Mayan writings do not predict the end of the world when the calendar cycle ends in December. But according to the producer of an upcoming documentary about the Central American civilization, they make the sobering prediction that three-quarters of the earth's population will be wiped out in the ensuing 15 to 20 years.
Given the doomsday alternative, apparently that qualifies as good news.
Those who live, producer Raul Julia-Levy said, will need to quickly colonize outer space, just as he said the Mayans did.
The idea of climbing into a spaceship to avoid a global catastrophe might produce giggles for most of us, but the producer of "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond" insists it's no laughing matter.
"This is the most critical time in human history, and mankind is going to have to face the music," said Julia-Levy, the son of the late actor Raul Julia and producer of "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond."
In an exclusive interview with TheWrap, Julia-Levy claimed that this privately-financed documentary, which begins production this week in Mexico, will drop a series of bombshells that look to the future and draw connections between the Mayans and extra-terrestrials.
The revelations, he said of the admittedly far-fetched scenario, will be "every archaeologist's nightmare."
Julia-Levy said that with the cooperation of the Mexican government, the film will reveal for the first time a chamber inside the Mayan pyramid at Calakmul (photo above) – which, he added, Mexico has named "the Temple of the Mayan Extra-Terrestrial Inscriptions."
He also said that the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala will bring together all 650 of its members for a scene in which they will expose their 3,750-year-old sacred books for the first time.
Inside those books, he said, is information about "the beginning of the collapse of the human race," which will take place during the next two decades.
Obviously, claims of prophecies and extra-terrestrials will be greeted with some disdain by many in the archaeological community. "Anybody that [makes claims of extra-terrestrial/Mayan contact] is a phony and cannot be taken seriously," said Dr. Richard D. Hansen, the director of the Mirador Basin Project in Guatemala and the Senior Scientist at the Institute for Mesoamerican Research in the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University, when contacted by TheWrap.
"I understand people are skeptical, but I got news for you," insisted Julia-Levy. "This is not going to be a movie for UFO aficionados. We're introducing evidence, facts and the truth.
"And according to the Mayan Council, archaeologists have been lying to the world and covering things up. They don't know how to read the Mayan codices, and they don't know what the Mayan Council knows."
What the council knows, he said, is based on books that date back nearly 4,000 years.
"I spoke to the president of the Mayan Council, Apolinario Chile Pixtun, who said that these may not be the best things to reveal, because some of them are very negative. But he said that humans need to understand what's going to happen in order to make changes, starting with our own environment. We're sitting on a time bomb."
One big change that the Mayan books suggest, he said, is space travel. "This planet is not designed for seven billion people," he said. "These sacred books will encourage humans to explore and colonize other planets, just like the Mayans did."
Julia-Levy will produce and also narrate the film; he compares the approach to the one Werner Herzog used in "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."
He also claimed to have enlisted the participation of astronomers from the Vatican to be interviewed for the film. (The Vatican has not made any official comment on extra-terrestrial life, but in 2008 the director of the Vatican Observatory wrote that aliens could exist without contradicting the Catholic faith.)
The film, which begins production on Friday and starts principal photography on April 5, was financed and will be executive produced by Elisabeth Thieriot, with Ed Elbert and Sheila McCarthy producing. Juan Diego Rodriguez and Eduardo Vertiz are executive producers in Guatemala and Mexico, respectively.
Shooting will take place for a month, and Julia-Levy promised to have a teaser within about six weeks and to release the film well before the December date on which the Mayan calendar cycle ends.
"We have to hurry up to be out way before December," he said. "People think that'll be the end of the world, so we have to release it so that people know the world won't be ending on December 21.
"It won't be the end of the world, but the real shit is going to happen in the next 15 to 20 years," he said. "And I'm not interested in anything but the truth."