Mining for La Mancha – Working Sample
Find out more about Mining for La Mancha – Working Sample.
MINING FOR LA MANCHA is a feature length character driven documentary exploring eccentric individuals passionately engaging in their own lives. Characters that question the conventional experiences and expectations in life and create meaning for themselves in their own way and through their own acts.
For some the windmills of La Mancha are monsters to be slayed, for others windmills are to be what they are. Struggling to discern the difference gives meaning to the mission.
Mining for La Mancha, follows the journeys of three white, middle aged men examining their lives pursued in the interstices of acceptable society. Each one confronts the circumstances of his loneliness in a unique manner.
The windmills of Don Quixote are embodied in the global conspiratorial cabal, which Sandpiper, the pirate radio Disk Jockey, focuses on as the source of the world’s inequity. The dissolution of his marriage serves as a catalyst of personal change and a new awakening to hidden truths. This launches his quest to uncover and share the information he believes the government is hiding from the public, while trying to define his place in a society that ridicules his beliefs. Undaunted he plans a cross country tour where he will broadcast unlicensed on the road, while uncovering the truths which he believes the government is hiding from the public.
Peter, the hermetic artist, resists the passage of time through the construction of a childhood he feels his father took from him. His artwork consists of grandfather clocks made of K’Nex toys that reinvent his relationship to time and allow him to indulge his childlike imagination and creativity. As he constructs this world, he retreats further into a solitary state at the edge of civilization. Yet he dreams of sharing his creations with the outside world and must find a way to overcome his own demons and engage with the modern art world.
Curtis, the spiritual environmentalist and dance choreographer, crusades against humanity’s discord with God and nature. Following in the footsteps of his farming forbearers, he fights to save trees in the ever-encroaching urban environment of San Francisco. After a crushing defeat, he channels his passions and spiritual energies into a new dance piece that will unite his interests and change the world. This odyssey will lead him back to his family’s farmland in Minnesota and to his ancestral homeland of Germany.
One evening these three solitary figures will meet for the first time to share their lives and quests with each other. Will they find a way to connect and help each other reach their destinations?
Sandpiper has moved back to his hometown of Covington, Georgia to reconcile with his estranged family. Covington is a small town in the Deep South where conservative values and tea party politics dominate the cultural standard. It is from the legacy of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights struggle that Sandpiper formulated his sense of justice.
Prior to moving back to Georgia, Sandpiper lived in San Francisco, where its liberal political atmosphere was a great haven for him. Sandpiper worked his way up the radio disc jockey ladder at a major top 40 music radio station but with the corporate take over and consolidation of the airwaves, Sandpiper moved into the world of pirate radio which gave him greater freedom to espouse his political truths.
His open mind and heart led him to help a woman attain a green card through marriage. But along the way, he fell in love with this woman and the opportunity for a normal life. The marriage began to crumble over time and despite his best efforts, when she got what she wanted she left him. This devastating turn of events served as the springboard into the next phase of his life.
During the dissolution of his marriage Sandpiper began to see strange lights in the night sky: unidentified flying objects that he believes are not of earthly origin. This was the inception of his deep commitment to uncovering the truths he believes the government is hiding from the public. Pirate radio became the bully pull pit for his issues from the Moon landing Hoax to the government’s complicity in the events of the 911 attacks.
Sandpiper has now taken his message back home where he is criticized by his family, friends and often accused of treason for his beliefs. The film will bear witness to his efforts to inform the citizens of Covington. Every night, he switches on the pirate radio station in his home and broadcasts his litany of truth. He fights a lonely and losing battle to bring the vast web of conspiracy he sees in the world to light through a series of sparsely attended events. His efforts are seen as the rantings of a mad man.
Undaunted but dispirited, he returns to San Francisco to reconnect with his more open minded community there and re-team with the original cast of broadcasters who are the founders of the micro-radio movement and the battle against corporate and government control. These encounters energize him to plan a cross country tour where he will go to famous conspiracy theorist’s sites to uncover truth, while broadcasting unlicensed low power FM from his moving vehicle. This journey will include stops at Conspiracy Con and the UFO convention where he will share his message with like-minded people and hit the epicenter of power in Washington, DC and ground zero in New York city. As he embarks on his journeys, and shares his teachings, he comes to terms with his own life and why he shoulders this burden and takes this lonely path.
Peter Tobey is the ex-hippie artist and former engineer now living at the edge of civilization in a crumbling compound in the Oregon wilderness. He is a refugee from his own troubled past and the perils of the world outside his borders.
Peter’s father was a stern disciplinarian who suppressed his natural playfulness and robbed him of his childhood. This denial led to a deep disconnect between Peter’s inner self and the expectations of the world around him. It continued into his adult life as he toiled as an engineer for the city of Portland and fell into a loveless marriage.
The departure of his children from the home forced him to re-examine his life and recognize his unhappiness and complete disconnection from his rich creative interior life. He leaves his marriage and pulls up stakes, retreating into an abandoned former bulb farm at the outer reaches of civilization. In this timeless remote locale, his own personal Walden Pond, he reassesses his life’s purpose and makes a conscious decision to reawaken the long dormant child within and embrace his creativity at long last.
In his dilapidated warehouse studio, Peter begins to build the creations of his mind with the materials of childhood: the toy construction pieces K’Nex. Taking these colorful fragments, he constructs wondrous timekeepers, giant grandfather clocks, as a way of both escaping from and controlling time in a place where he can be a child again. He is recharged by the creative spark that brings him back to himself and life again.
Yet, this life alone, as reinvigorating as it is for him, also leaves Peter wanting more. Now that he is finally realizing his goal of creating art, he wishes to share it with the world. To do this, he must leave his creative bubble, the solitary cocoon he has built himself, and re-engage with the perils of the outside world and the challenges of breaking into the tower of the modern art world.
Curtis Speck is a spiritual environmentalist and theological dance choreographer. He is the progeny of generations of Mid-western homesteaders who were farmers and foresters with a close relationship to the land. He has inherited the family farm in Minnesota where he too tends the land but, journeying by Greyhound bus, he travels between this idyllic life and a cramped apartment in the urban wilderness of San Francisco.
Curtis straddles the atavistic and modernity, he revels in contradictions, re-claiming unused urban space to grow organic foods. Foraging berries from Urban Parks while intentionally putting soil in his drinking water, he is the antithesis of a modern dance choreographer. Curtis’ earthy touch is fused with a sense of mischief; he takes pleasure in confusing people with his break neck conversation tangents.
We find Curtis rehearsing for his next solo performance in Germany, a yearly pilgrimage he takes to the fatherland, one he usually couples with an exhaustive genealogical scavenger hunt. This latest dance is influenced by his ongoing effort to save a couple of Monterrey Cypress trees slated for removal. Curtis spends countless hours on a busy intersection educating the constituents of the neighborhood of the injustice that is being done to the public trust through a corrupt regime of tree trimmers and university administrators. Having filed an appeal he is thrust into a realm of pro development bureaucrats who cite safety concerns to clear the way for unfettered urban development. Curtis reeling from the appeal board decision to uphold the permit to execute the trees declares that his only recourse is choreographed dance.
Rebuking common every day conveniences, Curtis exclusively employs public transportation to reach even long distances. On a pilgrimage of sorts he climbs a hill through thick brush to meet with his guru, Father Buckley, a retiring Jesuit theologian who was been advising him on his magnum opus, a modern dance ballet rendering of the book of Mark. It is Curtis’ grand thesis about the life of Christ and God in flesh, a 20-year labor of love in the making. The coming years will determine whether his investment in this project will bear fruit as he races against Buckley’s failing health.
Our characters will be invited to a special gathering devised to bring three seeming disparate individuals together. All three of our characters will find disturbing parallels in each other’s personal narratives, making allegiances or life long enemies. Will they find universal truths among themselves or will their darker eccentricities preclude collaboration.
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