Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth


Frauke Sandig and Eric Black
2011 | 98 minutes | Germany, Guatemala, Mexico
New York Premiere | Directors in Attendance

How do the Maya of today feel about their ancestors’ conviction that the world would end in the year 5125 (2012 by our calendar) and a new cycle would arise? What can their worldview tell us about our global society where corporations go to the ends of the Earth to extract all resources and value? This thoughtful and provocative film follows six young Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily lives, forgoing narration to allow them to put forth their indigenous perspective in their own words. The stories that emerge over the course of years of filming all interweave the beauty and fragility of nature and the creation myth of the Popol Vuh with various aspects of today’s industrialized and hyper-connected world in crisis. The ruins of ancient Mayan civilization, often in the background, provide a reminder of our own possible fate.

Co-presented by Cinema Tropical

What compelled you to see for yourself?
A hand holding a pencil invades a white screen and draws the outline of a room, then sketches a stick figure within the confines of the room. The figure then takes the pencil, draws a door and enters an unimagined world. This little childhood cartoon now seems like a harbinger, a metaphor for what we now do; write proposals and enter a world we could only have imagined.

And what could be more unimagined or wonderful than the Maya? The Indigenous cosmovision has long compelled us as richer, more holistic and deeper than the mainly rational and materialistic way of looking at the world we grew up in. To delve deeply into a culture of Indigenous people, trying to see the world with their eyes, listening to their first hand accounts and helping their voices to be heard has been the most rewarding adventure of our lives.
—Frauke Sandig and Eric Black | Directors, Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth