2016, Art and Artists  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 7.25/10 from 65 users.

There are few communities in the United States more majestic than Kayenta. Located in southern Utah, Kayenta is distinguished by its glorious natural vistas. The clay-colored landscape, rolling prairies, and imposing red rock cliffs inspire a feeling of inner peace bordering on the spiritual. The sumptuously photographed documentary Kayenta tells the story of this developing desert dreamland and the people who populate it.

When developer Terry Marten first happened upon the area in 1968, he was immediately taken by its heart-pounding beauty. He was soon taken by a wild notion. What would it be like to live there? For most, life in the desert is an illogical proposition. But armed with a skill for innovative design and a passion for nature, Marten worked to realize the area's untapped potential.

The key was to imbue each home with the sense of having been birthed from the land itself. This translated into structures that were built low to the ground with exteriors colored in darkened earth tones. It required areas in the home that were cleverly shaded from the sun, and a reliance on solar energy. Marten constructed his first residence in the desert in 1982, and it set the template for all that was to come. Striking, but not gaudy or ostentatious, the building allowed for magnificent views of the surrounding vistas, and appeared as though it belonged in its natural environment.

Today, his impractical decades-long dream has blossomed into a community of over 500 homes. The film introduces us to several of the residents, and discovers their motivations for choosing to live there. Each of them relishes the opportunity to escape from the chaos of city life. They find grace in the 360 degree views, the cradle that the mountains provide, and in the delicacies of light and shadow. Their spacious desert homes feel secluded and private, yet the sense of community among their fellow residents is strong. The breathtaking aesthetics attract a variety of artists to the area - all of whom interpret the environment through the filter of their own unique styles.

With its appealing score and appreciation for the transformative magic of architecture, Kayenta is an intensely pleasurable and soothing experience.

Directed by: Chibi Moku

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2 years ago

I want to move

Joseph Anthony
4 years ago

What are they talking about in this video. They keep saying it is in southern Utah. In fact Kayenta is a town in Arizona. Perhaps the producers of this video should go back to school and take a course in geography.

James McElligott
5 years ago

I truly enjoyed watching this film. However, I wish it would have followed more of a true documentary format. This shows only the the great side of Kayenta. It does this very well. I would label this film 'promotional' video instead of a documentary. I very curious to know what were some of the myriad challenges it must have been to build this ideal, artistic community.
PS: I'd love to live there with the information shown here.

5 years ago

Since I live in about the opposite type of place in several aspects, enjoyed seeing another part of the world.

As for the haters, get over yourself. Your know nothing judgement of others only reveals your self centered issues. I'm sure you'd rather people die of a heart attack in some stress filled location doing what you think they should do, rather than choosing to get away, live in peace, and do what they feel like doing. Such is the problem with Marxists, wanting to dictate how others live and what they do, since they cannot do so for themselves. Jealousy is yet another ugly thing they have been emotionalized with in school. There is very little that you learned that is worthwhile. Chuck it. Begin again. For the most part, those who got rich off the poor ARE those pointing the fingers, the Marxist politicians, who work to keep them poor and buy their votes so cheaply.

The developer Mr. Marten had some good words of wisdom which I enjoyed the most, of those who spoke. Enjoyed seeing their homes and the area. Nicely done.

Robert Fitzgerald
5 years ago

Kayenta is in Arizona? Where is this place?

Steve McAllister
6 years ago

Like NB above, I always felt that Santa Fe would be the ideal place to retire one day. Food, culture, art, and natural beauty. But I also have a strong affinity for the spectacular national parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion) around southern Utah...plus my family has roots in the region. Stumbled across this documentary on YouTube last month and was completely captivated by the vision and execution of Kayenta; the stunning natural beauty of the landscape and the inspiring way in which the filmmakers captured it. Congrats on this production...a true work of art.

John Kelland
6 years ago

A wonderful documentary of a very lovely place , a place to inspire dreams

Patti Ronnow
7 years ago

Awe Kayenta. We lived there for twenty years, raised four children and never once tired of its breathtaking beauty, its inspiring landscapes and its sunsets across a painted desert. We ended up having to move, and I have never been the same. I think of it's unmatched beauty- red sand and desert flowers everyday.

7 years ago

I beleive anyone with an appreciation of architecture, planning, and nature would stand in awe at this. Beautiful!

7 years ago

We live in South Africa surrounded by burglar bars, senseless crime, perversions and cruelty, etc., which distorts the beauty of our country. Kayenta's peacefulness, beauty, and safety of this community is very inspiring. We truly enjoyed this documentary. How about a follow up?

7 years ago

Kayenta is very pretty and it certainly has lots of beautiful residential architecture. But if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, I think it's very hard to beat Santa Fe, NM. Santa Fe provides the same kind of architecture in an even more beautiful setting, plus it has fantastic culture and is home to some of the best food in the whole world.

7 years ago

Wish to be there walking along rock strewn paths with my dog, walking stick. pouch of spring water ... thank you for the share

June Ribaldi
7 years ago


7 years ago

My apologies for assuming you were members. I will say it was pretty well filmed, lots of beautiful shots. But the characters were what turned it sour for me. I actually liked the guy's vision for the project, but just didn't connect with those who ended up populating the place. Reminds me of the 'American Juggalo' doc: the filmakers were presenting a unique lifestyle which some may certainly adhere to, while others would be revolted by them.

Chibi Moku
7 years ago

@JoeyD. We produced it. We are not members of the community in anyway. Just spent 3 weeks there and asked a bunch of questions.

7 years ago

This doc deals with the making of a new town/community from scratch in the middle of a beautiful desert landscape within the past few decades. In way the results are quite appealing, but also borderline cult-ish. Definitely an air of "Yuppieville" as mentioned by someone else here.
Whats more interesting is why this doc was made. On the one hand I'd like to say it was made in order to document some people doing something different/original, all based on a developer who had a neat idea. But after watching it a few minutes, the real reason became clear: this is merely a glorious display of self-righteousness as it was almost obviously produced by a member of the community itself.
So if you want to examine a bunch of smug narcissists, have at it.

7 years ago


James Thomas
7 years ago

It was very enjoyable to see the beauty and creativity of both nature and people in this documentary. I found it very inspiring.

7 years ago

Many would call this lifestyle boring. We live in a bored culture with less and less ties to nature, that's why we need to destroy the environmemt to get fun.

Vicki Bartlett
7 years ago

For Jeff...and, me....and, all...I share your concern about this being a place where "rich people want to retire". Well, that is their prerogative, right? If I were wealthy, enough, I might consider it, myself, though I would work toward some kind of diversity. So, is there anything in this film that inspires you? What would it be? How can you bring that inspiration into your own community? I'm asking myself the same.

Chibi Moku
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing our documentary! Everyone at this place was so chill and creative...especially the guy who envisioned this who place. Really nice guy and and down-to-earth as they come.

7 years ago

What about water resource?

7 years ago

This where rich folks go to live the rest of their lives believing the pillage they've done to the planet throughout their lives may be appeased. I almost puked watching the first several minutes of this. "Everyone" does not want to be there, believe me. Not while "you're" there. What planet did these people come from, that they have no clue? This dude got rich off from rich who got rich off from rich. Who all got rich off from poor. Dah.

Daniel Friesen
7 years ago

That was a pleasure to watch..always amazed at the creativity displayed. It starts with a visionary who takes the steps..thank you!

7 years ago

Awesome homes. Would love to live there, people seem totally relaxed.