Category Archives: blog

Out of the Maya Tombs released!

Out of the Maya Tombs is now available from Documentary Educational Resources. This institutionally licensed 2-DVD package includes the 96 min. director’s cut and an abridged 54 min. version. Also exclusively in this set are 9 bonus short films including a look at the remarkable and often dangerous career of explorer Ian Graham, the story from smuggler Lee Moore of looting a temple facade, and the complexities faced by curators in addressing UNESCO accords.


Proteus re-mastered and now available for rent, streaming and download!

Re-mastered from 35mm, Proteus is now available in HD for rent, streaming and download! Proteus explores the 19th century’s engagement with the undersea world through technology, painting, poetry and myth. The central figure is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel, who found in the depths of the sea an ecstatic and visionary fusion of science and art. His work influenced art nouveau and surrealism, Freud, Lenin and Edison.

Tanka restored & now on DVD/streaming/download!

Tanka restored & now on DVD/streaming/download!


Tanka, an animated journey through the image world of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is now available on DVD, download and streaming. Photographed from Tibetan scroll paintings of the 16th – 19th centuries, this 1976 film is a cyclical vision of ancient gods and demons. Digitally restored from 16mm master. Available now at


2015 wrap up – a great year of screenings!

(Photo from screening/panel discussion at the Getty Center: Claire Lyons, J. Paul Getty Museum; David Lebrun, Night Fire Films;
Sofía Paredes Maury, La Ruta Maya Foundation; Kevin Terraciano, UCLA; Matthew Robb, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Dance of the Maize God screened at over a dozen festivals, museums and universities around the world in 2015 including at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Royal Anthropological Institute in the UK, and the International Film Festival of Archaeology in Nyon, Switzerland. For more information, go to the Screenings page.

Rare Linda Schele interview clips to be presented at Cal State LA symposium

Rare Linda Schele interview clips to be presented at Cal State LA symposium

David Lebrun will present never before seen excerpts from his interview with Linda Schele, filmed in 1997 for Breaking the Maya Code, at the Mesoamerican Symposium at California State University Los Angeles on April 10, 2015.

The 2-day symposium is devoted to the life and work of Maya scholar Linda Schele and will feature speakers from around the world.

Screen shot 2014-02-04 at 6.18.47 PM

Getty Institute Dance of the Maize God panel now online

Getty Institute Dance of the Maize God panel now online

The Getty Research Institute hosted a screening of Dance of the Maize God in February, followed by a panel discussion with Claire Lyons of the J. Paul Getty Museum, director of the film David Lebrun, Sofía Paredes Maury of Fundación La Ruta Maya, Kevin Terraciano from UCLA and Matthew Robb from the de Young Museum in San Francisco. In case you missed it, you can now watch the post-screening conversation online on YouTube or on the Getty Institute web site.

Night Fire Films In Berlin

Night Fire Films In Berlin

David Lebrun and Amy Halpern of Night Fire Films traveled to Berlin in January to participate in a two-day seminar at the Ethnologisches Museum, the world’s largest museum of ethnography. The seminar featured screenings of “Breaking the Maya Code” and “Dance of the Maize God”. Here’s David’s report on the event:

“The Ethnologische Museum and the Asiatic Museum are currently located in Dahlem, a suburb 45 minutes by subway from central Berlin. This placement is a relic of the cold war and a divided Berlin, and has placed these magnificent museums far off the beaten track for most Berlin visitors. Plans are underway to move both museums to a new site on the grounds of the former Berlin royal palace, right next to the “Museum Island” that houses five other major Berlin museums. This huge new museum will be called the Humboldt-Forum.

“The museums in Dahlemwill close some time in 2016, and the new museum will not open until at least 2019. For all those interested in Mesoamerican art and archaeologywho have never visited the DahlemMuseums, we strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to do so before they close. This extraordinary collection features the objects brought back to Germany by Alexander vonHumbolt and Eduard Seler, among many others. Amy and I spent four days photographing inthe vast Mesoamerica room, and at the end of four days we were still discovering new treasures.


“The new museum will have more space for overall collections, including South American collections that have never been displayed, but will have much less space for Mesoamerica. So — much of what is now on view will, alas, go into storage. See it before it disappears!

“The two-day seminar, entitled “Breaking Mesoamerican Codes”, examined the role of the Mesoamerican collections in the new museum. While the current Mesoamerican installation is comprehensive, the new installation will be focused on writing and communications systems in Mesoamerica.

“A day of papers on museum plans and Mesoamerican writing systems was followed by a “Long Film Night” (apparently a Berlin institution), in this case featuring a screening of “Dance of the Maize God” followed by a panel discussion featuring myself, documentary director Carola Weider, Mayanist Mark Zender, and Margarete von Ess, Director of the Baghdad Field Office of the German Institute of Archaeology and director of excavations at Uruk-Warka. After the seminar and a brief reception the evening continued with a screening of the two-hour “Dance of the Maize God”. About 30 hardy souls actually made it to the end of the five-hour marathon!


“The next day we joined Mesoamerican scholars Mark Zender, Albert Davelshin and Javier Urcid, Museum Director Viola Koenig and Mesoamerican Curator Maria Gaida in examining select objects in the galleries and in the storage rooms that will be featured in the new museum, discussing their texts and iconography and how interactive media can be used to dramatize their meaning for museum viewers. For us amateur Mayanists, spending a day interacting with these brilliant scholars and extraordinary objects was a real treat.”