Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin

Directed by Arwen Curry
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A note from filmmaker Arwen Curry:

As a kid I was blessed with parents who loved books, and especially lucky that Ursula K. Le Guin was one of the names on the shelf. I spent hours immersed in the legendary author’s fantastical worlds. Le Guin’s work remained important to me as I grew up into a documentary filmmaker who was challenged, in my work, to explore the other worlds we brush past every day. I kept coming back to the story of that great writer-magician who first set me on the path.

Now I’m here to ask for your help in completing WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN, my feature documentary about Le Guin’s life, work, and legacy.

For the past seven years, I’ve had the tremendous honor of filming dozens of hours with Ms. Le Guin, now 86. My exceptional team includes post-production supervisor Camille Servan-Schreiber (The Rape of Europa), cinematographer Andrew Black (Fahrenheit 911, Weather Underground), and consulting producer Jason Cohn, co-director of the Peabody Award-winning American Masters film EAMES: The Architect and the Painter.

The time for this film is now. This summer, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN a prestigious production grant. This gives us an enormous push toward completing the hour-long documentary, which is aimed for broad public television, web, DVD, and educational distribution.

Our Kickstarter campaign ended March 4, having raised an astounding $234,202 from 3185 backers.  Thanks to everyone for your remarkable support!

About Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin defiantly held her ground on the frontier of American letters until the sheer excellence of her work finally forced the mainstream to embrace fantastic literature. By elevating science fiction from mind candy to serious speculation, she opened doors for younger mainstream writers like Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, and Jonathan Lethem to explore fantastic elements in their work.

In the film, we’ll accompany Le Guin on an intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author, inspiring generations of women and other marginalized writers along the way. To tell this story, the film reaches into the past as well as the future – to a childhood steeped in the myths and stories of disappeared Native peoples Le Guin absorbed as the daughter of prominent California anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and author Theodora Kroeber.

Le Guin’s story allows audiences to reflect on science fiction’s unique role in American culture, as a conduit for our utopian dreams, apocalyptic fears, and tempestuous romance with technology. More than ever, we need to perform the kinds of thought experiments that Le Guin pioneered, to ask how we should behave as our technologies transform us beyond the wildest dreams of our grandparents.

We’re working toward an enduring, thoughtful, and gorgeous documentary by the middle of 2017. We can succeed with your help. Thank you for reading, for contributing if you can, and for spreading the word, through all of your worlds, about WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN.

—Arwen Curry

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Arwen Curry is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied documentary film with Jon Else (Cadillac Desert, The Day After Trinity). Curry’s first documentary, Stuffed, co-produced with Cerissa Tanner, took viewers into the lives and homes of compulsive hoarders to better understand our mysterious connection to the things we own. Curry is associate producer of the documentary Regarding Susan Sontag. She has worked with Academy Award-nominated director Justine Shapiro (Promises), and continues to work with Academy Award-nominated director Sam Green (The Weather Underground) on his “live documentary” Utopia in Four Movements. Curry has also worked in magazines and radio (including the WNYC syndicated show “Radio Lab.”