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Sacred Land Film Project

by Xi - Sep 10, 2013 - 0

Standing on Sacred Ground World Premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival

All four films of the Standing on Sacred Groundseries will premiere at the 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival next month. Ticket sales open to the public today.

Thursday, October 10Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists (Episode 1), 8PM at the Sequoia Theater in Mill Valley, followed by discussion with filmmaker Christopher (Toby) McLeod, actress Tantoo Cardinal, Winnemem Chief Caleen Sisk and park visionary Danil Mamyev from the Altai Republic of Russia.

Saturday, October 12Standing on Sacred Ground: Profit and Loss(Episode 2), 3 PM at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, followed by discussion with Toby McLeod, Tantoo Cardinal and First Nations tar sands activist Mike Mercredi.

Sunday, October 13Standing on Sacred Ground: Fire and Ice and Islands of Sanctuary (Episodes 3 and 4), 2:15 PM at the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, plus Q&A with Toby McLeod and co-producers Jessica Abbe and Jennifer Huang.

The prestigious Mill Valley Film Festival, with its reputation as a filmmakers' festival and unique mix of home-grown and international offerings, is a great base to introduce our series. It was our first choice for a premiere festival and we're honored to be a part of it. Join us for an Active Cinema hike Sat. Oct 5, 10:30AM.
Tickets for the three screenings: - Website Launch!

We are delighted to announce today's launch of our new film website at

Be the first to visit! Share it with friends! Check out our full schedule of up-coming screenings! See our new trailer! Kudos to our website project manager Susan Alexander and project designer Anna Heath of Giant Rabbit... beautiful job, on time, on budget, on point.

Fans of Toby's blog, our often-referenced world map of sacred sites and individual site reports, not to worry. We continue to regularly update our project website,

Press Coverage for Standing on Sacred Ground

In advance of our Saturday, September 14 screening of Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists at the beautiful Cascade Theatre in Redding, California, filmmakers Christopher (Toby) McLeod and Jessica Abbe are featured in, an online news magazine.

In the interview, Toby and Jesica share reflections on the making of the Standing on Sacred Ground film series, their own history, and offer suggestions on what you can do to help the growing international network of indigenous sacred site guardians.



Standing on Sacred Ground
at Berkeley's David Brower Center on October 15

Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, home of the Sacred Land Film Project office and editing suite, for an evening reception and special screenings.

Honored guests at the 6 PM reception include Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons, author Barry Lopez, Winnemem Chief Caleen Sisk, Altai park founder Danil Mamyev, First Nations activist Mike Mercredi, actors Tantoo Cardinal, Peter Coyote and Q'orianka Kilcher, and Native Hawai`ian activists Noa Emmett Aluli and Davianna McGregor.

At 7:15 PM we will screen Fire and Ice and Islands of Sanctuary, (Episodes 3 and 4) in the Brower Center's Goldman Theater, followed by discussion with filmmaker Christopher (Toby) McLeod and our great panel of guests who appear in the film series.

This event is co-sponsored by Earth Island Institute.

Tickets for the screening plus reception are $100 per person and are available now at

A limited number of screenings-only tickets are available for $25 per person.
We expect this event to sell out quickly so please get your tickets now!

We will offer bargain matinee showings of all four films during the afternoon of October 15. And if you can't make it on the 15th, we'll be showing all four films at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on October 16 and 17. Our Roxie screenings are co-sponsored by the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

See our new film website for full details!

Major Fine for Mining Company Desecration of Sacred Site in Australia

For the first time in history, a mining company has been convicted of-and fined for-the desecration of a sacred site in Australia.

OM Manganese Limited, a subsidiary of OM Holdings Ltd, was ordered to pay a fine of $150,000 (rather than a possible maximum $400,000 penalty) for destruction of the Aboriginal sacred site known in English as Two Women Sitting Down. (Photo courtesy of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.)

In 2011, the company was convicted of damage to Two Women Sitting Down, where blasting activity in close proximity caused the collapse of a rock formation known as the Horse's Head and a rockslide that destroyed half of the sacred site.

But Magistrate Sue Oliver decided to take the conviction a step further, ruling that the damage done to the site should be categorized as desecration.

"The defendant company made decisions that involved the sacred site that favoured business and profit over the (cultural protection obligations) they had," Oliver wrote in her ruling.

Though OMM had permission to mine at Bootu Creek, where Two Women Sitting Down is located, Oliver found that the company had exercised "willful blindness." The fine was $120,000 for desecration and $30,000 for damage.

"The company never intended to harm, damage or disrespect the sacred site," said Peter Toth, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of OM Holdings Ltd, in a statement. "We sincerely regret the damage and the hurt caused and I unreservedly apologize to the site's custodians and traditional owners."

Artist Banduk Marika, board member of the Aboriginal Elders Protection Authority, said OMM got off too lightly. "You go to a cathedral overseas and start desecrating it-you're putting yourself in big trouble," she said." Is this a reasonable fine? I don't think so."

Two Women Sitting Down is linked to the local Kunapa Indigenous Australians, and the Dreamtime, the creation era of Australia's indigenous people.

As the Kunapa Dreamtime story of the site goes, when a marsupial rat and a bandicoot had a fight over bush tucker (food from the land), the blood of the creatures turned the rocks in the area their distinctive dark red color.

"It will always remain a sacred site to us, but it has been ruined and we don't know what to do," said Gina Smith, community representative of the Kunapa.

Smith said that the destruction caused by the mining company had effectively severed the place from its "songline" and the sacred site could no longer be used in relation to Dreamtime stories and ceremonies.

Thanks to SLFP intern Nico Correia who researched and wrote this news article.


Partial funding for Standing on Sacred Ground has been provided by Pacific Islanders in Communication and Vision Maker Media. These films are supported by a grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund.

We appreciate your support!
Tell your friends about the Sacred Land Film Project by forwarding link

Please donate to the distribution campaign for Standing on Sacred Ground.Thank you.


Sacred Land Film Project
2150 Allston Way, Suite 440

Berkeley, California 94704



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