Dominica | 2019 | 72 mins
Disenchanted with the modern world, Michael Lees heads into the forest of Dominica with some basic survival gear, religious texts, a camera, and questions: “Why did man ever leave the forest? And what makes for a good life?”
Just as he starts to acclimatize to his new life – the unexpected: Category 5 Hurricane Maria, one of the top ten Atlantic hurricanes in history, makes direct landfall. Michael must ride out the hurricane in his palm leaf and bamboo hut. With the nation in ruins, the forest destroyed, and essential services knocked out islandwide, the entire country must now return to a past way of life if its inhabitants hope to survive.
Uncivilized, is an adventure, as much as it is a meditation on the necessities of a good life – a timely question in an age of climate change and over-consumption.
Michael Lees is a Dominican filmmaker whose films explore themes of environmentalism and spirituality, aiming to connect the dots in the “bigger picture.” Michael attended UNC Chapel Hill, where he spent the first half of his college career studying business at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, later switching his major from business to film. Lees has written, shot, and edited for clients ranging from Billboard to UNICEF.