I love getting great videos that feature Icelandic nature. One of these came recently to me from Katie Teague from the US. She visited Iceland for the first time in June 2016 and stayed in the country during the height of the midnight sun. During this visit she filmed the Iceland short film Gaia´s Dance. Katie has previously created the social issue documentary Money & Life which was voted the best social issue documentary in the 2014 Atlanta Docufest. She was also one of the collaborating filmmakers on the Sundance film 99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I interviewed Katie about her film making and her new Iceland short film.
Hello Katie and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, please tell me about your background.
Born and raised in the U.S. I am a wandering mystic/visual storyteller/award winning filmmaker/time-lapse photographer. I am a sacred activist for Mother Life. In my earlier days I was a psychotherapist and shifted to film making following the call of my own heart and creative becoming and seeing visual storytelling as a great means to tend and heal the soul of the world. I bring years of study in depth psychology, human development and the world’s wisdom traditions to my work as a multi-media mystic. I am committed to reclaiming and following inner wisdom and busting paradigms of business-as-usual as we collectively (as humans) move into a new planetary epoch. My work in the digital media arts is dedicated to Beauty as medicine for the messy modern world and to telling the emerging story of humanity and bringing inspired transformational media to the social change process.
Tell me about your Iceland short film?
I journeyed to Iceland twice in 2016: once during the Midnight Sun and then again just this September. Both trips were spent mostly outdoors time-lapse photographing the amazing landscapes of Iceland. While spending hours in quiet meditative postures, I experienced direct apprehension of our planet as an alive being, quite literally feeling the elements looking back at me, whispering to me. The soul of Iceland seems to have a quickening on the soul of the human. This was so for me. As the land of fire and ice, where more new earth is created (per the volcanic nature of island) the time-space of Iceland opens us to ancient futures.
Why do you think Iceland is such a popular destination?
People are flocking now to Iceland and sometimes I think it is a call of our collective soul, that we are being drawn by forces we don’t even recognize, that people are visiting in great numbers for reasons they don’t really know and we just call it “tourism.” It is deeper than the surface of the Earth, deeper than the obvious beauty — but sometimes it starts here.
What do you find most noteworthy about Iceland?
There is a purity and creativity in the place itself of Iceland. This vibrates these frequencies in our own bodies and hearts. I felt and contemplated this during my time in Iceland. I felt charged to begin somehow to transmit this in a short film from my visual harvest. “Gaia’s Dance” is what came of these contemplation. This Iceland short film features Gaia as the personification and literal being the Living Earth, our universal Mother. Her perpetual motion and
evolution is the dance we, as humans, are an integral part of.
What inspired you to visit Iceland?
Iceland seems to be on every photographer’s list these days. There are so many amazing visuals coming out of Iceland that are going viral on the various social networks that is putting Iceland more and more in the awareness of our collective consciousness. This is certainly what inspired me.
Your challenges in your project?
The overall creation was a culmination of two 2 week trips, plus a couple weeks of organizing and editing the time-lapse photos. Then the great moment of sitting down to edit the actual short film, which is a great joy by this time that feels akin to being a painter finally ready to put some color on the canvas. The challenges are many at each stage of the process. The actual recording in Iceland probably being the most challenging per the extreme weather conditions. It’s tough being out there at crazy hours of the night especially in very cold weather, fumbling with equipment. It can be very frustrating and tests ones’ patience and commitment.
Do you have tips to those wanting to visit Iceland?
Bring layers of clothes!! Meet and speak the locals. Be curious. Stay in one spot long enough to hear the land and waters speak to you. Greet the place as a living being. Visit the Highlands. And please walk with awareness, with kindness and gratitude in each step. Be humble. Leave no trace. Receive the immense beauty. And give back.