Headlands Lookout is a film centred on the Marin Headlands, a dramatic stretch of Pacific coastline at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
The film traverses the area's cultural and natural landscape, exploring and documenting a "˜wild' National Park landscape mediated by human activity. From hills shrouded in atmospheric fog to singular details of place, the film presents literal and figurative echoes of the area's history and cultural significance.
The entire terrain is a former strategic military site, and the redwood valleys were home to the Bay Area's influential writers, artists and environmentalists in the 1960s. Deploying a layered approach, the film makes compositional links and allusions between these seemingly disparate worlds. Locations range from the concrete architecture of gun emplacements and Cold War missile sites to the dense woodland valley where nature is slowly reclaiming the derelict buildings of a 1960s 'counterculture' community, Druid Heights - including the abandoned, circular library of Zen philosopher Alan Watts.
The film soundtrack features archive recordings of Alan Watts, and his ideas on ecology and society, alongside poetry by former Druid Heights residents Gary Snyder and Elsa Gidlow, and Bay Area poet Michael McClure.
The film is punctuated throughout by contemporary call records to the Marin County Sheriff, reflecting the community's day-to-day life and recreational activity, set against a backdrop of ever-present nature and delineated landscapes.