Rolf Winters and Renata Heinen’s Award-Winning Documentary DOWN TO EARTH To Be Released In UK Cinemas This September
“We didn’t inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.” - Chief Seattle
The Down to Earth Collective is thrilled to announce that its award-winning documentary, DOWN to EARTH will be released in UK cinemas from 14th September and will celebrate its UK Premiere at Picturehouse Central on 11th September presented by Mark Rylance.
DOWN to EARTH follows a London family, breaking away from society to find a new perspective on life. For five years, travelling six continents, parents Renata Heinen and Rolf Winters and their 3 children aged 10, 7 and 6 go on a journey of discovery to capture the wisdom of the ‘Earth Keepers’.
They find indigenous communities who have retained a natural balance and live in harmony with their surroundings, far removed from the technologically focused cultures of today. There is no crew, no production team, just one backpack and camera each.
Many of the ‘Earth Keepers’ featured in the documentary were hesitant to be on film but as the family lived alongside them, a mutual trust grew and they embraced the idea. Having lived in hiding for centuries, they saw that now is the time to step forward and share their insights with those who are ready to listen. Their messages portray a way of living that shares a clear and transcendent vision of life on planet Earth, unaffected by man-made laws.
Filmmaker Renata Heinen said “I believe that the energy of the recordings of the contributors in the film is so special because of the intimacy. We filmed every individual in their natural environment.”
Filmmaker Rolf Winters said “We wanted to create an experience and not make a ‘talking heads’ film. To capture the journey across the globe.”
Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot, Proof) said “I have not come across a piece of work that so dramatically combines the personal and the universal. Working on a project where there is such a vital connection between the filmmakers and the subject – on a personal, political and spiritual level – meant that I felt a particular responsibility to be as truthful as I could to their vision.”
DOWN to EARTH is a mirror to humanity, a poignant and timely reflection on our civilised world. The movie invites us to see the world through the eyes of the Keepers of the Earth. It takes us on an inner journey, connecting us with the source and the mutual path we are walking. DOWN to EARTH is both a wakeup call and a resurgence of hope for our world to come. It is not just the launch of a film. It’s the launch of a thought, a vision for the future.
The film has broken box office records in The Netherlands, where it was test-marketed, with over 170,000 viewers in cinemas and is currently the longest running film in cinemas ever (20 months ongoing). It has become a true movement: The DOWN to EARTH Collective works with hundreds of educational institutions, corporates, charities and community organisations.
In their mission to look after the next seven generations, the makers work together with sustainable brands like Weleda, Triodos Bank and Seventh Generation. The latter was acquired by Unilever just over a year ago. The Down to Earth team also actively guides the senior leadership of multinationals like Unilever whose aim is to become truly sustainable companies, using the film [and the wisdom of the Earth Keepers] to raise the bar.
The film has won a Jury Prize at the Illuminate Film Festival, the Audience Favourite at the Spirit Film Festival and the Jury prize as well as the Audience Award at the Dutch National Education Film Festival. The film is now being piloted in the Dutch educational system.
More than a Film
DOWN to EARTH aims to inspire a fresh dialogue in society. By using an unorthodox model that includes a dialogue in the cinema at the end of each screening, audiences are invited to use the film and its messages in their own environments to ignite change. People are already responding to this ‘call to action’, showing that real change starts with us, individual human beings and our lifestyle and behaviours. The makers believe therein lies the solution to the big challenges we face in the world.
Picturehouse Cinemas, the UK’s leading exhibitor of independent film, has embraced DOWN to EARTH and will be releasing the film in their cinemas throughout the UK. The filmmakers are also connecting and working with conscious businesses, organisations, educational institutions and media outlets who are at the forefront of sustainable transformation.
DOWN to EARTH is the right film at the right time, hitting an open nerve in our modern society.
DOWN to EARTH is released in UK cinemas from September 14
Filmmakers: Renata Heinen & Rolf Winters
Composer: Stephen Warbeck
Running Time: 90 minutes
Filmmaker, Rolf Winters
Rolf has his professional roots in the corporate world. His incessant drive to understand and make better use of human potential led him to found his own leadership consulting firm at the age of 30. The next 10 years he travelled Europe as boardroom consultant and coach, working for some of the largest corporations in the world. Through his in-depth experiences with leaders and decision making at the top of the corporate pyramid, Rolf also gained an insight into the stranglehold our established structures have on organisations and their leaders; the damaging effects of their short-term focus and their lack of a holistic vision. He started searching for a different perspective and a key to renewal. When he was exposed to the leadership principles and the way-of-life of the Anishnabe (first Native Americans), he felt he had found that key. The Native American vision on life and their way-of-being resonated so strongly with him and his wife that they left their successful cosmopolitan life behind. They retreated for four years with their three young children into the woods of Upper Michigan in order to gain a deeper understanding of the wisdom and heritage of the Native Americans. Then he decided to go with his family on a year-long journey around the world, in search for the Keepers of the Earth. Rolf continues his work with leaders around the world, now integrating the wisdom and insights he gained from the Keepers of the Earth.
Filmmaker, Renata Heinen
After her studies in communication, Renata decided to follow her true calling: the path of a self-made free-spirited artist, expressing herself in word and image. Her versatility manifests in many different art forms: from painting on life-size canvas and found materials to metal sculptures and from writing to her current adventures in filmmaking. Living in London in her twenties, she felt drawn to the world of film and worked for a few years as an actress. It was during this period that she started writing screenplays for film. She wrote her first screenplay Walking Wounded in 2003. Her most recent screenplay Life, she has directed herself, and will be released in 2016. Renata’s raw and uncompromising writing style is a result of her drive for pure intuitive storytelling, whereby the mind only plays a secondary role. Her search for true originality and values also finds its way in her art. Renata’s desire not to conform to society’s common denominator became the drive behind the search for a change of rhythm and lifestyle for her and her family. Her encounter with the Native Americans and their connected way-of-life was an obvious fact. For four years she lived with her partner and their three small children in the woods of Upper Michigan, enjoying a life closer to nature and learning from the Native American wisdom. When the vision came to travel the world to make a film about the Keepers of the Earth, it was the ultimate project where she could bring her various roles and professional skills together in a totally open-ended adventure. With her years of experience as a storyteller and screenplay writer, Renata’s desire was to create the weft and capture the spirit of the journey. Her aim was to ensure that the film would primarily be an experience, using all cinematic means to convey the energy and connectedness of the Earth Keepers.
Composer, Stephen Warbeck
Since the early 1980s, Stephen has built up a considerable filmography. As well as writing music for more than forty television projects, (for which he has received five BAFTA nominations, including one for the highly successful series Prime Suspect), he has scored many feature films including The Other Man (2008), Proof (2005), Two Brothers (2004), Mrs Brown (1997), Mystery Men (1999), Quills (2000), Billy Elliot (2000), Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), Birthday Girl (2002) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which he won an Academy Award. Some of Stephen's notable stage productions include the National Theatre's An Inspector Calls, John Madden's production of Proof, Sam Mendes' production of To The Green Fields Beyond, both at the Donmar, and The White Devil for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has written for several shows at the Almeida, including The Triumph Of Love, Parlour Song and When The Rain Stops Falling.