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Letters of Support for the Marija Gimbutas Film Project:
Vicki Noble, author of The Motherpeace Tarot
Olympia Dukakis, Academy award-winning actress
Miriam Robbins Dexter, Ph.D.
Theodore Roszak, Professor of History, California State University, Hayward
Vivienne Verdon-Roe, Winner of an Academy Award for "Women For America, For the World"
From Vicki Noble:
Dear Donna and Starhawk:
This is a letter in support of your film project on the life
and philosophy of Marija Gimbutas. With your awesome
credentials and backgrounds, you are just the people to
be making this film in a synergistic and collaborative way,
and I am so excited and grateful that you have taken it
on. Many people during the years that I knew Marija
intended to make a film about her, but for various
reasons, none of these films came to manifest form. I
believe Marija would have wanted her life and work to
be translated through the eyes of the makers of the
Goddess trilogy - films that are moving, personal,
stunningly beautiful, and yet unflinchingly true to the
material they are presenting.
In my work as a researcher and writer about ancient culture
and Goddess religion, I sense that now more than anytime
in the last generation there is a desperate need for someone
with the know-how to pull together a coherent picture of
Marija's contribution before she fades from the collective
memory. There is a not-so-subtle backlash against the
profound observations she made during the latter part of her
life, including mainly the documentation of peaceful
non-Indo-European peoples who were indigenous to Old
Europe. Recent books purporting to cover the subject have
serious hidden agendas that serve to erase all feminist c
ontent from prehistoric archaeology and world history.
For instance, Margaret Ehrenberg's Women in Prehistory doesn't
even include Gimbutas in the bibliography, and because she
doesn't argue against her in any kind of upfront way, in effect
this lie of omission annihilates her altogether. And a 1996
book claiming to synthesize and present an overview of the
work of generations of Greek Bronze Age archaeology similarly
excludes Gimbutas from both text and bibliography, and
then dismisses Goddess archaeology in one glib sentence
describing the famous lion gate at Mycenae: "Scholars are
not now so keen on the notion of a universal 'Great Mother'
goddess, though the idea that the pillar may represent the
protective power of a deity is still widely accepted." (p. 152)
Clearly if a responsible effort isn't made immediately to
salvage and preserve the groundbreaking work of Marija
Gimbutas, her name will be deliberately "disappeared" in
the quagmire of academic "scholarly" discussion. Whatever
money it takes to make this much-needed educational film
for posterity,the money must be raised. I want to go on
record as encouraging whatever donations people can make
as individuals, and also grantmaking foundations. This is
an opportunity for each of us to be part of something
collaborative and transformative; without this film, history will
continue to be a lie. So I send you blessings and good wishes
on this enterprise, knowing that Marija's spirit is undoubtedly
overlooking the work with approval. May your efforts be
rewarded by the remarkable support, success, and
recognition the film deserves.
Vicki Noble is the author of Motherpeace: A Way to the Goddess
Through Myth, Art, and Tarot, Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire,
Healing Our World:The New Female Shamanism,
and Down Is Up for Aaron Eagle: A Mother's Spiritual Journey With
From Olympia Dukakis:
Re: Your documentary film on the life and work of Marija Gimbutas
I am delighted to participate with you in the documentary film you
are undertaking to produce together with Donna Read of the Great
Atlantic and Pacific Film Company.
As we discussed, I will be happy to play the role of Marija in your
film, to record narration and to offer whatever support I can.
Marija has played a very important role in my life. I spent many
significant hours with her. It is a great sadness that this project c
ould not have been completed in Marija's lifetime.
I wholeheartedly endorse this project. Please feel free to show this
letter to other people in your endeavors to complete this long
March 6, 1997
Olympia Dukakis is a veteran Oscar-winning actress, a director, producer,
teacher, and activist.
From Miriam Robbins Dexter:
I am delighted that you are making a documentary film on the life
and work of the visionary archaeologist, Marija Gimbutas. Your work
will, I believe, bring to the attention of the public not only the life
and work of Professor Gimbutas, but also the importance of using
archaeological material - primary sources - to establish context for
prehistoric and early historic female figures.
Marija was an exceptionally important figure in my own academic
work. Not only did her writings influence me greatly; her presence
and active encouragement set the course of my work. Very early on,
she admonished me both to "produce!" and to believe in my work.
To that end, she invited me to present a paper at my very first
conference, in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, in 1979, and to her other two
international conferences, including the one in Vilnius, which,
tragically, she did not live to attend. She was also responsible
for my first published article, in 1980.
I think that you and Donna Read are a wonderful team for the
production of this film. I consider you, Starhawk, to be
exceptionally representative of and important to the Women's
Spirituality movement, and I have been hugely enjoying Donna's
films, "Goddess Remembered" and "The Burning Times," and
showing them in my classes for the past several years. Both of you
are both creative and meticulous in your work.
Marija was friend, teacher, mentor, and I owe her a lifelong debt
of gratitude. Whatever I can do to forward your project, I will do
with the greatest enthusiasm and love.
Miriam Robbins Dexter, Ph.D.
April 2, 1997
Miriam Robbins Dexter, Ph.D., is the author of Whence the Goddesses:
A Source Book.
From Theodore Roszak:
Dear Donna Read:
I am pleased to offer you my warmest support in your effort to
produce a film on the life and work of Marija Gimbutas. Not only
will such a film be of the greatest intellectual value, but it will surely
make an engaging story on the level of human interest.
Marija Gimbutas' efforts to reinterpret the human past represent one
of the heroic academic projects of our time. In her life's work, we see
a new paradigm being born, one that gracefully links prehistory to our
ecological future. We have much to learn from the age that Gimbutas
named "Old Europe." She has created a powerful image of a
harmonious quality of life between the genders as well as between
our species and the natural environment, one that shows us new
human possibilities. That image and its lesson must reach as large
an audience as possible. Television is the obvious medium for that
I have no doubt that the film you have in mind will find a vast
audience among environmental activists, feminists, artists and among
the general viewing pubic as well. It is a great story that can touch the
hearts of thousands. In cassette form, the film is bound to bind an
enduring audience in schools everywhere. I will be among the first to
place orders for my school.
Your work as a filmmaker has both educated and entertained me over
the years. You are exactly the person to make this film; all you have
told me about your plans makes me impatient to see the result. I only
hope this letter will speed you along the way.
April 2, 1997
Theodore Roszak is a Professor of History at California State University, Hayward.
His books include Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, and Voice
of the Earth.
From Vivienne Verdon-Roe
To Whom It May Concern:
I remember when I first picked up a book by Marija Gimbutas - one of the
ones which had a lot of photos of what were once labeled "Dancing Girls,"
but because of Marija, are now recognized as sacred objects. Depictions of
the Great Goddess.
The feelings that arose in me were intense. Relief. Joy. Grief that for such
long time so much had been lost to me and to the world at large. And
gratitude. Profound gratitude to Marija for her work, for being who she was,
come hell or high water. What a model for us all.
A few years later. I remember sitting in a darkened movie theater. I'd just
watched "The Burning Times," a documentary produced and directed by
Donna Read. I'd been captured immediately. It's always delightful to sit
back and watch a really finely crafted movie. But this experience went way
beyond enjoying a good film. The contents moved me to the core. I had to
sit for along time before I could leave the theater.
Since then, I have seen other of Donna's work, and I can say without
reservation that she turns out consistently first-class stuff!
I wish I knew Starhawk better. I've seen her around and my perception
of her is she is a grounded, talented, wise woman, with a lot of energy.
What a team. And what a subject. This is a winner if I've ever seen one.
Quite possibly Oscar time.
April 15, 1997
Vivienne Verdon-Roe is the winner of an Academy Award for "Women For America,
For the World.