About this project
The world is experiencing a revolutionary transformation. Change is in the air. Epic change. Are larger forces helping to orchestrate this present moment? And do we each have a unique role to play?
Changing of the Gods: Planetary and Human Revolutions is “the greatest story never told”: a breakthrough feature documentary and work of cinematic art with the power to shift the course of history.
With your help this film could change the direction of our whole planet. Are you ready?
Is today’s crisis a turning point into a new paradigm born of a fundamentally different cosmological vision? Is a powerful transformation of our civilization’s worldview the gateway to our survival and flourishing as a species? What does that emerging worldview look like?
In stylized interviews, we visit with an astonishing circle of wisdom keepers, great visionary activists and scientists of our time. They reflect on the emerging worldview and the arc of history that has brought us to this critical moment.
Using the lens of archetypal astrology, filmmakers Kenny Ausubel and Louie Schwartzberg draw upon the work of cultural historian Richard Tarnas to paint a sweeping visual of revolutions and world-changing transformations in collective consciousness.
The film will feature John Cleese as the on-screen host, narrator and guide. Cleese has a close relationship with Tarnas and the two have taught together. In the late 1960s, he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. Cleese has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films, two Harry Potter films, and the last three Shrek films.
An active social critic, Cleese is a famous, credible and dynamic figure with a vivid grasp of cosmology, history, culture, and mythos. He will contribute to the creation of the script and narration, bringing his decades of motion picture experience to the project. John Cleese adds “marquee” value to the film. His 2014 London reunion with the Monty Python team sold out in 45 seconds and required the addition of multiple sold-out shows. His best-selling autobiography published in 2014 ranks #5 in Amazon’s Biography-Memoir category.
The film will be directed by Louie Schwartzberg, acclaimed director, producer and cinematographer. An award-winning filmmaker whose career spans over 35 years, he is a visual artist breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places. His stunning nature, aerial and slice-of-life imagery has helped transform films by such directors as Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Haggis and Ridley Scott. His latest picture is Mysteries of the Unseen World, produced with National Geographic (2014). His previous film Wings of Life is a feature documentary for Disneynature, narrated by Meryl Streep.
Producer and writer Kenny Ausubel, who originated the project, is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and social entrepreneur. He founded Bioneers, a globally acclaimed nonprofit whose annual conference has featured social and scientific innovators with breakthrough solutions for people and planet since 1990. He brings an exceptional set of relationships with visionary thought leaders who are being interviewed for the film. He brings award-winning filmmaking and writing skills and extensive knowledge of central topics covered in the film. His feature documentary Hoxsey: How Healing Becomes a Crime won the Best Censored Stories award for investigative journalism, played in movie theaters and on HBO, Showtime and international TV. It was shown to members of Congress at the Kennedy Center, reported on NPR. He has written four books including Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature, which won the 2012 top Gold Nautilus Award. He produces and writes the multi-award-winning annual global radio series The Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature. He writes periodically for Huffington Post.
The award-winning filmmakers Bill and Laurie Benenson have worked together for decades. Along with producing many feature films, Bill produced and directed the acclaimed environmental documentary Dirt! The Movie (official Selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 2010 Earth Day special on PBS’ Independent Lens). He produced The Hadza Last of the First in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, which premiered in 2014. He is working on the documentary In the Point Cloud about the search for a lost Pre-Columbian city in Central America, using breakthrough Lidar technology, reported in the New Yorker in 2014.
Richard Tarnas, film Subject and Advisor, author of Cosmos and Psyche on which the movie is based. Tarnas is an acclaimed, bestselling author and professor of philosophy and cultural history at the California Institute of Integral Studies. In 1968, Tarnas entered Harvard and studied Western intellectual and cultural history and depth psychology, graduating with an A.B. cum laude in 1972. For ten years he lived and worked at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, studying with Joseph Campbell, Gregory Bateson, Huston Smith, James Hillman, and Stanislav Grof, and later served as director of programs and education. He also wrote The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View, an acclaimed narrative history of Western thought and archetypes that became a bestseller and continues to be a widely used text in colleges. In 2007-09, John Cleese and Tarnas lectured together in Santa Barbara as well as San Francisco about the importance of regaining a connection to the sacred in the modern world. Cleese and Tarnas then taught a full graduate seminar at the California Institute of Integral Studies on "The Comic Genius: A Multidisciplinary Approach."
Based on the book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View by acclaimed scholar Richard Tarnas, the film will tell the Story of Now by focusing on today’s “world transit” of Uranus and Pluto (2007-2020), the archetypal picture for “revolutionary transformation.” Each time this planetary picture has recurred, a zeitgeist has manifested on Earth in concentrated periods of revolution, paradigm shifts, breakdown and breakthrough that have irrevocably changed the course of the world on mass scales.
We paint a sweeping visual and transformational hero’s journey across historical cycles of revolution and world-changing transformations in mass consciousness and behavior that deliver us into “the fierce urgency of now.” Richard Tarnas shares his personal journey into archetypal astrology, world transits and the reconciliation of worldviews. We visit with a remarkable cast who illuminate the arc of history that has brought us to this fateful crossroads and the emerging worldview that can help us navigate through this evolutionary keyhole into a thriving world.
The film is conceived as a transformational work of art. Guided by our director and acclaimed artist of motion pictures Louie Schwartzberg, we deploy state-of-the-art NASA photography of the planets, interwoven with rich artistic representations of planetary archetypes including imagery, artworks and animation. We bring to life cyclical epochs of revolution with compelling archival footage, photographs, art, symbols and musical soundscapes.
The film is a journey into a new understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. It’s an inspiring call to action to shift our consciousness and behavior on a mass scale at this decisive fork in the road where everything is at stake and everything is up for grabs.
We bring to life the topography of the emerging worldview of an animate cosmos, unfolding a new story about who we are and who we can become. The evidence is startling, provocative and profoundly hopeful.
The film will inspire audiences to embrace this contemporary moment of revolution and transformation with a newly emergent worldview. It will affirm the interconnection of all life and the agency each of us has to create a life-affirming future. There is as much cause for hope as for horror.
The Big Idea: World Transits
When certain planetary alignments occur, on Earth there is a corresponding large-scale shift in human consciousness and collective behavior, expressed in the language of universal archetypes. These archetypes are associated with the planets by empirical astrological tradition and they appear as universal myths and symbols across all cultures, as well as in depth psychology. These “world transits” show a characteristic zeitgeist that progresses in historical cycles, each building on the arc of previous ones. During these cycles, distinct clusters of archetypally coherent events occur, along with people, leaders and cultural trends strongly displaying those qualities.
The Big Idea Right Now: Uranus-Pluto Archetypes of Revolution and Transformation
From 2007 through 2020, a world transit by the planets Uranus and Pluto affecting all people on Earth corresponds with precise historical cycles of revolutionary transformation. The last time this world transit occurred was 1960-1972: the famous revolutionary period of the ‘60’s.
Each time this Uranus-Pluto picture recurs, specific predictable themes arise:
• Our understanding of our relationship to nature and the cosmos • Scientific and technological breakthroughs and paradigm shifts • Radical social thought and political revolutions • Our relationship to race and the “other” • Women’s rights and feminism • Youth movements • Erotic liberation • Extreme violence • Seismic demographic shifts • The rise and fall of dynasties, nations and civilizations.
Sound exactly like what’s happening today?
The Really Big Idea: A Cosmos Saturated with Consciousness
If these planetary pictures coincide with archetypal shifts in human affairs, it suggests that the cosmos is saturated not just with intelligence, but also with consciousness. That consciousness speaks in an archetypal language intelligible to people.
The iconic 20th century psychologist Carl Jung defined archetypes as the fundamental governing principles of the human psyche held universally in the “collective unconscious.” They are “self-portraits” of the instincts and render human experience meaningful according to certain timeless universal patterns or forms.
After studying and using astrology for over 30 years, Jung ultimately concluded that archetypes supersede a solely human “collective unconscious.” He believed they are embedded in a collective unconscious inherent in the cosmos itself.
This archetypal consciousness appears to be highly participatory by nature, a co-creative dance. The more we can be aware of these archetypal and unconscious forces, the less we become the object of them, and the more we can work with them. Our lives are not fate, but choice. Just as each of us has a unique birth chart, we each have a unique role to play in the cosmic dance. And we are invited to the party! In fact, you are needed.
By participating with this project you are supporting the emergence of a new paradigm, and a new way of experiencing reality. Thank you for joining us in this adventure.
Where the Funding Goes & Timeline
The funding will go directly toward completing production and editing the movie. We have raised significant independent funding which has allowed us to complete pre-production and begin production. We have filmed seven of the interviews so far, with five more scheduled by early November 2015. We do our first of two major shoots with John Cleese in September in California. We are beginning major archival footage and imagery research in October 2015, a big job. We expect to begin editing in early 2016 and to create the many special effects and animation. We will do one further shoot with Cleese in late 2016 or early 2017, including the final narration. We are aiming to release the movie in mid- to late 2017.
Kickstarter Video Credits:
Directed by: Max DeArmon
Edited by: Brett Mazurek
Cinematography by: Louie Schwartzberg
Sound Mix by: Adam Muñoz @ Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA
Risks and challenges
One challenge is that the film is very complex, including a large amount of archival research and footage. It will require a great deal of editing, research and time. There will be difficult choices around costs for licensing images and footage. Inevitably this type of complex process can lead to delays and higher costs resulting from needing more time for key personnel such as the editor and researcher(s), and/or to negotiate and acquire essential images and footage.
Another challenge is that special effects, CGI and animation can quickly become very expensive. The process requires both strict cost control and resourceful means to find alternative ways to deliver the quality and intent. The Director is highly experienced and skilled in this area and he has consistently delivered his projects on or under budget.
An additional potential budgetary challenge is around costs for music and music licensing. It is unlikely we can afford the exorbitant costs of licensing well-known music, which requires that we find alternative means to evoke that music. All this will require an excellent composer and/or music supervisor, which can be expensive because music and sound will be very important to the quality of the film. However, we have many connections in this area, and because of the film’s creative catnip that the music and sound offer to inspired musicians, we believe we will be able to attract top-quality talent at affordable costs.
A risk is that creative differences can arise among the key creative team. In our case, the key creative collaborators have known each other for a long time and worked together in various capacities, a significant mitigating factor. The project has a clear protocol and agreement about decision-making if such differences arise. Additionally, the team is universally dedicated to the vision and mission of the project, which can help transcends anyone’s ego.
A standard risk is “force majeure” as unforeseeable technical mishaps or health issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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