: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


A film about Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach, and the connection between physics, opera, and human imagination.


The Earth Moves travels through decades of Einstein on the Beach performances, culminating in its final remounting at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2012. With unparalleled access to the original artists, it celebrates Glass and Wilson’s revolutionary vision and shows the work’s context and artistic impact: from visual arts, poetry, and dance to classical composition and modern physics.


Iconic, groundbreaking, game changing, genre defying––these are just a few phrases used to describe Einstein on the Beach, a rarely performed avant-garde opera created by composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson. Called an "opera" because no other term comes close, the four and a half hour work breaks all of the rules of conventional opera and abandons narrative and traditional orchestral arrangements. Through Einstein on the Beach, Glass and Wilson reshaped the old and classical form of opera into something completely new. Over the last 35 years, four productions of Einstein on the Beach have toured across the globe from New York and Tokyo to Paris and Melbourne. The work was revolutionary when it was first performed and is now considered one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century. Like Einstein on the Beach, The Earth Moves offers us a lens for viewing the creative process in both art and science. As such, the film has four-act structure, and each act serves as a frame of reference to explore the opera from a different perspective. Those interviewed include: Lucinda Childs, Richard Serra, Laurie Anderson, members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Christopher Knowles, Wayne Koestenbaum, John Rockwell, physicist Lee Smolin, and key cast and crew members of the opera’s most recent production.


John Walter - Director, Editor
I am a director and editor based in New York City. My first feature-length documentary How To Draw A Bunny about the artist Ray Johnson won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Documentary. In 2008, I directed and edited Theater Of War, a film about Bertolt Brecht starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, which the New York Times called “Inspired, inspiring”. I have also directed projects for Comedy Central, the Independent Film Channel, the Sundance Channel, PBS, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In addition, I have edited several critically acclaimed documentaries including Amir Bar-Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That (2007) and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story (2009). Most recently, I edited Amir Bar-Lev’s four-hour documentary feature Long Strange Trip, about the Grateful Dead, which premiered at Sundance in 2017, sold to Amazon and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2017.

Lianne Halfon, Mr. Mudd Productions - Producer
Lianne Halfon is an acclaimed film producer, and principal of Mr Mudd Productions. Credits include Juno, Young Adult, Ghost World, Perks of Being A Wallflower, Art School Confidential, and How To Draw A Bunny.

John Malkovich, Mr. Mudd Productions - Executive Producer
John Gavin Malkovich is an American actor, director, and producer. He has appeared in more than 70 films. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has also appeared in films such as Empire of the Sun, The Killing Fields, Con Air, The Sheltering Sky, Of Mice and Men, Rounders, Ripley's Game, Knockaround Guys, Being John Malkovich, Shadow of the Vampire, Burn After Reading, Red, Red 2, Mulholland Falls, Dangerous Liaisons, and Warm Bodies, as well as producing films such as Ghost World, Juno, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Vanessa Gould - Producer
VANESSA GOULD is a filmmaker, editor and camera operator working in Brooklyn. Gould recently completed OBIT, a feature-length documentary about The New York Times obituaries and their writer-reporters. OBIT world-premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and will be released by Kino Lorber in 2017. In 2012–2013, she produced and shot for Showtime's Emmy®-winning Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series about climate change executive produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gould's previous film Between the Folds premiered on PBS’s Independent Lens in December 2009 and was re-broadcast the following season. In 2010, it received a Peabody Award. Between the Folds has been translated into more than ten languages and broadcast in dozens of countries on NHK, CBC, ABC, EBS, NRK, SF, SVT, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, and other networks. It screened at more than forty-five international film festivals and was recognized with numerous audience and jury awards. She was a featured presenter at the EG 2010 conference in Monterey, California, and serves on the jury for the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, as well as on several festival juries. She studied piano at the New England Conservatory, and art history, architecture and physics at Columbia University. She paints occasionally, and collects folk and traditional music from around the world.

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) - Executive Producer
The Brooklyn Academy of Music has been presenting cutting edge contemporary art, theater, opera, dance and music longer than any other cultural institution in the United States. In 1984 it presented the historic production of Einstein on the Beach as part of the Next Wave Festival and brought the Pomegranate Arts production in 2012 for its 150th anniversary. Due to its regard as a preeminent cultural institution, BAM’s programs have had a major impact on the arts in New York City and beyond.


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