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By Lee Sullivan
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About this project

What do the ninety-two artificial islands of Nan Madol, Micronesia, the colossal African warrior heads at La Venta, Mexico, the giant basalt spheres at Palmar Sur, Costa Rica, the magnetic stelas inscribed with GPS-accurate maps at Sitio Barriles, Panama, and the radioactive Ark of the Covenant in Axum, Ethiopia have in common? Why are remnants of stone pyramids and ziggurats present in every corner of the world? Are world trade and globalization recent phenomena, or were they around during what we consider to be the fairly primitive Bronze Age? 

Join History Channel star David Childress of Ancient Aliens on a megalithic tour of Micronesia, Mesoamerica and Ethiopia as he makes unexpected connections between seemingly disparate ancient cultures across the globe. This will be a journey of re-discovering the ancient world-wide network of commerce, cultural exchange, and high technology run by a mysterious cosmopolitan race, who display varied characteristics such as African and Chinese. 

In Mesoamerica, they were known as the Olmecs. We visited their ancient sites in Mexico and came upon something unexpected in Volcan, Chiriqui province in Panama: the statue of a Chinese priest carried on the shoulders of an African warrior. When we consulted David about the origin of the statue, he recognized it as unmistakably Olmec. Then we looked around the site, located on a small privately owned property and the findings there were incredible... magnetically charged stones, maps with GPS-accurate coordinates... where is this journey taking us? We noticed that the nearby town, David, had a Jewish name. And then looked into the local legends of a thunder god who the natives claim spoke to them through a golden box at the top of the mountain. Could this be the Ark of the Covenant? According to Dr. Scott Palumbo (College of Lake County), a cave in Volcan, Chiriqui, located in the territory of the present-day Republic of Panama is precisely where the Ark was hidden after it was "smuggled to Mesoamerica by Malkiah using the Phoenicians". 

Here is a preview of the ancient Olmec sacred site in Volcan, El Sitio Barriles: 

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Stay tuned for updates throughout the campaign featuring Dr Scott Palumbo, David Childress, and of course, our heroes - the Olmecs. 

HELP US GO TO ETHIOPIA AND FINISH: 

This documentary has been in production since February 2014. We already completed the Micronesia and Central America parts of the shoot. The contributions from this campaign will offset the production costs, including the expedition to Africa in the fall of 2014, as well as post-production. 

ABOUT THE TEAM:

Lee Sullivan - Creator, Producer, Director - LesLee Productions

Lee Sullivan is an accomplished actor, musician, researcher and educator, and has impacted many lives as a transformational force empowering individuals through his teaching which encourages inner directed thinking in decision making processes. Lee’s universal interests, curiosity, and ability to inspire learning in others have been his hallmark. Lee demonstrated leadership as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, a fundraising entrepereneur to establish fresh water wells in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a coordinator in local youth programs. Lee has earned an A.A. degree, a B.A. degree at California State University, and a Juris Doctorate from Northern California University Law School. He is highly motivated and academically prepared to continue his contributions through journalistic cinematography. 

Lee and his wife Leslie Shade-Sullivan are working on this project that with History Channel star David Childress shed light on the little known but historically important Olmec culture,  the “Mother Culture” of Mesoamerica. LesLee Productions is also involved in another project, “Ushering In The Dream”, aimed to illuminate the life of Arthur A. Fletcher who brought Martin Luther’s Dream to practical reality. This little known hero, a Black Politician serving under four Republican Presidents, singlehandedly bit the teeth into Affirmative Action polices which resulted in the work stoppages at SeaTac and O’Hare Airports and the Philadelphia docks that ultimately resulted in the more vibrant Black middle class that we know today. LesLee Productions is committed to producing important illuminating documentaries of this nature that will live up to their mission to produce “Films of Distinction”.

David Hatcher Childress - Adventurer, Author, World Explorer

David Hatcher Childress, known as the real-life Indiana Jones to the many fans of his books, is a captivating speaker and the author or coauthor of over 20 books. He has traveled the world several times over, seeking adventure and the answers to the mysteries of mankind’s past.

David has a wide scope of interests, and is a recognized expert not only on ancient civilizations and technology, but also on free energy, anti-gravity and UFOs. His books on these subjects include: The Anti-Gravity Handbook; Anti-Gravity & the World Grid; Anti-Gravity and the Unified Field; Extraterrestrial Archeology; Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India & Atlantis; A Hitchhikers Guide To Armageddon The Free-Energy Device Handbook, Man-Made UFOs, The Time Travel Handbook, Atlantis & the Power System of the Gods and others. His latest efforts are Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet, and The Mystery of the Olmecs.

After more than 30 years of investigating these arcane subjects, David finds his unique views and ideas gaining popularity. He has appeared on Fox-TV’s Sightings and Encounters, two NBC-TV specials, The Conspiracy Zone, and segments for the Discovery Channel, A&E, The Sci-Fi Channel, The History Channel, The Travel Channel and others. He is currently a co-star on the History Channel Show Ancient Aliens. This popular show is now in its seventh season and David journeys to Peru, Bolivia and Mexico for this season. David also appeared in the Canadian television show Weird of What?, hosted by William Shatner, in its 2011-2012 season. He is also a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio shows. He continues to explore, write and excite people about discovery through his magazine, World Explorer, and his publishing company, Adventures Unlimited Press. When not traveling, he divides his time between his homes in Illinois and Arizona and an apartment in London.

Iskra Valtcheva - Director of Photography - IMDb

Photo by Kayla Arend
Photo by Kayla Arend

Iskra Valtcheva is a versatile cinematographer with a unique perspective on visual storytelling, and excellent work ethic. Her cinematography credits include award-winning projects that have screened or are about to screen on HBO (Southern Rites, dir. Gillian Laub), PBS (Tattooed Under Fire, dir. Nancy Schiesari), the Sundance Channel (Kids Green the World, dir. Amy Grappell), and at numerous festivals worldwide including Cannes and SXSW (Love, Sadie, dir. Naiti Gámez). The short Fatakra, dir. Soham Mehta, won the 2011 Student Academy Award, and Red Wednesday, dir. Nazanin Shirazi, was a 2008 AMPAS nominee. 

Iskra has quite the world traveler mileage under her belt. She has shot on location in Zambia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and most recently - along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, where she lensed another successfully funded Kickstarter project, The Walk to Fisterra, dir. Tristan Cook, while walking the 800km pilgrimage. 

Iskra holds a B.A. in Art from Williams College, MA, and an M.F.A. in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT, Iskra was nominated for the 2007 John Alonzo, and the 2009 Bud Stone ASC Student Heritage Awards in Cinematography.

William Hoshal - Composer

Composer, arranger, performer, and painter William Hoshal draws influence from the musical worlds he inhabits, including jazz, classical, ambient, and commercial. Originally trained on saxophone and woodwinds, his award-winning music has been featured in jazz festivals and on the concert stage both here and abroad.

As a jazz and commercial musician, he has performed with artists like Pat Metheny, The Brecker Brothers, Clark Terry, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, Michito Sanchez, Maureen McGovern, Hans Zimmer, Celine Dion, and Lou Rawls. William was also a staff musician/orchestrator/composer for the Walt Disney Company for over a decade.

His solo debut CD, A RUMOR OF THE SUN, a musical collage of settings focusing on the haunting voice of the Native American Flute was nominated for an Independent Music Award and has received rave reviews from such publications as Whispering Wind and New Age Retailer. His compositions and improvisational explorations on this beautiful instrument have been called “Masterful…energetic, soulful, and moving” and “wonderfully spirited.” In 2008, A RUMOR OF THE SUN rose to #8 on the New Age chart and was honored with a Native American Music Award nomination.

William has also co-produced a new release of ECHOES OF CANYON DE CHELLY for Gary Stroutsos and Paul Thompson; WITHIN YOU, WITHOUT YOU for Gary Stroutsos and White Swan Records; DOORWAY TO A DREAM for Ann Licater; and two new solo CD projects including THE LANGUAGE OF CLOUDS, the highly anticipated follow-up to A RUMOR OF THE SUN.

Risks and challenges

There are innumerable challenges when it comes to shooting a documentary in a foreign country: unforeseen changes in schedule, last-minute transportation and access issues, impeded long-distance communication, finding shelter and power to keep equipment batteries charged and getting the media properly backed up to the hard drives, protecting the crew and the gear in extremes of cold, heat, and rain, enduring physical and mental exhaustion, confusion, dehydration, and last but not least, succumbing to a case of Montezuma's revenge.

We like to treat it as a space mission: prepare and research as much as possible in advance, but remain flexible and attuned to whatever the journey is revealing and making the best out of every potential setback through creative and efficient problem-solving. With Lee and Iskra on the road, there are no problems to solve. The risks are minimized because every potential problem becomes a creative challenge and they work together to figure out how to obtain the maximum benefit for the project with minimal risks. For instance, after being stuck at the Costa Rica-Panama border for two consecutive days during the Mesoamerican part of the shoot, they did not get discouraged but quickly switched gears and ended up covering the giant basalt spheres at Palmar Sur, Costa Rica, and getting an interview with Professor Javier Bonatti from the University of San José, all of this only 60 miles from the border.

During their previous work together in Central America, Lee and Iskra have established great rapport and will continue to collaborate in the highest possible way, to assure the completion and excellence of this unique project.

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    OLMEC MYSTERY PACKAGE. A copy of the book "The Mystery of the Olmecs", autographed by David Childress, plus everything in the Stone Ball Donor package.

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    FEARLESS SEAFARER PACKAGE. A copy of the director's captain's cap (appearing in the project's Kickstarter video and worn by him on every Olmec expedition), with insignia from the poem Invictus: "It matters not how strait the gate, / How charged with punishments the scroll, / I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul", plus everything in the Olmec Mystery package.

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    WORLD EXPLORER PACKAGE. Come with us to Ethiopia! A visit to our set (transportation and accommodation not included), an "Associate Producer" credit (including on IMDb, when available), two nights accommodation for the Premiere Screening, plus all of the above reward items.

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Funding period

- (31 days)