PROVOCATIVE NEW “HOLISTIC” DOCUMENTARY ON SUSTAINABILITY BEGINS PRODUCTION IN PITTSBURGH

Sust Enable:  The Metamentary Begins Filming July 30th With Author & Professor Charles Eisenstein

On July 30th a new Pittsburgh-based film collective, headed by director Caroline Savery, officially launches production of feature-length documentary “Sust Enable: The Metamentary” at the University of Pittsburgh’s William Pitt Union, Lower Lounge, 5:00pm, documenting a lecture and subsequent interview with author and professor of sociology Charles Eisenstein.

Eisenstein has written extensively on personal, social and ecological sustainability in his books The Yoga of Eating and The Ascent of Humanity.  He will be visiting Pittsburgh to give a presentation on his latest book, Sacred Economics:  Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition.

Sacred Economics, releasing July 12th, explores the economics of separation and consumption, while offering hope of transition to a new monetary system.  Sacred Economics is being touted as the baseline for a ‘meta-book’ – each chapter is posted online, and all comments and responses informing the ‘meta-media’.

“Sustainability is the first step toward a new way of thinking,” says Charles. “As we come to understand that we are not, in fact, separate from the rest of the planet, we want to create a society that contributes to a healthy planet. What is it that we want to ‘sustain’? Not only ourselves, but all of life in the fullness of its beauty. The question is not, ‘How can we live sustainably?’ as if survival were the only goal, but rather, ‘What do we want to create?’ and, ‘How shall we apply the gifts that make us human?’”

Sust Enable: The Metamentary is pioneering similar concepts in film.  Called ‘The Metamentary’ after the ‘meta’ filmmaking movement of recent years, SE:MM will attempt to embody its story’s core question–what does sustainability mean, and what does it look like to embody sustainability?–not just on the level of their story (which will bring together interviewees from academia to radical activism to spiritual leaders) but within the stylistic construction of the film itself–and, radically, the film’s own production processes.

“By considering how successfully our production incorporates the wisdom of sustainability principles, such as adaptability, holism, diversity, and dynamic balance, we will strive to innovate a model for authentic sustainable filmmaking through the creation of this engaging film,” say director Caroline Savery. “While telling the story of the struggle to define sustainability, we will be applying what we learn to the film itself.”

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If you’d like more information about Sust Enable, or to schedule an interview with Caroline Savery, call Aaron Fraser at 412-608-7389 or e-mail Aaron at info@sust-enable.com.

 

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Sustainability and Sust Enable: Holism

Holism

In a holistic model, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

At first impression, this theme suggests that everything is unified. We are all one. Any human being is actually a complex of other organisms, and the natural environment from which we receive sustenance, is made up of other organisms. Thus, all living things are profoundly interconnected, and the boundaries between us are fluid.  Our world is thus defined not through objects, but through relationships between subjects; not through hard boundaries between things, but through networks among beings.

This requires a shift from the way we tend to view the world, as clearly defined objects and patterns that can be rationally reduced and parsed. In a holistic situation, breaking the system down into parts actually obscures a more subtle nature of the system, that can only be understood when considering the system as a dynamic whole. For our film, interviewees that will touch on this theme include Charles Eisenstein, Phil Seneca, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, Dr. Allenna Leonard, and more.

Interpreting Holism in Sust Enable: “Systems Thinking,” Holistic Design, and Focusing on the Process

The means must reflect and embody the ends. You must have a sustainable process to achieve sustainable results. Holism is perhaps the theme that most profoundly influences the design of Sust Enable: The Metamentary.

We will interpret this theme in the story by drawing attention to the unity of purpose in the two Sust Enable projects, despite their vast differences in approach. We will illustrate how my current lifestyle holistically incorporates sustainability choices in dynamic balance with other goals in my life—for example, commuting by bicycle is an integrated daily choice that balances my needs for fitness, transportation, community, acquiring skills, and conserving fuel.

Stylistically, we may begin the film with a scene that we revisit at the conclusion with deepened meaning. Or we may, when appropriate, look for parallels between ostensibly divergent points of view and show how they line up conceptually (for example, juxtaposing an indigenous activist’s interview commentary with that of an academic specialist to illustrate agreement.)

Our production processes reflect this theme through our film’s unique approach of seeking to embody sustainability principles (including holism!) at all levels of the film’s creation. We must consider how every decision incorporates sustainability principles as much as possible, and how a choice regarding the story layout, for example, has implications in the real world, and vice versa.

This post is one of a series about The Sust Enable Project’s main themes and principles.  These are themes that have emerged from our sustainability research, that we plan to fully embody in our sustainable filmmaking process.  For more posts like this, check out the Core Themes and Principles category of posts.

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