The Source Family was a tribe of young people who operated a restaurant and lived in a Beverly Hills mansion commune in the 1970s. Directors Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulous are bringing their documentary about the Source Family to this year’s SXSW Festival. Wille says she hopes audiences take away the understanding that “living your dreams fearlessly and seeking wisdom can lead to an authentic, extraordinary life.”
What It’s About: An ecstatic 70s utopian experiment set in L.A. with a restaurant, a rock band, and a wizard. Their demise is harsh, but the spirit lives on.
Director Jodi Wille on the Source Family: “The Source Family was one of thousands of communes and utopian groups from the 70s. But none were quite as stylish, outlandish, or creatively prolific as the Source Family, and none documented themselves so extensively.
“In the 70s mainstream press, there was an anti-cult backlash after Manson. This included spiritual groups and communes, which were often portrayed as dangerous drug dens or failures. It’s not that these situations didn’t have their flaws, but often they profoundly transformed the worldviews of those who participated, a number of whom, including Steve Jobs and Stewart Brand, went on to become some of the great visionaries of our time. Many intentional communities exist today all over the world, promoting more advanced ideas of sustainability and cooperative living and showing ways to live more meaningfully.”
Wille on the directors’ backgrounds: “Maria’s a commercial director and produced one of my favorite documentaries, ‘GLAMAZON,’ a film about a sixty year-old Appalachian transsexual. I was a music video director and rock band photographer in the 90s, then I co-founded two book publishing companies, Dilettante Press and Process. Many of our books are like documentaries in print, and once Isis Aquarian showed me her massive film and photo archive when we were creating THE SOURCE book, it seemed like a natural thing to make a movie.”
Director Maria Demopoulos: “[The biggest challenge was] condensing the story, which is so multi-layered and dense, into a ninety-eight minute film, and editing down Isis Aquarian’s extraordinary archive of family home movies, images, audio, music and scrapbooks.”
What Wille expects in Austin: “Good people, good movies, Texan hospitality, foot rubs.”
Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.