Wednesday, September 12, 2012


NOTE FROM JEFF:  To me, Ron Fricke has done for cinematography what Jimi Hendrix did for guitar...revolution in the true sense of taking it to another level entirely.  His earlier films Chronos, Koyaanisqatsi, and Baraka are testaments of 'non-verbal' and neo-'cinema verite' film-making that truly transcend the medium.  None of these films have 'actors' per se (although the people appearing in the films are coached), narrators, talking of any kind, or any of the standard fare you would expect in a 'feature' film;  yet, neither are they 'documentaries' as their subject matter is the entire cosmos, focusing on Earth for the time being.  

Fricke builds a new camera system for each film, working from the Todd 70mm system. His cameras are mounted on high-tech computerized equatorial platforms that can track celestial motions in the same way that telescopes do.  His films contain some of the freakiest and longest time-lapse sequences of, for example, an entire night compressed into a minute, showing the stars moving across the sky, clouds whizzing through, then the sun rising on majestic canyons in the America southwest...the coolest time-lapse I've ever seen!  

Fricke's concepts all relate directly to his overall philosophy of film-making.  'Chronos' is an ancient Greek word meaning 'time' but was also a deity as well as the planet Saturn.  'Koyaanisqatsi' is a Hopi word meaning 'crazy life' or 'life out of balance' and depicts human industrial civilization with its pedal to the metal; this film, the only one of the Goddfrey Reggio's 'qatsi trilogy' that's got any power, is based on three main Hopi prophecies which are actually sung in Hopi:  "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster...Near the day of purification, cob-webs will be spun back and forth in the sky...a gourd of ash    will be thrown from the sky which will burn the land and boil the oceans."  'Baraka' is a Sufi word meaning 'blessing' and has Fricke's characteristic land-scape and time-lapse sequences but also people around the world doing their 'spiritual' things.

'Samsara', his latest film, is a Sanskrit word meaning 'wheel of life' and has to do with 'illusion'.  This film I'm sure has all the Fricke trade-mark features, but focuses more on the 'people' side of things.

Ron Fricke says that his basic philosophy of film-making is 'to explore humanity's relationship with the eternal.'  In a world gone mad with consumerism and fabricated 'reality' shoved down our throats, these films are a testament to the spirit of true creative vision, philosophical exploration and cosmic insight into what it means to be here now as human beings...a precious gift that very few of us actually appreciate.

DON'T MISS 'SAMSARA'...coming soon to a theatre near you.

The team behind Baraka reunites for another journey around the world in Samsara, exploring themes of birth, life, death and rebirth through stunning visuals and music. 'Samsara' is a Tibetan word that means "the ever turning wheel of life," and the film is an unparalleled sensory experience. 

Baraka director Ron Fricke reunites with producer Mark Magidson to expand on their effort to portray the connections between humanity and nature in a bold way. Shot for over four years and across 26 countries, the film transports us through multiple cultures to sacred grounds, disaster sites, industrialized zones and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, the filmmakers subvert our expectations of a documentary. Instead, they encourage our own interpretations inspired by mesmerising visuals and musical compositions that infuse the ancient with the modern.

Through powerful, breathtaking images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score,Samsara shows how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet. The filmmakers give us privileged access to profound scenarios. For filmgoers who cherished the revelations of Baraka almost twenty years ago,Samsara proves to be worth the wait. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


TETI (True Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) 
& TULIP (The Ultimate Indigenous People)
Here is the ‘trailer’ for our ‘beyond film’ about who the whales and dolphins are as fellow sentient beings, as well as the real global threats to their health and well-being.


'Aihe Tohora Paikea Wananga' is ancient Maori for “the knowledge and wisdom of whales and dolphins.” I won’t go into too much detail here, but this ‘trailer’ is just the tiny tip of the HUGE ice-berg that our full ‘beyond film’ will be…an ice-berg that is destined to ‘sink the Titanics’ of humanity’s species-specific ‘superiority complex’, as well as our delusions about the REAL global threats to cetaceans…and ourselves, but most importantly, to celebrate the existence of the best friends humanity ever had, to ‘plumb the depths of awe and mystery, blend with a vast spiritual consciousness, at once intimately familiar and immensely incomprehensible.’

The whales and dolphins have been guiding this whole process, ever since I first encountered them in 1981, and first came ‘down under’ to the aquatic hemisphere of Gaia.  The connection has deepened and gone to next levels several times over, especially when three dolphins approached Liesbet and myself as we were swimming off Great Barrier in 2010.  We were transformed by that meeting of minds, and we came away with a huge sense of urgency, a warning, if you will, of impending danger of a global nature.  A few months later the Fukushima catastrophe began, which is by far the largest ecological disaster of human origin ever to occur.

A recent article I wrote, "We are not alone...yet:  How we are waging war on a true 'extra-terrestrial intelligence' " will appear in edited form in the new issue of New Zealand-based Uncensored magazine.  To read the full article go this link:

"I think that the cetaceans are using their highly advanced ‘internal technologies’ of group-telepathy and holographic consciousness-transmission to beam their love and message into the human psyche, now more than ever...Within their collective psyche they may have memories and knowledge of the history of Earth and humanity that we are unable and/or unwilling to access.  They may have knowledge of life elsewhere in the universe…of telepathically-connected galactic communities…and a greater appreciation of the beauty and uniqueness of life on THIS planet.  Perhaps they are the ‘mind of Gaia’ herself."

Our 'beyond film' will be based on some of the ideas and information in this article. Stay tuned...COMING SOON TO A PLANET YEAR YOU. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011



Over 1000 photos of Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

We just spent two lovely months on Aotea, or Great Barrier Island as the “pakeha” call her, which is located approximately 90 kms east of Auckland, New Zealand. Thanks in large part to our great friends John and Peggy-anne Garlick, we have been able to spend some very high quality time there in recent years, being able to live very close to the edge of the sea, in close contact with nature, in an environment that is relatively undisrupted by development and the intrusion of commerce and industry. For a while now we’ve been wanting to make a film about Great Barrier, and we wanted to make the film there; we weren’t able to access our library of mini-dv tapes while we were there, so we came up with the idea of making a “slide-show” of our still photos, on a dvd that could be viewed as a movie.

On our films we’ve always used original music I did with friends, but for this project we compiled a sound-track consisting of selected tracks from artists whose music we like and that fit with the spirit of what this project is all about: loving Mother Earth, appreciating her beauty and the fragility of life as we know her. The name “Gaiotea” is a synthesis of Gaia, the ancient Greek name for the Earth, and Aotea, the ancient Maori name for Great Barrier, meaning “white cloud.” We chose over 1000 still photos, both film and digital, for this presentation. We hope you enjoy the awesome beauty of this magical place, truly a gem in the crown of New Zealand’s real “clean and green” natural heritage. Many thanks to the various musical artists whose songs we’ve included in our sound-track; we are in the process of contacting each of these people, not only to request their permission for using their material, but mainly to share a copy of the project with them.



“Four Pillars” Tuu Mesh

“Wilderness Lost” Dan Gibson's Solitudes Harmony

“Freedom at Sea” Dan Gibson's Solitudes Harmony

“Tree Spirit” Dean Evenson &Tom Barabas Wind Dancer

“Day Sky, Night Sky” R. Carlos Nakai & Peter Kater Water

“Clouds” Dean Evenson & Tom Barabas Wind Dancer

“Laughing Waters” Deuter Mystery of Light

“Between Worlds” Erik Wøllo & Deborah Martin Between Worlds

“Brazilian Love” Deuter Ecstasy

“Silent Nostalgia” Erik Wøllo Blue Sky, Red Guitars

“Coyita” Gustavo Santaolalla Ronroco

“Cumbres Andinas” Inkuyo Window to The Andes

“Desert Wind” Alice Gomez with Madalyn Blanchett & Marilyn Rife
While The Eagle Sleeps

“Raven Dance” Scott August Lost Canyons

“River On” Dean Evenson & Soundlings Ensemble Eagle River

“Grandfather's Song” Bamboo Cedar Oak Song of Our Grandfathers

“East Wind Awaken” David & Steve Gordon Shaman's Vision Journey

“Last Wild River” R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman
Feather, Stone & Light

“Afternoon at Uluru”
R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman,
Feather, Stone & Light

R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman,
Dancing into Silence

“A Breath of Peace”
R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman,
Dancing into Silence

“Memory's Children”
R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman,
Dancing into Silence

“Rain” Burning Sky Creation

“Calling the Sun” Scott August Lost Canyons

“White” Deuter Earth Blue

“Drifting Petals” Ralph Towner SolsticeNOTE: As time and conditions permit, we will re-release this slide-show with all-original music; for now, each of these musical artists has some very nice music to check out. Also, we can supply high-resolution prints of any of these Great Barrier Island photos, on paper or canvas...just contact us on email.

JULY 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011



Greetings! It's been about six months since we finished our third film. We've given away and posted hundreds of dvd's so far, and after a lot of good work by our friend Douglas Webster and the guys at, "Te Waiwaia" is now up for viewing from our site; if you go to the main page, the link is right below the title.

Douglas went to extra effort to make it look and sound really good, much better than it would on youtube. As well, it's all in one piece. The audio is full .AIFF, which sounds fantastic.

I'll offer a note of explanation on the surprise "tourist attack" sequence in the middle of the film. We thought it was pretty clear what was happening and why we put this in there, but some people don't get it. To get to that water-fall at Lily Ponds in Nitmiluk, we had walked about 15 kms in extremely hot weather. It was fairly gruelling. We'd just had about an hour of silence and solitude alone there, and we were putting our clothes back on after a nice swim, when all of a sudden the crows started making a sound as if they were very annoyed. Then out of nowhere dozens...but it seemed like hundreds...of tourists came marching in on us, just like a herd of cows that had been let out. The truly weird thing was that it literally seemed as if we were invisible to them. They almost stepped on us! This one fat lady came and stood right with her ass in my face as if I weren't even there. I stood up and pointed my video camera at her. In the film you can hear her slowed-down moan "You right?" We were astonished not to mention disturbed by all this.

We saw that they had come off of two tourist tour boats that had landed a hundred meters or so behind us. They'd struggled to walk 100 meters and we'd walked 15 kilometers.

These people all had gray auras and seemed quite zombie-like and spiritually alseep or even dead. They also seemed extremely bovine as they just followed the tour leader to their "pasture", grazed a bit on a view or two, then returned to their stock vessel.

We left immediately upon their invasion, to get back into the dream-time vibration from which we'd been rudely disrupted.

The helicopter footage was shot literally from sitting in front of our tent at the caravan park in Litchfield National Park. They were that close to us. Two choppers landed, let out a family or so of "Americans", and they drove off in 4wd vehicles. About two hours later, they all returned, took off, and disappeared over the horizon.

This sequence in the film is our commentary on "industrial tourism" and the extremely negative effect it's having on the possibility of having a positive wilderness experience in many areas throughout Australia and New Zealand.

We will continue to make documentary films about our travels and about real-world issues, but this film is more in the direction that we'd like to go in terms of being purely artistic and conceptual.

Thanks again to Peter Cholmondeley for giving us a place to work, to Ian McAllister for musical wizardry, to David Daly for electronic wizardry, and to Mother Earth and the Great Spirit for a beautiful...and fragile...planet.

Jeff Phillips
Christchurch NZ

Thursday, September 9, 2010



Thanks to the abundant hospitality of our great friend Peter Cholmondeley we've been able to stay here in Darwin long enough not only to have grown one-meter high tomatoes but also to have completed our third film, Te Waiwaia, which consists almost exclusively of footage of water flowing. There's no talking, and the soundtrack is a blend of three original tracks I've composed and recorded. The title means "the realms of the beautiful waters" and is taken from Barry Brailsford's book Song of the Whale; we included a few sentences of text from his book to open and close the film. It's only 21 minutes long, so we're making an attempt to get thsi one up on-line so we can share it with everyone without having to post dvd's all over the world. But we'll still do this with our more special friends, of course! I'm trying to upload it to at this time, but I won't have the url for viewing for a while until I've been authorized as a "motion-maker"! Will keep you posted as things progress. We're very excited about this film, as it's more what we're really all about as experimental film-makers, although we will continue our annual Cryo series and will continue to make films about special places like Great Barrier Island New Zealand. Our beyond-film about who the whales and dolphins are, as fellow sentient beings, is coming into view over the horizon, too...

Sunday, May 9, 2010



Another Reality Film by Jeff Phillips & Liesbet Verstraeten

"Every human being...they must have a dream, you know? Arni Erickson, 2007

We’ve finally finished our second film, The Chronicles of Balarnia, after working on it for the past nine months. Based on the six weeks we spent on Flinders Island, Tasmania, in the (austral) summer of 2009, visiting our friend Arni “Balarni” Erickson at his “hut village” by the sea, this film is at the next level technically from Cryo 2008, but continues in a similar vein of being a true ‘reality film’ shot by us as we went: no actors, staged events, camera crews, repeating a ‘take.’ None of that. Films of this nature are only possible when your cameras are almost part of your body.

Like Cryo 2008, the soundtrack is all-original music by Jeff Phillips and friends, as well as didge/flute contributions from Dave Johnson; in addition, Tasmanian muso/friend Graham “Holly” Hollingsworth contributed a new track he recorded called “Sweet Train Shuffle.”

Also like Cryo 2008, the pace is fairly slow and even, with no brain-entraining rapid-editing “technical events”; but we have included several spacey “dream-time sequences” consisting of “naturo-delic” overlays.

A big difference between Cryo 2008 and Balarnia is that whereas Cryo ’08 covered an entire year, Balarnia covers only six weeks; this enables a much more comprehensive and in-depth presentation of what it was like to be there, to share what we did and where we went, how we spent our time.

Balarnia opens with some excerpts from The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson, to whom this film is dedicated; it was during our time there that we really discovered the legacy of Rachel Carson, as Arni had a paperback copy of the first edition of Silent Spring.

The film itself is an essentially chronological portrayal of our day-to-day life at Balarnia, where we measured the passage of time not only by the sun, moon and stars, but also by the growth rates of several young chickens who had just been hatched when we arrived.

Arni’s “hut village” has been carefully constructed over the past 20 or so years using nothing new, only driftwood and materials from salvage yards, old houses or barns, junk-yards, or that people gave him. Water is from rainfall. He has no reticulated electricity, only a tiny 12-volt solar panel that runs a small refrigerator. To the casual observer, his buildings may seem ram-shackle and insubstantial; but in reality, the construction is simultaneously solid and artistic. The almost total absence of right-angles, as well as the presence of vegetables growing indoors, would have impressed Hundertwasser!

I came up with the term “semi-permaculture” to describe the mode of living there; Arni said that his buildings weren’t meant still to be standing a hundred years from now. His place is in harmony with nature, and is not the flagrant violation of ecology, economy and beauty that most modern dwellings aspire to be.

Living far from artificial electromagnetic fields may prove to be one of the most essential requirements for sane and healthful living that we can strive for. It’s not easy to do, especially with the almost total ubiquity of mobile phone signals and, just as bad, wireless (“wi-fi”) connections for internet, cordless phones, or other devices.

At Balarnia, however, none of these were present. And there were no other people within several kilometres. We were therefore able to maintain a state of complete union with nature, with the sounds and rhythms of wind, rain, birds, and especially, the ocean. She is truly the “ultimate solution.”

Day and night throughout our weeks there, the sound of the ocean in all its variation of tone and intensity was an absolute constant; only for brief moments, for example, during storms or high wind, or just after a storm, when she was totally still and glassy, was the acoustic connection broken.

When we left, and spent our first night away from the sea in over six weeks, it was hard to go to sleep because something dear to us was missing, something comforting and friendly, the voice of someone you love. I had a similar experience after sleeping on my friend Peter’s sail boat “Chavon” for a couple months in 2004; after sleeping right at the water line, gently moving all night, for the entire time, the first night I tried to sleep on a solid surface was strange and difficult because it was so motionless. There’s something truly magic about water in all her forms.

I won’t tell you too much about the film, but there’s a lot of very colourful imagery of the surrounding landscapes, including Bottleneck Beach with amazing sandstone formations on the hill above; lots of footage of our evolving paintings and other art projects there; and a fair amount of Arni himself, including some footage I shot during my first visit in 2006, but not too much, because, really, we didn’t really see him all that much. We all like it like that! We also show Arni practicing his old job from the Swedish merchant navy; we won’t tell you what it is, but it has something in common with our hand-painted rocks!

We also document the construction of our first medicine wheel, which, like my rock-painting, was very much of a native American inspiration.

The closing credit sequence is in some ways the most artistic part of the film, in that it consists of an extended “naturo-delic” over-lay in the acoustic as well as visual dimensions.

At the very end, I make my first appearance as “film-maker/information activist” and share my views on the legacy of Rachel Carson and of our attitude towards and philosophy of being here now on beautiful Spaceship Earth: “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

One further technical refinement will be made when Ian McAllister of Christchurch masters the soundtrack for us; this should be done in the very near future. At this point we’ll be ready to start sending out copies of Balarnia to everyone we know. Right now, we’ve given away well over 600 copies of Cryo 2008.

Upcoming projects include Cryo 2009, Naturo-delic (beauty and pattern in art and nature), Tutunui-Wananga (the consciousness of whales), and a film about our months on Great Barrier Island New Zealand last year, tentatively entitled Cryotea: Barrier to Beauty.

The Chronicles of Balarnia (NTSC, 4:3, 1 hr. 54 min. playing time)
Another Reality Film by Jeff Phillips & Liesbet Verstraeten
A Cryo-Now Production


* Natural

Jeff Phillips
Batchelor NT
5 May 2010

Friday, November 6, 2009



NOTE FROM JEFF: Glenn plays drums/percussion on the track "Volcano" from our film and has some new music coming out soon, too!