Jason Lehel, USA 2009, 117’

A young woman is running through the desert. She drops out of exhaustion. In the morning, local Indians find her and one of them takes her in no questions asked, allowing her to recover. Who is the mystery woman? Where did she come from and why is she traveling alone through the desert? We learn shards of her biography from retrospectives and she has certainly suffered. The Indian community accepts her, but is that enough to deal with her past? Can she adapt to life on the reservation? Will she finally find peace?

Gaia is a hypnotizing film that owes its power to images and music. Sparse dialogues force the audience to focus on the main character and her emotions. Gaia is an experiment, shot without script, following instinct elicited in the location, nature, and local people. As director Jason Lehel explains, I’ve always been fascinated by the question: where does art come from? Does it come from the intellect, instinct, the ‘sea of universal unconsciousness’? Likely all. However, having had 30 years of ‘commercial’ filmmaking, where the artistic expression is so thought out, planned and controlled, I was more interested in exploring the latter.

Magdalena Sztorc

Jason Lehel

A cinematographer with 30 years of experience in the advertising and music video industries, and has worked on numerous short films. He received an Oscar nomination for his cinematography on The Child Eater (1989). Founder of Open Eye Productions and W.A.I.F., he directed his first short, Boiling Point, in 1993. Gaia is his feature-length debut.

Selected filmography

1993 Boiling Point (kr. m. / short)

1996 Eating Bitter (kr. m. / short)

2005 Nobody’s Hero (kr. m. / short)

2009 Gaia

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Cast & Crew

director Jason Lehel
screenplay Jason Lehel
cinematography Jason Lehel
editing Jeff Harkavy
music The Angel
cast Emily Lape, Ed Mendoza, Jerica Fraijo, Deswood Etsitty, Cynthia Adkisson, Michael C. Pierce, Lisa Vachon, Anton Hepler
producer Jason Lehel, John Buckley Gordon
production Chutney Starfish Prods. Inc., ContentFilm International, W.A.I.F.
sales ContentFilm International
language English
coloration colour
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