We are in the midst of a crisis of economic imagination. Many of us are taught (and believe) that there is only one way to do business: cut-throat competition. We start thinking businesses focused on anything other than profit will fail. We grow up believing we're stuck with what we've got, even though these kinds of enterprise harm communities, workers, and the environment.
In New York City many are imagining--and creating--another way to do business. They are economic innovators combining new and old practices to align their businesses and organizations with strong values of justice, sustainability, democracy, and cooperation. Together, they make up something called the solidarity economy.
7 Short Films
We're bringing the stories of these economic innovators to life through 7 short films, 1 stop-motion animation, and an informational website. Each film portrait examines the values and practices of a given business or organization through the story of an individual leader. We've included a reiki practitioner at a worker co-operative in Brooklyn; two co-founders of Brooklyn food co-operatives, including the most successful food co-op in America; a co-founder of a barter network for artists; a member of a 32-year-old successful intentional community on Staten Island; a community resident advocating for participatory budgeting in East Harlem; a board member at a Lower East Side community development credit union; and a veteran community gardens advocate in the Bronx. Each film is between 3-7 minutes long and is shot on location in people's homes, businesses, and organizations.
Here's a sample from our food co-op film to give you an idea:
We want to share these films with New York City in 2011 and 2012 at several screenings, after which we will make them available for purchase to educators, activists, business leaders, and community members. We will release each film to the organization or business featured (for free) so that they can inform others about their work through their unique stories. In addition to these short films, we are developing a website and curriculum with supporting materials for anyone interested in studying the solidarity economy. Our hope is viewers will begin to think differently about what's possible in our economy.
We're asking for your support to cover the production costs we've incurred thus far, and to help us shoot, edit, and design the last two films on our list. We also want to pay our graphic designers to create a beautiful website for the films and supporting curriculum. Production costs include equipment, labor (we have over 13 people working on this), transportation, dvd duplication, and materials.
The project is conceived and produced by SolidarityNYC core members Caroline Woolard, Cheyenna Weber, and Michael Johnson. SolidarityNYC is a collective of organizers, artists, and community members interested in supporting the solidarity economy in NYC. Caroline facilitates artistic collaborations and creative resource-sharing, Cheyenna is an economic justice organizer, and Michael is an advocate for cooperative cultures. Other members of SolidarityNYC include: Dan Apfel, Vanessa Arcara, Rachel Rachlin, Annie McShiras, Jeremy Friedman, Jessie Riley, and Amelia Bryne.
To create these short films, we’ve partnered with filmmakers Alex Mallis and Iva Radivojevic of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, animators Mercedes Villalba and Julian Gatto, map-makers Georgia Bullen and Mia Pears, and graphic designers Louise Ma, Nathan Heliene, Andrew Persoff, and Jinhwan Kim.
Thank you to all of our collaborators and backers who have helped us reach this point! We hope we can strengthen this exciting work with your help.
- (36 days)