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U.S.A., 2009, 113 mins, Color (Sexual Content, Adult Content, Language, Nudity)


Director/Writer: Jason Lehel 
Executive Producer: Rufus Burnham 
Producers:Jason Lehel, John Buckley Gordon 
Cinematographer:Jason Lehel 
Editor:Jeff Harkavy 
Sound: Derek Leininger 
Cast: Emily Lape, Ed Mendoza, Jerica Fraijio, Deswood Etsitty


The opening shots of Gaia show us a cold, dark desert night. Along a flat horizon, we see the faintly perceptible shadows of cacti and a mysterious form, barely moving. Soon that form becomes larger and upright, and a young woman emerges like a creature from the sea, heading unsteadily toward the dawn.

She doesn't make it very far. In the full light of morning, the young woman, Em, is found by a group of Native Americans. Asking no questions, they take her to the home that one of their members, Ed (Ed Mendoza), shares with his granddaughter Jerica (Jerica Fraijo) on a Native American reservation in Southern Arizona, feeding Em and letting her sleep. When she comes out of the house a few days later, she asks if she can stay with them awhile. They say yes, and thus begins a story of survival, grief and recovery.

During her first few days on the reserve, Em is still a woman near death. Thin, twitchy and empty, she initially finds pleasure and solace with the young Jerica. As the days pass, she grows healthier in body and mind, but events from her past that brought her to this point start to claim her spirit again. She is embraced by the community of the reservation, however, and this plays a vital role in exorcising her demons.

    --2009 Toronto International Film Festival
Jason Lehel
Jason Lehel has worked extensively as a cinematographer on advertisements, music videos and films, including the Academy Award®-nominated short film The Child Eater (89). He is the founder of the production companies Open Eye Productions, which was established in London in 1996, and W.A.I.F., which opened in Los Angeles in 2007. He has directed the short films Boiling Point (93), Eating Bitter (96) and Nobody's Hero (05). Gaia (09) is his first feature film.
06/12/10 09:00 AMVenue 4 (HS)
Saugatuck High School #2
401 Elizabeth Street
06/13/10 02:00 PMVenue 4 (HS)
Saugatuck High School #2
401 Elizabeth Street