einstein on Long Island, 1939.
Albert Einstein on Long Island, 1939.

THE FILM

The Earth Moves travels through nearly four decades of Einstein on the Beach performances, culminating in its final 2012 world tour. Our goal for this documentary was to celebrate Glass and Wilson’s revolutionary interpretation of the formal structure of opera as well as show the context and artistic impact of this work.

Philip Glass with Richard Serra at MOCA in Los Angeles, 1999 photo: Felsen, Sidney B.
Philip Glass with Richard Serra at MOCA in Los Angeles, 1999 photo: Felsen, Sidney B.
 
With extraordinary access, we were able to interview all the principal Einstein on the Beach collaborators who helped to unearth and explain the subtle mysteries of the opera. The collaborators offer a broad spectrum of intellectual and artistic genius ranging in expertise: from visual arts, poetry, and dance to classical composition and modern physics.

Robert Wilson demonstrates the how to hold a briefcase, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1984
Robert Wilson demonstrates the how to hold a briefcase, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1984

Like Einstein on the Beach, The Earth Moves offers us a lens for viewing the creative process in both art and science. As such, the film has four-act structure, and each act serves as a frame of reference to explore the opera from a different perspective.

The film outlines new connections between the artistic and the creative community, between artistic expression and scientific exploration.

Einstein on the Beach dancers, 2012.
Einstein on the Beach dancers, 2012.

THE PLAYERS

PHILIP GLASS

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his collaborations with artists ranging from Martin Scorsese to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Glass has left an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

Regarded by the New York Times as “the most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers,” Glass has established himself as a supremely innovative and captivating force in the music world. His growing catalogue includes 25 operas, 10 symphonies, and 30 film scores.

"The Philip Glass Ensemble (an early line-up featuring composer Steve Reich) performs at the Whitney Museum in 1969.
"The Philip Glass Ensemble (an early line-up featuring composer Steve Reich) performs at the Whitney Museum in 1969.

ROBERT WILSON

Since the late 1960s, Robert Wilson's productions have decisively shaped the world of theater and opera. Through his signature use of light, his investigations into the structure of a simple movement, and the classical rigor of his scenic and furniture design, Wilson has continuously articulated the force and originality of his vision. Wilson's close ties and collaborations with leading artists, writers, and musicians continue to fascinate audiences worldwide.

Wilson and Glass (those are Glass' feet) when they were collaborating on EOB. ca. 1975. © Betty Freeman.
Wilson and Glass (those are Glass' feet) when they were collaborating on EOB. ca. 1975. © Betty Freeman.
In addition to Einstein, Glass, and Wilson, the subjects of The Earth Moves are notable artists, writers, and actors.

Those interviewed include: Lucinda Childs, Richard Serra, Laurie Anderson, members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Christopher Knowles, Wayne Koestenbaum, John Rockwell, physicist Lee Smolin, and key cast and crew members of the opera’s most recent production. And many more.

Robert Wilson, Christopher Knowles, and Lucinda Childs sit on a bench at the Whitney Museum. © Richard Landry
Robert Wilson, Christopher Knowles, and Lucinda Childs sit on a bench at the Whitney Museum. © Richard Landry
Lucinda Childs performs in "Trial/Prison", 1976 production of Einstein on the Beach. © Babette Mangolte
Lucinda Childs performs in "Trial/Prison", 1976 production of Einstein on the Beach. © Babette Mangolte
Einstein on the Beach rehearsal, 1976. ©  Babette Mangolte
Einstein on the Beach rehearsal, 1976. © Babette Mangolte

OUR GOAL

In 2011, the original creators of Einstein on the Beach brought the opera to life again for what will most likely be its last presentation in their lifetime. Einstein on the Beach is an opera like no other. Telling its story requires a documentary like no other.

We completed shooting and editing The Earth Moves and we are all working very hard to finish the film for upcoming film festivals this fall. Now we need your support to fulfill the costs of color correction, media licensing, and sound mixing. Time is of the essence and every contribution helps our mission to complete this film.

Any additional support beyond the goal will go towards expanding the distribution of the film through educational markets and independent theaters nationally.

Einstein on the Beach rehearsal, 1976.  ©  Babette Mangolte
Einstein on the Beach rehearsal, 1976. © Babette Mangolte
Einstein on the Beach, "Train" 2012.
Einstein on the Beach, "Train" 2012.

WHY KICKSTARTER

The Earth Moves is an independent film about independent thinkers. Kickstarter helps us to reach a global community of scientists, Einstein scholars, opera and modern music enthusiasts, artists, cultural historians, and many more. We want to share this experience with a community of people who care about the project and want to see it brought to life.

In addition, this Kickstarter will help bring Einstein on the Beach to a contemporary audience. Glass and Wilson are celebrated as artists, but younger generations have not had an opportunity to experience Einstein on the Beach. Our goal is to bring attention to this important work which laid the groundwork for their artistic careers.

We hope you are as passionate about this film as we are. Any kind of support will go a long way.



Einstein on the Beach Venice Opera House, 1976 ©  Richard Landry
Einstein on the Beach Venice Opera House, 1976 © Richard Landry
             

THE REWARDS

$10,000: For the collector: The first page of the Einstein on the Beach score, handwritten by Philip Glass.
$150: An iconic Kickstarter exclusive poster, designed by Richard Landry and only available during this campaign. 
 
$150: A signed copy of Philip Glass' new memoir, "Words Without Music" with Glass' signature on the inside cover and a personalized message from him.

$250: 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Chuck Close's Philip Glass portrait.

$350: Out-of-print Chuck Close Philip Glass portrait, Whitney Biennial Gap t-shirt.

$500: In honor of the characters wearing Chuck Taylor's in Einstein on the Beach: limited edition Chucks signed by Glass and Wilson.

$1,500: Einstein on the Beach viewmaster from the Brooklyn Academy of Music's archive.

WHO WE ARE

 

JOHN WALTER 

I am a director and editor based in New York City. My first feature-length documentary How To Draw A Bunny about the artist Ray Johnson won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Documentary. 

In 2008, I directed and edited Theater Of War, a film about Bertolt Brecht, which the New York Times called “Inspired, inspiring”. I have also directed projects for Comedy Central, the Independent Film Channel, the Sundance Channel, PBS, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In addition, I have edited several critically acclaimed documentaries including Amir Bar-Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That (2007) and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story (2009). Most recently, I edited Ry Russo Young’s narrative feature Nobody Walks, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

MR. MUDD PRODUCTIONS

Mr. Mudd Productions was founded by award-winning producers Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, and Russell Smith. Past productions include the Oscar-nominated Juno, Perks of Being a Wallflower, How to Draw a Bunny, and the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary Which Way Home.

BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has been presenting cutting edge contemporary art, theater, opera, dance and music longer than any other cultural institution in the United States. In 1984 it presented the historic production of Einstein on the Beach as part of the Next Wave Festival and brought the Pomegranate Arts production in 2012 for its 150th anniversary. Due to its regard as a preeminent cultural institution, BAM’s programs have had a major impact on the arts in New York City and beyond.

ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant–making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.

VANN ALEXANDRA

Vann Alexandra is a creative services agency that gets projects financed through crowdfunding with a 100% success rate. The company’s founder has been dubbed the “Crowdsourceress.” Clients include Neil Young, Oscar-winning and Emmy-nominated filmmakers, citizen investigative journalist Brown Moses, New York Times bestselling authors, Pentagram designers, and best-selling girl group of all time, TLC.

Photos courtesy:

© Richard Landry

© Bob Fiore

© Beate Nilson

© Babette Mangolte

© Leo Baeck

Philip Glass Ensemble at the Guggenheim, 1970.  ©  Richard Landry
Philip Glass Ensemble at the Guggenheim, 1970. © Richard Landry
Einstein on the Beach, "Trial: Prison" 2012.
Einstein on the Beach, "Trial: Prison" 2012.
Sheryl Sutton and Lucinda Childs rehearse Knee Play 4, 1976.  ©  Richard Landry
Sheryl Sutton and Lucinda Childs rehearse Knee Play 4, 1976. © Richard Landry
Sheryl Sutton and Lucinda Childs rehearse Knee Play 4, 1976. ©  Richard Landry
Sheryl Sutton and Lucinda Childs rehearse Knee Play 4, 1976. © Richard Landry
Einstein on the Beach, "Wrench" 2012.
Einstein on the Beach, "Wrench" 2012.
Philip Glass off the set of Einstein on the Beach with friend Bruce Nauman in 1970 ©  Richard Landry
Philip Glass off the set of Einstein on the Beach with friend Bruce Nauman in 1970 © Richard Landry
Einstein on the Beach violinist, 2012.
Einstein on the Beach violinist, 2012.

Risks and challenges

Our biggest risk is that this film will not be funded and we will not be able to premiere at film festivals in Fall 2015.

Logistically speaking, if the campaign is funded, the only delays we foresee are the delivery of physical rewards and the availability of digital delivery per the terms of the agreement with our distributor.

All delivery dates are estimates and subject to change at any time.

That said, all non-film related rewards should be fulfilled by January 2016, or possibly before that time.

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    ACCESS

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    MY (JOHN WALTER'S) LIFE/ART NOTECARDS

    Receive a PDF of the Life/Art notecards I placed around my cutting room while editing The Earth Moves. + The above.

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    MALKOVICH’S MOVIE MEAL

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    JOHN WALTER'S EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH SYLLABUS

    Get a digital list of research material, photos and inspiration behind The Earth Moves documentary from director, John Walter. + All digital rewards above.

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    THE EARTH MOVES PLAYBILL

    Receive a digital playbill that dives into the world of Einstein on the Beach and of our film. Complete with archival photos, interviews, and press clippings for past productions of Einstein on the Beach. + All the above.

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    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE EARTH MOVES

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    SCANNED FIRST PAGE OF THE EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH SCORE

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    LIMITED EDITION EARTH MOVES TEE

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    COPY OF EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH SOUNDTRACK AND DVD

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    COPY OF EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH SOUNDTRACK AND DVD

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    MONSTERS OF GRACE COMPLETE CD

    Receive a CD of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s third opera, “Monsters of Grace.” + All digital rewards above.

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    LIMITED EDITION BEACH TOWEL AND TOTE

    Receive a limited edition Einstein on the Beach (beach) towel and The Earth Moves tote. Both available only during this campaign. + All digital rewards above.

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    PHILIP GLASS AND ROBERT WILSON DUET​

    Receive a CD set complete with two of Philip Glass and Robert Wilsons operas (Einstein on the Beach and Monsters of Grace) and one copy of the Einstein on the Beach CD/DVD set which includes "The Changing Image of Opera." ​+ All digital rewards above.

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    SIGNED COPY OF PHILIP GLASS' MEMOIR

    Receive a copy of Words Without Music signed by Philip Glass. Includes a personalized greeting from Glass. + All digital rewards above.

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    SIGNED BEING JOHN MALKOVICH POSTER

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    ICONIC KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE POSTER

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    GET AN EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH STAR (IN SPACE!)

    Have a star in the official Einstein on the Beach star cluster named after you or someone you love. The star will forever burn brightly alongside stars named after Robert Wilson and Philip Glass. + All digital rewards above.

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    ALBERT EINSTEIN SUPER PACK

    You’ll receive a collection of work exploring the life and work of Albert Einstein that inspired Wilson and Glass during the creation of Einstein on the Beach.

    Here is a list of books and DVDs included in the Einstein Super Pack:

    - Einstein. The Life and Times
    (same biography read by Philip Glass while working on Einstein on the Beach).

    - Relativity- The Special and General Theory.

    - The Universe and Dr. Einstein.

    - On the Beach by Nevil Shute.

    - America’s Atomic Bomb Tests
    (3 set DVD pack).

    - One Einstein plush doll.

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    ROBERT WILSON SUPER PACK

    You’ll receive a collection of work exploring the life and work of Robert Wilson.

    Here is a list of media included in the Robert Wilson Super Pack:

    - The Theater of Images,
    an exploration of the revolutionary work by Wilson

    - CD copy of The Forest,
    Wilson’s 1988 opera with music from Talking Heads’ David Byrne.

    - Robert Wilson’s Vision by Trevor Fairbrother

    - A copy of Teatro alla Scala’s production of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse In Patria, an opera in a prologue and five acts set by Claudio Monteverdi and directed by Robert Wilson.

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    PHILIP GLASS SUPER PACK

    You’ll receive a collection of work exploring the influence of Philip Glass on minimalist
    music and culture in the New York avant-garde art scene.

    Here is a list of media included in the Philip Glass Super Pack:

    - Issue 79 of the Fader featuring Philip Glass

    - Four Musical Minimalists by Keith Potter

    - Experimentalism Otherwise- The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits by Benjamin Piekut

    - Playbill from the 1976 Einstein on the Beach performance.

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    PHILIP GLASS JIGSAW PUZZLE

    Receive a limited edition jigsaw 1,000 piece puzzle of Chuck Close's portrait of Philip Glass. Available only during this campaign. + All digital rewards above.

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    TWO TICKETS TO A SCREENING OF THE EARTH MOVES

    Receive two tickets to an exclusive screening of The Earth Moves in New York City. Travel and accommodations not included. + All digital rewards above.

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    CHUCK CLOSE GAP T-SHIRT

    Receive one of the last remaining Chuck Close's Philip Glass t-shirt for the GAP's Whitney Biennial Artist Edition Collection. + All digital rewards above.

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    SIGNED CHUCK TAYLORS

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    PAIR OF TICKETS TO THE ANNUAL TIBET HOUSE US BENEFIT CONCERT

    Receive two tickets (with exclusive rehearsal access!) to the Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert, hosted by Philip Glass at Carnegie Hall in early 2016. Past performers include Patti Smith and The Flaming Lips. Travel and accommodations not included. + All digital rewards above.

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    BAM TICKETS AND BACKSTAGE TOUR

    Receive a pair of tickets for Executive Producer seats to a BAM Next Wave show of your choice. The show will be followed by a backstage tour with BAM's Director of Production, Neil Kutner. BAM swag included. Travel and accommodations not included.

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    PAIR OF SEASON PASSES (WITH BACKSTAGE ACCESS!) TO PHILIP GLASS'S DAYS & NIGHTS FESTIVAL

    Receive a pair of season passes (with backstage access!) to Philip Glass's Days and Nights Festival this September 24th-27th in Big Sur, CA. Travel and accommodations not included. + All digital rewards above.

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    DOG AND PONY SHOW IN THE CUTTING ROOM.

    By selecting this reward, you are opting in to a Dog and Pony Show in my (John Walter's) Cutting Room. I will show the film, explain my inspiration, and give you a tour of my extensive Einstein library. Travel and accommodations are not included. + All digital rewards above.

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    YOUR SCRIPT CRITIQUED BY THE MAKERS OF THE EARTH MOVES

    A member of the Mr. Mudd team will critique your script. Plus, receive a personal critique from a producer of The Earth Moves. + All digital rewards above.

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    BAM EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH VIEWMASTER

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    DINNER WITH THE FILMMAKERS OF THE EARTH MOVES

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    FIRST PAGE OF EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH

    Receive the first page of the Einstein on the Beach score, handwritten by Philip Glass. Only 2 available in the world––1 of which is being offered here, exclusively on Kickstarter. + All digital rewards above.

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Funding period

- (31 days)