A joint project by author/activist Starhawk and filmmaker Donna Read


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How wonderful! Your film is so compelling, such a creative version of Marija's ideas, so visually rich and exciting, so accessible. I was thrilled to see footage of Marija and hear in her own words what she found.

-- Brian Tokar, Vermont




Actress Olympia Dukakis, a long-time friend of Marija, is the film's narrator.


Signs out of Time
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Reviews & Testimonials
 / Film Bios / The Filmmaking Team / Letters of Support

About Signs out of Time

Signs Out of Time weaves together interviews, archival footage, photographs, and narration to portray the scope of Marija's life and work. Using animation, artifacts, interview footage of Marija herself, and both her supporters and critics, we explore her studies, excavations and publications, the depth and breadth of her scholarship, and the controversy around her theories. A 58:40 minute documentary, it is available for order on DVD.

Bios of film interviewees

We have a film bios index page that links to indivdual pages for each of the many brilliant historians, activists, feminists and teachers who appear in Signs Out of Time and Behind the Screen.

The Making of Signs Out of Time

Signs Out of Time was made over a period of ten years by filmmaker Donna Read and author Starhawk. Shortly after we began research for the documentary in the early nineties, Marija died.
Fortunately Delphi Productions had already produced and made available to Belili a long interview with Marija by Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade and many other important works.

Joan Marler, Marija’s editor and biographer, consulted on the film and helped us piece together the story of Marija’s life. Interviews with many other scholars, artists, writers, friends and family of Marija contributed to our research. We interviewed many of the key voices in the feminist spirituality movement. Because the time constraints of a documentary did not allow us to use all that material, we have made much of it available in the Behind the Screen series.

We also felt it was important to include some of Marija’s critics. Donna interviewed Sir Colin Renfrew, from Cambridge University in England, who had originally been one of Marija’s close friends and allies, but distanced himself over her Goddess work. We also interviewed Margaret Conkey and Ruth Tringham, feminist archaeologists at UC Berkeley, who hold a very nuanced critique of Marija’s work. Their extended interviews are also available in the Behind the Screen series.

Signs Out of Time was very much a family effort. Starhawk and her husband, David Miller, traveled together to Lithuania to research sites and locations and do preliminary interviews. David also did background research on the critics of Marija’s theories.

Nash Read, Donna’s former husband, was the primary cinematographer on Signs Out of Time. Nash, Donna and their son Jesse, who functioned as sound man and general tecchie, traveled together to Lithuania, England and Germany to film in 1999. Nash was a cinematographer at the National Film Board of Canada for 20 years and continues his work as an independent videographer in Montreal.

Starhawk and Donna were together, editing and writing commentary, on September 11, 2001. Starhawk has vivid memories of playing bits of the film on Donna’s VCR, which would revert back to the news every time she paused too long to think. The Goddess images and beautiful scenes of life in the film were constantly interrupted by scenes of the twin towers falling, the airplanes crashing and the anguish of survivors and relatives. The juxtaposition of the ancient images of peace and regeneration with the current reality of war and destruction deepened our commitment to get this information out to the world.

Technology changed over the decade or more of the making of Signs. When we began, we shot in 35 mm A16 mm film. Donna was editing on the old, mechanical equipment. By the end, she had mastered digital editing, a whole new world. Video technology had improved to the point that broadcast-quality documentaries can be shot in this much less expensive medium, and an editing studio can be transported in a laptop.

The most difficult part of making this documentary was funding it. Because of the success of the Goddess Spirituality Trilogy that Donna directed and Starhawk helped conceive and write, we expected that funding would flow our way easily. The trilogy: Goddess Remembered, Burning Times and Full Circle were in the top ten of sales and rentals for the National Film Board of Canada for ten years or more. However, various factors including the defunding of the Film Board, the backlash against Marija, and the disinclination of cable TV to fund a documentary on an older woman with an accent, made money hard to come by.
Instead, we turned to our community. A few large donations and many small ones, kept us going. We are deeply grateful to all of those who kept faith with us over the many years it took to bring this documentary to birth.

 To order Signs Out of Time visit our ORDER PAGE.


To see the individual bios and publication lists for the interviewees, visit our FILM BIOS PAGE.

About Behind the Screen
  We interviewed dozens of people to make Signs Out of Time. Many of them are prominent artists, thinkers, writers, and scholars in archaeology, history, and philosophy. Because of the time constraints in a one-hour documentary, we couldn’t fit them all in. The choices of quotes in a documentary have less to do with how brilliant each speaker is and more to do with how their words serendipitously fit the images and flow of the story. Some of our very favorite writers, such as Riane Eisler and Deena Metzger, ended up not being in the documentary. And even the quotes we used were just a tiny selection of the insight and wisdom in each interview.

When we were done, we realized what a treasure trove of information we had, of historic value to the fields of archaeology, religion and women’s studies. So we have made the extended interviews available in our series, Behind the Screen. We had originally made these available on VHS but are no longer offering those. We are looking into making DVD versions -- stay tuned.

These interviews also form the heart of our Goddess Salons, self-organized discussion and ritual groups where you can deepen you knowledge of the whole field of Goddess archaeology and spirituality. The period of monthly salon offerings is over but we still have the resources available -- see our Goddess Salons page for information.

Riane Eisler

Deena Metzger
 
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