What if you could reverse The Clock and ask your great-great-grandparents to pass on a family recipe, an old tribal song, a story, or festivity? Admit it. It'd be cool to take that rich past and somehow adapt it for a more flavorful present. For many in Turkey today, The Clock is at that pivotal moment.

Social and economic forces are swiftly changing traditional culture in Turkey's Kachkar mountain highlands. Three generations now straddle the not-yet-forgotten past and the globally connected tomorrow. 

Which cultural distinctions will remain, which will vanish, and which will be redefined in an urban context?

Dance the Past into the Future gives voice to those living at the intersections that will determine their people's history and future. These challenges transcend Turkey's highlands culture and confront modern humankind with the price of progress. Their stories compel us all to appreciate and nurture what we already have but maybe didn't realize.


The documentary follows both villagers and metropolitans as they venture to high-altitude plateaus in the summer. We learn why they make the journey now versus why they did in the past. We experience regional distinctions such as the energetic Horon dance, the Vartavor Festival, Tulum bagpipe music, livestock migration, handmade wood and stone multi-family homes, and traditional clothing. Local Hemsin, Laz, and Turkish people wrestle with and explain their own role in the unfolding story of highlands traditions and modern lifestyles.

As an audience immersed in the experiences unique to individuals, we are able to connect our own humanity to theirs. We relate ourselves to the battle between our own quest for meaningful roots and transcendent self-identities versus the irresistible draw of modern materialism, education, and technology. By balancing this tug-and-pull, what roots can we plant today for generations after us?

Will the children in northeast Turkey grow up to return to the highlands for summer festivals or find themselves too busy with metropolitan life? Will any of us pause for a moment and embrace what we currently have in our families and communities and make it a point to pass on all that is good, noble, fun, and transcendent?



Dance the Past into the Future



Mario Mattei


Logan McAdams


John Machado


Mark Stewart


David Hildreth