A few hours left to go and we are really delighted that we reached our goal. This film however, is an ongoing project. The story is happening now and we want to be able to continue production throughout the year. Films cost a lot to make and our fundraising activities have to continue.
So please, if you want to support us here, go right ahead! You have until 7am Friday (EST). At time of writing that's 4 more hours. The more money we can raise now - the more production we can do on the film. We truly want to be available to cover significant events as they occur. Right now so much is happening with respect to Climate Change - protests against pipelines, against fracking, fossil fuel divestment - much of it powered by youth activism. Young people are often at the forefront of such action, leading the call for change. This is the stuff of our film. This is part of the answer to the question asked in the film:
What do we do with our children today to prepare them psychologically for tomorrow?
Kids are growing up right now. Climate change is happening right now. Population is exploding, and the world continues to use up its natural resources. We are making the future right now, yet we don't fully understand what to do to prepare our kids for it.
Our film is the story of two women who fear the real and emotional impact of these rapid changes on their children. Jessica is an environmental leader who sees the slow pace of behavioral change despite her cutting edge knowledge of the technological and social solutions available to sustain our human community. Her friend, Beth, is a psychiatrist who understands the toll that social unrest, extreme weather, dislocation, and deprivation take on a human psyche. Together they have six children ranging in age from 2 to 22.
Jessica and Beth set off on a journey to answer a deceptively simple question, one that nonetheless has only just begun to be addressed by national leaders and recent scholarship.
The powerful and often frustrating journey brings Jessica and Beth face to face with experts across a range of disciplines, from world leaders to scientists, mental health scholars and professionals, sociologists, religious and spiritual leaders, and experts in the technological advances that will help combat climate change.
Filming has already begun
We started filming last year when we met retired Senator Joe Lieberman and his wife Hadassah. Senator Lieberman tried three times to introduce the Climate Stewardship Act, federal climate legislation which would have put a limit on CO2 emissions. With four children and three grandchildren, he and Hadassah seemed good choices for our first interview. Interviews with more climate leaders followed.
- Hadassah and Sen. Joe Lieberman talk about their experience of Hurricane Sandy
We want to continue our journey.
We want to raise $25,000 to film planned interviews with various personalities. These include Larry Schweiger, retired President of the National Wildlife Foundation and author of "Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth". We will also be talking with Sir David Attenborough, the distinguished TV presenter and naturalist who has been making TV shows about the natural world, and recently about Climate Change, for an astonishing 66 years. On our list of spiritual and religious leaders is Rabbi Arthur Waskow. He is Director of The Shalom Center which equips activists and spiritual leaders with awareness and skills needed to help create a world of peace, justice, healing for the earth, and respect for the interconnectedness of all life
Other figures on the list include a political world leader (or two) and well-known personalities from Hollywood who are invested in environmental activism. We will also use the funds to continue processing the interviews we have completed, including Jeffrey Sachs, former Senator Joe Lieberman, Rev. Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith, psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren, Greening Forward CEO Charles Orgbon III, and interviews with parents, grandparents, and children.
- Jessica talks about the figures who have guided her
Why we care
We know already that our children will face significant mental stress even if climate change is controlled. Reduced exposure to nature in itself undermines mental health. The expected impacts will cause profound deprivation, loss, and terror, difficult emotions for humans of all ages. To be secure and resilient leaders, children need to start in a world that builds self-esteem, secures attachment to family, home and habitat, and provides them with survival skills and moral abilities that preserve both themselves and a civil society. We cannot hide the risks they face, but we must not overwhelm them with fear.
Making the long-range plans needed for sustainable and resilient societies will conflict with personal and immediate self-interest. It will cut against human instincts and require advanced cognitive and psychological skills. We are guided by cognitive biases, mental short cuts that tell us we are more important and less vulnerable than we are, and skew our assessment of risk towards choices that make us happy in the moment and unhappy longer term.
Climate change will pose specific psychological challenges. Children will need more complex modes of problem-solving, more long-range planning, skills for more rapid adaptation to loss and change than are innate. We owe them these psychological skills as much as we owe them our beautiful planet.
The greatest threat to our planet and our kids is human behavior. Inability to feel, think, and act in new ways is what slows our response to global changes. Emotional and behavioral change is our only hope.
- Jessica gives her thoughts about the journey. With contributions from Lise Van Susteren and Beth Haase
Who we are
Jon Felix is an award-winning director, cinematographer and editor. He has over 30 years experience in the British and American film and television industries. Jon's training was at the BBC, where he edited documentaries for UK and worldwide broadcast. Later he founded and ran a London production company that made TV shows, documentaries and promotional film. His work over the past 10 years includes the role of cinematograher on TV commercials and seven feature films, and he has directed documentaries for the American Bar Association, the Presidio Performing Arts Foundation, the X-Prize Foundation and Desmond Tutu's Global Forgiveness Challenge. These were films he also edited. His many awards include two British Academy (BAFTA) nominated films.
Elizabeth Haase, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst on the faculty of Columbia University Medical Center. The past head of several local environmental organizations, Dr. Haase recently appeared before the UN Commission for Social Development for a panel, "The Impact of Climate Change on Children's Health and Well-Being." She is an award-winning teacher and author, recurrent New York Super Doctor, and founding board member of the Helix Center, a neuropsychoanalytic think tank. She is most devoted to improving the human response to our climate crisis through this project, GAP, Disaster Psychiatry Outreach and related psychiatric groups. Beth has two daughters in college, one of whom will study coral reef reconstruction on a Watson Fellowship next year.
Jessica Haller is an environmental professional and sustainability champion. She is a leader with The Climate Reality Project and graduate of the Columbia University Earth Institute with an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy. Jessica splits her time between her family, a tech start up, and her pioneering sustainable actions on behalf of multiple environmental and religious organizations, including COEJL, Canfei Nesharim and the Eden Village Camp. In 2008, Jessica was the Director of the Jewish Climate Change Campaign and was a delegate to the UNDP for the ARC conference, "Many Heavens, One Earth", at Windsor Castle.
Jessica had two children before quitting her corporate job to pursue a career in sustainability and two more after. Her question is on her mind everyday, whether at the zoo with her two toddlers or at shuttling her two pre-teens to theater practice.
This will be no ordinary documentary. By this we mean that many documentaries consist of interviews ('talking heads') and 'B roll' (basically anything else). Better documentaries may also contain elements such as animated graphics, and perhaps the filming of actual events that are happening in front of the camera: confrontations, rocket launches, people arguing, hidden camera footage ... you get the idea.
Not that we can promise you a rocket launch, but the way we film our interviews and 'B roll' footage will be innovative and different. For a start - Jessica and Beth are not interviewing people, they are talking informally with them, perhaps even arguing with them, and these encounters are filmed in a relaxed style that will make you feel part of the conversation. Many of our contributors will have stories to tell.
Our film will be of the highest technical quality. Apart from necessary newsreel footage (for example, from Hurricane Sandy), we will be shooting all of our own original footage, and we will be using 4k cameras (four times more resolution than normal HD). Projected in theaters - the film will be a visual feast.
Jon Felix has an established track record of the highest quality cinematography - having shot feature films, television commercials and documentaries for many years. Our film will include stunning aerials, time-lapse, and other techniques to capture human and natural landscapes. Our artistic intention is to give an impression of the jagged pace and feel of nature and society now, and the highly chaotic world to come.
Above all will be the striking portraits of children. Ultra slow-motion enhancement of the children's emotions and interpersonal interactions shows their psychological turmoil and its consequences for emerging personality structures. Examples can be seen in the trailer.
- Beth meets the children at the Five Towns Early Learning Center
Lots of great people are already on board
We have already received an overwhelming response to the documentary trailer and the subject matter itself. New organizations and individuals are pledging their support every day.
- On the production
Stephen Nemeth is a distinguished Hollywood producer with significant credits both on feature films such as Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Why Do Fools Fall in Love and The Sessions and documentaries such as Dogtown and Z-Boys, Fuel, War Dance and Climate Refugees. He serves on the boards of many organizations such as Friends of The Earth, Children Uniting Nations and the International Documentary Association. He and Jon Felix have been colleagues for 10 years and worked together on the latest Philip K. Dick sci-fi film Radio Free Albemuth (released last year).
We are deeply privileged to have Paul Dresher working with us. He is one of the most talented and innovative composers alive today. Paul's music has been variously described as minimalist and postminimalist, Dresher himself, poking fun at the latter term (which he perceives as fairly meaningless), has referred to himself as a "pre-maximalist". His unique scores include the use of his own invented instruments. Jon Felix has described his work as 'the most filmic musical landscapes I have ever had the pleasure of editing film to'. Paul's music can be heard on all the videos shown here, and there is some more information about him in the FAQs on this page.
In the film
Senator Joseph Lieberman
Dr. Lise Van Susteren
Rev. Fletcher Harper
Charles Orgbon III
- Who is Charles Orgbon III?
Jessica, Jon and Beth are involved in many organizations that care about the topic of this film. These and other prominent organizations have agreed to endorse us.
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
Bronx Climate Justice North
Eden Camp Village
Jews Against Hydrofracking
KRVC Development Committee
Trevor's Eco-Education Foundation
This is happening right now. While we are in the process of applying for grants, we are looking to film imminently scheduled interviews and events related to our journey.
While the total budget to produce this film is approximately $200,000, crowd-sourcing $25,000 will allow us to stay on track towards our completion goal of November 2015, while awaiting results on three major grants and matching funds. Crowd Sourcing of approximately $90,000 will allow us to complete filming and the potential be ready for viewing in concert with the UNFCCC COP 21 Climate Summit in Paris, December 2015.
Risks and challenges
There are three general categories of risk for this production.
1. Funding - Initial funding has been provided by the founders/producers and several private donors. If we reach our Kickstarter goal, the funding will allow the team to continue its work right now, as this story will not wait. Events unfold before our eyes, and we have to be 'on call' to cover them. Meanwhile, we will also continue the lengthy process of applying for grants and funding from foundations.
Because we are filming leaders from political, scientific, environmental and religious institutions, both local and national, we have, and will have, extensive and diverse footage which can be shaped into short form material to meet the needs of funders from a variety of different institutions and foundations. The Kickstarter funding will also allow us to continue with this work, addressing a variety of educational and moral priorities.
2. Access - We have every expectation of doors opening for us, thanks to Jessica's connections. But even if the doors do not open, we have material to produce a variety of educational films for use by our sponsoring organizations and others.
The beauty of our project is that it can be re-cut to support many types of films. As the trailer illustrates, the key issue can be discussed in a production of only 6 minutes.
3. Key Man Risks. In the event that something should happen to one of the producers, the other two can continue production in their absence. In the event that something should happen to Jon Felix, who is filling many roles in this project, he has asked two film colleagues to step in to complete production, and Stephen Nemeth, our executive producer, would help find a replacement.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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