RING OF FIRE:
AN INDONESIAN ODYSSEY

“This is a documentary like none you’ve ever seen. Lorne and Lawrence Blair – two English-born, Mexican-raised, slightly but pleasantly crazy brothers – show us wow-inspiring highlights from their10-year exploration of the Indonesian islands… Many things make this series special: the brothers treat their hosts in these strange lands as humans, not curiosity items…most of all, they just show you phenomenal scenes you’ve never seen before and couldn’t see without them.. and you will be treated to one truly magnificent adventure. Grade A.
— PEOPLE MAGAZINE
A vivid Indonesian odyssey… ADVENTURE sets sail and sights for lands as unfamiliar and spectacular as anything dreamed up for a Steven Spielberg movie…Thoroughly fascinating nearly every harrowing step of the way… it is not the style of the Blairs to indulge in anthropological voyeurism, however, they neither patronize nor romanticize the primitivism of the cultures they visit…The brothers are engaging and eloquent guides… Under the right circumstances, television can be a bold expeditionary force: with ‘RING OF FIRE’, Public Television and ‘ADVENTURE’ find themselves under the right circumstances once more.
— Tom Shales, THE WASHINGTON POST
As close as anyone could come to the perfect PBS show.
— Merril Panitt, TV GUIDE
In another age the Blair brothers might have been Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Thor Heyerdahl, Lewis and Clark, Stanley and Livingstone… Hypnotically into four one-hour documentaries that are part eye-popping travelogue, part living record of people and places untouched by the last 50,000 years of technological development, and part incomparable adventure teeming with thrills, chills, mystery and the bizarre… But perhaps the real value of the work is etched in the faces of the adventurers themselves, whose Indiana Jones-like real lives are as much a part of the films as are the lives of the native peoples and lands they visited. Not only will the audience see the brothers age over the course of 10 years, but it also will watch them become a part of the strange places they set out to capture on film. And the integration of these two white, English brothers into some of the most foreign societies imaginable does, after awhile, begin to resonate with the possibilities afforded to humankind when individuals are willing to risk opening their minds to the unfathomable.
— Steve Weinstein, Los Angeles Times

Myths, magic & monsters

A series of four one-hour adventure documentaries written and presented by Dr. Lawrence Blair (of Myths Monsters and Hobbits) – an explorer/anthropologist who is a long-time resident and expert on Indonesia.  The series is a startling weave of vivid high definition contemporary film, rare historical footage of trance and tribal rites, together with linking animation. They are true fairy stories, for children of all ages, as well as real adventures, shot under duress, in often hazardous circumstances, which still manage to bear witness to a number of creatures and human events never previously filmed or even seen before.


ISLAND OF THE DOGS

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Viewing downloads of Island of the Dogs are available here

A 55 minute, wide-screen HD documentary for international television.

A film about the semi-feral dogs of Bali, and our changing attitudes towards conquering nature and bending her to our will.

The term ‘Island of the Gods’ was coined by the first outside visitors to rediscover Bali in the l920’s and ’30’s (Charlie Chaplin, Margaret Meade, Noel Coward etc.).   The term was happily adopted by the tourist industry decades later. But it’s only half true, for Bali is equally an Island of the Demons, and the dogs embody the Dark Side.

Bali’s dogs are not as other dogs.  For ten centuries and more they have lived not just outside the homes, but beyond the village walls in semi feral packs: diseased and scavenging. Six hundred thousand of them, one to every five people, roamed the island: a law unto themselves.  They are traditionally sacrificed at certain ceremonies, are ritually eaten, and appear throughout the island iconography as the lowest of the low.   And to the nascent tourist industry, they are an open wound in the island paradise.    Thus Bali’s dogs were used to getting the raw end of the stick by the time rabies reached the island in 2008, and the government responded with a ferocious campaign to kill them ALL in order to kill the disease.

Over a two-year period, 150,000 dogs were massacred, and more than a 100 humans had died of rabies, yet the disease continued to spread.    The authorities remained impervious to the logic of World Health Organization experts on rabies, who pointed out that culling 70% of the dogs was the only solution, and that attempting to kill them all had never worked, anywhere in the world.  At this point the world’s experts on genetics, at UC Davies, California, pointed out that the reviled dogs of Bali are the richest gene pool of genetic diversity in all of dogdom, and can trace their ancestry right back to the proto dogs, whereas all our ‘breed’ dogs are barely a couple of centuries old. 

The film’s locations include Bali, Australia and the United States, and features interviews with Balinese high priests on the ancient roles of dogs and man, current world experts on dog genetics, ecology and rabies control, and owners of the remarkable dogs which, largely unrecognized, have such high scientific value and yet face immanent extinction. We ask the question:  if we can’t get on with the dog, our closest of natural companions, what hope have we with nature herself?

Through the dogs of Bali this film simultaneously explores the clash of cultures and traditions, and the shifting relationship between man and nature, everywhere, in this changing world.