Jan 10, 200603:36 PMThe Life
Voices Of The Monument
Jan 10, 2006 - 03:36 PM[This is a new HD DVD—compatible with all players and televisions—about the first national monument created by Congressional, rather than Presidential, action. Proceeds go to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. A shorter version of this 45-minute documentary was shown once, at midnight, on a TV station in Orange County and earned five Emmy® nominations, winning four statuettes.]
"The mountains are not just brown blobs, or snow-capped summits, they're a unique resource," says producer Frank Jones. "In fact, these two-mile-high peaks contain five separate climate zones. To find the same range of biological and geological features represented in this sixty-mile stretch of land, you'd have to travel from the tip of Mexico's Baja California to the Cascade Range in British Columbia."
Frank's passion for the area is evident. "The native Americans have thrived in this austere yet rich environment for thousands of years, and we can learn from their perspective: how we look at the land and how we treat it in future generations."
The documentary provides an introduction to the mountains you'd never get simply by looking at them, because there's no one vantage point to obtain a comprehensive overview. Some of the places featured, like the ancient water lines of the now-extinct Lake Cahuilla or the Martinez rock avalanche, would be nearly inaccessible except to those visitors riding horseback through the canyons.
The film is dedicated to its writer/director, Bernard Nathanson, who succumbed to cancer during production. Mr. Nathanson often said of his last project that he hadn't enjoyed shooting anything so much since his early days of creating outdoor films in his native South Africa.
The breathtaking aerial photography was shot in all kinds of weather: rain, sleet, snow and sun. As local residents know, it's always a risk flying in these mountains, which have claimed so many lives in tragic airplane and helicopter accidents over the years.
"When people see this film, they'll hopefully realize they can do more in Palm Springs than just gamble, shop and shoot a great round of golf," Frank laughs.
But then he becomes thoughtful. "After you spend a couple of hours out there, you come back feeling different. Unspoiled areas like this are an increasingly important part of how we get along with each other. They tend to balance out our natural antagonisms and rivalry."
Frank's closing words? "If we don't take care of this land, it ain't gonna take care of us."
Links: official website ~ 4:03 clip ~ view entire film in PDCC's lobby ~ purchase