Embracing the spirit of the counterculture revolution during the Summer of Love, wealthy businessman Don McCoy starts a hippie commune at Rancho Olompali, a storied estate in Marin County, California. Calling themselves the “Chosen Family,” the eclectic group of friends and family form their own school, bake bread, experiment with pot and LSD, and throw parties attended by the Grateful Dead, Hells Angels, and Diggers. But the family’s quest for nirvana is short-lived, and their blissful first year is followed by unforeseeable tragedies that turn McCoy’s utopian dreams to ashes. Narrated by Peter Coyote and featuring classic songs from the era, “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” reflects the idealism of the hippie movement and its enduring message of peace and love.
A native of Marin County, Maura McCoy moved to Southern California to attend San Diego State University, where she received a Bachelors Degree in film. Her interest in the industry brought her to Los Angeles and led to a career in the production of television commercials, providing her with the opportunity to work on scores of national commercials and ad campaigns with top directors and cinematographers. Producing her documentary “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” fulfills her lifelong dream to chronicle her father’s life and her own experiences at his commune at Olompali.
NOELLE OLOMPALI BARTON
Noelle Olompali Barton, a resident of Sebastopol, is an archivist, storyteller, and the author of the memoir “Love, Mom and Dad.” She was born in Hollywood to showbiz parents and was raised on the road until they finally settled down in Mill Valley in 1960. In 1967, when Noelle was 16, she and her mother moved to the Rancho Olompali estate with a group of their close friends, where they lived for almost two years as part of a communal family. To the outside world, Olompali was known as a hippie commune, but to the members of the Chosen Family, it was home.
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)