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This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2011

Moving Mountains: Land Arts of the American West (working title)

by Sam Douglas


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Moving Mountains: Land Arts of the American West (working title) is a feature length documentary film exploring the evolution of Land Art in the West from early indigenous people to the Earthworks of the late sixties by major artists like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer to the educational program known as Land Arts of the American West that uses the mythical western landscape as its classroom. We are trying to raise a minimum of $12,500 to pay for 1 week of shooting, which includes costs for film crew personnel, equipment and travel.  Everything beyond the $12,500 minimum goal will be applied toward funding the rest of the shooting schedule. 

The film Moving Mountains exists in a space between a road trip of discovery, a portrait of an arts movement and an exploration of human interaction with a spectacular landscape.  The film chronicles a group of students on their journey as part of Texas Tech University’s Land Arts of the American West program, traveling over 8,000 miles in two months through Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.  It’s what the program’s co-founder Chris Taylor calls “a semester abroad in your own backyard.”  We see their awareness of the environment evolve over the course of the trip, capturing the moments when perceptions shift, horizons broaden and the creative process blossoms.

Their expedition serves as the main thread running through the film. Along the journey their visits to Earthworks such as Spiral Jetty and the Lightning Field prompt scenes that go further into the work and philosophy of artists like Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Walter DeMaria, James Turrell and Donald Judd, among others.  The challenges they encounter along the way—from getting lost in the Bonneville Salt Flats to building temporary works of art in a decommissioned, wind-swept Air Force Base to witnessing the polluted wastewater pools at an abandoned Uranium mine—spawn scenes that delve deeper into how land art can be a powerful mediator between ecology and industry to help forge a sustainable and enriching future for all of us in the West and beyond.

This 1-week film shoot will take place in September 2011, and I thank you for considering a donation to the project!


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    • July 16, 2011 Bill Daniel Artist

      Sam, I'm a total fan. Citizen Architect is completely brilliant and inspiring. I also caught your Holy Modal Rounders doc somewhere out there (Iowa City?), it's also a dear film. Keep on!

    • July 14, 2011 Matthew Moore Artist

      I wish I had this class when I was a young buck...Great project, thanks for documenting our dusty backyards. And love the Industrial Ag research, although I am a little bias :) Good luck

    • July 13, 2011 burt Community Member

      Had fun meeting Sam and Jack in Marfa. Molly and I look forward to seeing you again and your project being successful.

    • May 21, 2011 Robert Pat Harris Artist

      Great project. How was Roden crater & the Lightning field? Way to go! Robert Pat Harris