"if you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. now put foundations under them."
The germ of this film emerged from the 2008 financial crisis. At that time Brooklyn-based director Alex Harvey had been looking to collaborate with childhood friends, Hollywood screenwriter Adam Chanzit, and Denver’s renowned composer/animator Laura Goldhamer. Being all three Colorado natives they wanted to tell a story about the recession and the ubiquitous tug of war between Wild Nature and Human Nature. A transcendental hunch lead them to Thoreau. They reread Walden expecting to encounter a tribute to trees and hills and instead found a forceful critique of a society mired in spiritual and material debt. It felt like Henry was talking directly to 2010 – drawing blueprints of his own sub-prime mortgage crisis as a warning. Additionally, of course, Thoreau was mandating a transubstantiation of spirit through physical contact with the natural world. Anyone who had grown up in Colorado needed no convincing that returning in solitude in the rocky mountains was a genuinely effective way to pay off spiritual debt, but no one at the time seemed to be talking about Thoreau – not in New York, not in Los Angeles and not in Colorado. Alex gathered Laura and Adam and the three began to build the structure of a contemporary film narrative on the literary classic's themes and imagery.