The 2012 apocalypse scenario is all wrong, say filmmakers

No matter what happens, we'll all stay together," John Cusack tells his loved ones in 2012, the apocalyptic 2009 movie showing the end the world. It's dramatic, and so is the trailer for that movie, which advises viewers to "Find out the truth, search 2012."

But if you Google "2012" or even "Mayan 2012," you'll be greeted by 1.9 million end-of-times conspiracy sites. None of them tell the truth, say two Colorado filmmakers.

Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Engle, husband-and-wife creators of the new documentary 2012: The True Mayan Prophecy, say those doomsayers are full of it, intent on cashing in on fear. And they've got real-life Mayans to back up their claims.

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"The Mayans are getting more and more ticked off by all of the people who are using 'The Mayans say that the world is going to end in 2012' to rake in billions of dollars," says Engle.

The two founded the PeaceJam foundation in the mid-'90s and met Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a real-life Mayan who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, on a trip to Guatemala. At the request of Menchú Tum, they're telling what they say is the only accurate version of the Mayan 2012 prophecy: that the world is in disrepair and that humanity needs to do its best to fix it.

Suvanjieff and Engle's 49-minute documentary is part History Channel lesson, part man-on-the-street interview and part expert interview, including sit-downs with Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and a group of Mayan elders to discuss what they think the 2012 end-of-days scenario means; the film incorporates footage the two have shot over fifteen years of working with Nobel Prize winners during PeaceJam events. It's enlightening, to be sure, and while it lacks the intrigue and excitement of a true apocalyptic scenario (i.e., no tidal waves or volcanic eruptions), it makes for a noble effort.

The genesis of this documentary came in November 2009, when Menchú Tum was in Denver for a PeaceJam fundraiser. People kept asking her questions about 2012, Engle recalls, and she said, 'I really think that Hollywood is doing something bad by making people think the world is going to end. If people in Hollywood want to end it in 2012, that's fine, but they need to make a big donation to humanity before they die.'

Menchú Tum and the Mayan elders returned to Colorado in July, for appearances at the Denver Biennial as well as a workshop on 2012 at Naropa University in Boulder. The audience there wanted easy answers — Are the 2012 bloggers and writers correct? Will the world end in two years? they asked. They were very frustrated with this, says Suvanjieff of the Mayans' trip.

The documentary — which debuts at this week — explains the Mayan calendar and how the end-of-the-world prophecy came to be. And Suvanjieff and Engle think they've got the upper hand when it comes to whose prediction should be believed — which is why the works of Boulder-based author and 2012 blogger John Major Jenkins aren't mentioned in the movie. "We didn't want to propagate misinformation," Engle says. "We wanted to let the Mayans speak for themselves."

The only opposing views cited in the film are those of José Argüelles, maker of the thirteen-month Dreamspell calendar, which is based on the Mayan calendar; and Terrence McKenna, the new-age writer who wrote on LSD and predicted the world would end in 2012. "We wanted to show where the hysteria came from," Engle explains.

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