Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa
USA, 2007, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Educational, Nature, Political, Social Issues, Western
In 2004, disillusioned by the U.S. presidential elections and mourning the death of their father, sibling filmmakers Jeremy and Randy Stulberg decided to get away from it all, setting off on a trek into the New Mexican desert. There they stumbled upon a makeshift community that had rejected mainstream America to form its own unique melting pot of war veterans, eco-pioneers, teenaged runaways, outlaws and other dissidents. What the Stulbergs found in this fringe enclave was the postmodern equivalent of the Wild West, whose inhabitants savored the anarchy and anonymity of life off both the electrical grid and the radar of law enforcement – even as they remained loyal to old-fashioned democratic and patriotic ideals.
What the documentarians also discovered was that they were developing a marijuana-based economy that was putting them under increasing police surveillance, a turn of events that only fueled their anti-government sentiment. Then a group of rebels calling themselves the Nowhere Kids arrived to stockpile weapons and steal food – and the principles the residents held so dear began to come under scrutiny. To protect themselves, they formed a council and implemented the rule of law –the very thing they had come to the mesa to escape.
Framed by the stark beauty of the Southwestern landscape, Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa depicts in stirring detail the even starker vagaries of the underground.
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg
Producer: Eric Juhola, Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg
Editor: Jeremy Stulberg
Screenwriter: Jeremy Stulberg, Randy Stulberg
Cinematographer: Reed Morano, Isabel Vega, Liz Rubin, Ari Issler
Principal Cast: Dreadie Jeff, Mama Phyllis, Maine