Most-Watched Documentary at MipDoc 2012 Cannes

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December 21, 2012. This date, identified by the Maya nearly 1,400 years ago, has in recent years become the source of great curiosity and debate. Some believe it will bring catastrophic events. Others, an era of enlightenment.

But what did the ancient Maya themselves believe? In 2012: The Beginning, we travel the world to examine what the Sacred Maya texts really say.

At the ruins of Copán, Honduras, we go where few individuals and even fewer cameras have gone: 20 meters underground, to the spectacularly preserved, 1,600-year-old Margarita Temple. In Dresden, Germany, we examine the famed Dresden Codex, one of only three remaining authenticated manuscripts of theancient Maya, and the earliest known book from the Americas. In Guatemala, the veil is lifted from the mysterious world of Maya shamanism. And in México, we investigate the little-seen Tortuguero Monument 6, the only known inscription citing this much-storied date. What will we learn about the lost world of an ancient civilization? About the future of our own?

Throughout, our journey is guided by noted archaeologists, scholars, and the living Maya, who take us into the field—to the very origins of the Maya Long Count calendar—and into their lives and sacred ceremonies. Together, these people from very different worlds shed light on a date that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Featuring: John Major Jenkins; Geoff Stray; Tata José Soc Chivalán; Lina Barrios; Robert Sitler; Tata Pedro Cruz García; Edwin Barnhart; Michael J. Grofe; Barbara MacLeod; AumRak; David W. Sedat; Ac Tah; and the Maya of Honduras, México, and Guatemala

Running time: 52 minutes

Bonus features: 27 minutes

DVD format: Available only in NTSC Region Free. If you live outside of North America, Japan, or Brazil, please make certain your DVD player will work with this format. Most PAL players made in the last 15 years will play NTSC formatted disks.