Film Screening: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth

Image- Copyright Eric Black
Wednesday 13 February 2019,
5.00 - 7.30PM

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Old Geology Lecture Theatre, Science Road
University of Sydney


A screening of the award winning film ‘Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth‘ and open floor Q&A discussion with directors, Frauke Sandig and Eric Black .

Beautifully filmed over years, this film combines the intimate accounts and the political presence of the Maya using exquisite imagery, music and dreamlike sequences. The film bridges the gap between the ancient Mayan creation myth, the Popol Vuh and the crises of today, from the haunting ruins of a fallen civilization to the ceremonies of today’s Maya, from their spirituality to their spirit of resistance.

Where the west has focused on the end of the world, they understand their calendar not as an inevitable prophecy, but as the closing of a circle, as a way to a new beginning. A moving and haunting film with a deep respect for what is Indigenous. Their call is not just for control over their own lives. It is a last call to save the Earth.

The screening of this multi award winning film is a satellite event to the one-day symposium ‘The Law is in the Land’ to be held on 15 February 2019.


Frauke Sandig, Director, Producer
Eric Black, Director, Producer
Dr Tom Murray, Media Producer and Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University


Associate Professor Monica Gagliano, School of Life and Environmental Sciences


HEART OF SKY, HEART OF EARTH is the third collaboration between Eric Black and Frauke Sandig.
AFTER THE FALL (1999), their first film together, documented the mysterious, disturbing and almost complete disappearance of the Berlin Wall ten years after its fall. The film was awarded the German Camera Prize and a Golden Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It was selected for more than 40 international film festivals, including Berlin Int. Film Festival, IDFA Amsterdam (Int. Competition), Karlovy Vary (Int. Competition), DOCAVIV (Int. Competition) and MOMA New York.
FROZEN ANGELS (93 min.), premiered on Sundance International Film Festival in 2005, “a mesmerizing work that is not so much a science film as a startling conduit into the future of the American Dream, where “perfect children” can be added to the shopping list. Other festivals and awards include Winner of the Prix du Public at Visions de Réel, Nyon, Winner of the Prix de Cinephage Creteil, Paris, and chosen as one of twelve of the best documentaries worldwide by the International Documentary Association for Academy Award qualification. It was broadcast on public television worldwide including PBS in the United States. The film was released theatrically in Germany by Piffl Medien.

Frauke Sandig was born in Germany. After studying Drama and German Literature in Erlangen, she has worked as a television producer and documentary director of more than thirty documentaries, including ‘In the Same Boat’, ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’, ‘The Man Who Fell From Germany’, ‘Krakow- Stories Of A City’, and the documentary series ‘Strangers – Young Immigrants In Germany’, which was nominated for the Adolf Grimme Award in Germany and Transit Camp Friedland. Her feature length documentary Oskar & Jack told the story of twins, separated at birth, who grew up in completely different worlds: one raised as a Jew, the other as a Nazi. The film was screened on numerous international film festivals, shown on public television worldwide and awarded a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Int. Film Festival. She is a member of the German Film Academy.

Eric Black (director, producer, director of photography) was born in Ohio. He attended schools in Columbus, Ohio and Florence, Italy and High School in West Berlin. He graduated with a triple-major in Photography, Political Economy and Anthropology with Honors at the University of California and the Chancellor’s Award for Art for his photographs of Northern Ireland and attended the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. The first film he shot (also in black and white) won the Student Academy Award for Western States. He has shot many documentaries since and worked twice with the American Director Jon Jost in Rome. He was awarded a stipendium at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He was the runner up for the cinematography award at Sundance in 2005 and is currently in the process of publishing a book of his black and white photographs.

Dr Tom Murray is an academic and media producer who has worked in documentary production for over 20 years as a writer, director, and producer. Much of his work has been in collaboration with Australian Indigenous communities, most extensively with the Yolngu of Blue Mud Bay, NE Arnhem Land.Tom has won numerous awards and accolades for his film and television work, and been employed as a consultant by state film funding agencies, international media organisations, and in numerous educational contexts. Tom’s documentary for ABC-TV Dhakiyarr vs the King won the 2005 NSW Premier’s History Award, the 2004 Dendy Award for Best Film at the Sydney Film Festival and was selected for many international film festivals including the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. His 2008 film In My Father’s Country was selected for major international festivals including IDFA Amsterdam, and won the 2008 Australian Directors Guild Award for Best Direction in a Documentary Feature. In 2014 Tom was awarded the Australian Academy of Humanities Max Crawford Medal, the highest award in Australia for outstanding achievement and promise in Humanities research. He has a PhD in Media and History, and is a Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University.

Monica Gagliano is a Research Associate Professor in Evolutionary Ecology, Adjust Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Research Affiliate at the Sydney Environment Institute, and Senior Research Fellow at the Biological Intelligence Lab, University of Sydney. Monica’s main research is broadly focused on key aspects of the ecological process by which organisms are able to gather information on the variable conditions of their surrounding environment in order to thrive. In collaboration with various disciplines across the Sciences and the Humanities, Monica’s research aims at expanding our perception of animals, plants and more generally Nature. In the process of learning how to do this, Monica has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics and extended the concept of cognition to plants, re-igniting the discourse on plant subjectivity, sentience and ethical standing.