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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Buckley

A Spring Equinox greeting from The Stars at Night team!

A busy fall and winter have brought us to a place where we are actively working on editing our film! And finally after a long winter: SPRING!

This past fall, we filmed our young filmmakers around a campfire recalling the Big Bend trip last June.

Later, Ryan John and I scouted the White Shaman mural on the lower Pecos. This 4000 year old rock art painting is believed to portray an ancient cosmology, a story of the birth of the sun and the creation of time. We are glad to have had the ability to scout and plan for this challenging shoot. The hike into the shelter is not for the faint of heart!

One exciting event I hope makes it into the final film was our interview with Emeritus professor Dr. Frank de la Teja reading from the 500 year old text of Cabeza de Vaca’s book, La Relacion, describing his travels through the desert near the Lower Pecos and how the indigenous people demonstrated their knowledge of the stars.

Then, in December, we were fortunate enough to travel to Comstock, Texas to film a time lapse of the sun setting on the mural on the Winter Solstice!

To say the trip was an adventure would be an understatement, and we are eternally grateful to the wonderful team of Aimee Spana and Chester Leeds from the Witte Museum, leading our team to the White Shaman rock shelter and to Carolyn Boyd for introducing us to the Witte team and to Shumla Foundation archaeoastronomer Diana Rolon! The morning before we left we were able to interview our creative consultant/night sky educator Amy Jackson once again, overlooking the stunning Fate Bell shelter.

In January, and with the help from our artistic guru Helena, we now have a Stars at Night POSTER!

Then in Feb, our illustrious DP, Jonathan Jackson stepped in to edit our first trailer!

Just last week, with many thanks to Executive Producer Tom Copeland, we interviewed some of our last few experts, this time in Boston with the extraordinarily talented National Geographic photographer, author and founder of The World at Night, Babak Tafreshi. As well, we completed a follow-up interview with Tyler Nordgren talking about the connections between science and art and his experiences teaching with Carl Sagan and reading Dr. Sagan’s infamous speech about the pale blue dot.

We would also like to welcome Jameson Dunn as our editor for the film! Jameson has been a part of the team for about a year, and edited the first of our star stories, The Pleiades, written by our creative assistant and filmmaker, Olivia Baker. This star story has serendipitously found a following! So Olivia has written and recorded a new story about Orion— stay tuned for that.

Next, as Ryan joins our (former) student filmmaker Will for production on Will’s new film, they will journey back to Big Bend for some pick up shots, and yes— more time lapses of the stars!

Ideally by May, we will shoot our final interviews including Dr. Michael Rappengluck in Germany.

We have targeted late summer for a rough cut of the film, which will allow us to present it to several companies that will help us finish post production and an original score.

Thanks to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance for their support of the film and for planting the seed of the idea that we screen the film— outside under the stars! Thanks also to Justin Sherburn of Montopolis for allowing Ryan to edit our time lapse reel their beautiful composition, Terlingua from their Big Bend album.

And a huge thanks to organization president Larry Wells, and the original board of the grassroots night sky organization, Comal County Friends of the Night Sky. What stated as 10 neighbors that first met over zoom in April of 2020, has grown to over 630 FB members, working hard to build awareness and change glaring outdoor lighting, “one light at a time.”

There is still a lot of work to do, but we are thrilled that our two year journey is finally to the point that we will be able to “realize our vision” and see a cut of the film by early summer.

Meanwhile, a hearty welcome to spring and a reminder to us all to get outside and enjoy the night skies!

The Stars at Night Team

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