A student documentary capstone project, focusing on sustainable culture (& firsthand experience of the filmmaker) within an ecovillage.
Off the Grid refers to an independence from public utilities (including water supply, electricity... and yes, even sewage management). An ecovillage is typically described as a community that has chosen alternatives to these traditionally centralized public systems. These communities often share cultural, ecological, and spiritual values that motivate sustainable practices and lifestyles. This sustainable culture, developed & nurtured by individuals who live in ecovillages, is what I find most fascinating.
Two years ago I watched a Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days" episode which
featured the Dancing Rabbit ecovillage (located in Rutledge, MO). Since, I have since been looking for a reason (besides a powerful curiosity) to go explore an ecovillage firsthand. This year I picked up a minor at my university (UIUC) in the Environmental Fellows Program; the minor requires a capstone project, which is vaguely defined as a project that merits course credit and involves an examination of sustainability. I saw my opportunity shine down like the sun on a solar-paneled roof. Taking my interest in the
concept of intentional communities/ecovillages, and coupling it with my love of film and
video-editing, I proposed to my academic adviser the idea of creating a
short documentary centered on an intentional community and my experience
as an extended visitor to one. And what do you know, he gave me the go-ahead! I will be receiving course credit upon completion of the documentary, and have partnered with a previous instructor who is already working with me to prepare for the different stages that this project will entail.
Why choose to make a documentary film? Because I see the use of video as a very powerful tool, and the creation of a documentary as a subsequent powerful means to spread awareness to a larger audience about the intent and mission of intentional communities. The main goal of my documentary would be to draw attention to the practices of community members in an ecovillage in an effort to further knowledge and acceptance of these groups (especially directed towards people who I've perceived to hold a negative stigma towards these communities), and to encourage the adaptation of sustainable practices showcased by the community to a mainstream audience.
At the current time, I have one ecovillage in Missouri that will definitely take me as a visitor for two weeks, but I am holding off on a committing decision to wait for responses from three other communities I've been in contact with (one other one in MO, one in NC, and another in VA). I plan on making the trip in late May, and will be able to do so through the generosity of donations through Kickstarter.
My budget of $750 will go towards travel costs, a new camcorder, equipment, housing, and food. I chose that amount to set as my goal because 750 bones is the barebones I'm going to require. Here's the breakdown:
travel: $50 (est. very cheap gas costs; the closest of the 4 villages I'm looking at is just over 300 miles away from my home).
camcorder: $330 (I'm currently looking at a Canon FS31 Dual Flash camcorder).
equipment: $100 (several SD cards)+ $40 (tripod)+ $60 (shotgun mic)+ $20 (camcorder case) = $220
housing: $80 (Eureka Solitaire one-man tent)
food: $70 (est. $5 a day for 14 days)
You will be kept updated on any news regarding project plans.
As a heads up now, if the project is successful, rewards should be expected during late August and early September.
Thank you so very, very much for your help and support!!! I'm indescribably excited for this project!!!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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I will turn toward your direction in the world and give you an air hug.
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A handwritten thank-you postcard/greeting card.
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The above, which on it will include a doodle of whatever you'd like (given that it is appropriate, conceivable and can fit within a 3 1/2" x 5" box).
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The above, plus five photos I will take while staying in the ecovillage.
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The above, plus your very own DVD copy of the documentary! Yeah!!
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The above, plus a colorful paper booklet of recipes learned over the course of my stay at the village. Expect recipes to be predominantly vegetarian and/or vegan. Yum.
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The above, plus your favorite animal in small & quirky stuffed-felt form.
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The above, plus the glory of calling yourself a producer. Your name will be listed in the final credits. You're special. I’ll also find you a random treasure from a local thrift store. Kitsch guaranteed.
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The above, plus a felt hand puppet crafted in the likeness of any person or human character at your request. Put together with lots of felt, fabric glue, and love.
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The above, plus a ~30min. Skype session (or live meet-up, if you’re local) to ask me anything about my experience and filmmaking process (or just chat, really). This could be a unique and valuable learning experience for a classroom setting (nudge, nudge).
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ALL of the above, plus I will change my Facebook profile picture to a photo of myself holding a framed picture of you (or your name) for 2 weeks with the caption reading "Me & My Hero."
- (25 days)