Dear fans and followers of The Sust Enable Project,
I regret to report that Becoming Sustainable: a metamentary has not been accepted into 11 of the 12 film festivals I submitted to. Becoming Sustainable is the 25-minute short version of the intended feature length film about The Sust Enable Project (for more information on Becoming Sustainable, check out this blog post). This has been disappointing, of course. However, there are some bits of positive news to share, too.
Becoming Sustainable has been submitted to the HotDocs DocShop, an online shop where “registered professionals such as buyers, commissioning editors, acquisition executives, distributors, sales agents and festival programmers” can view and purchase rights for films. Any film submitted to HotDocs, whether or not it is accepted into the festival, is eligible to participate. It’s possible I will get some very influential eyes on the film that way.
Additionally, I have been personally invited to submit to an innovative online film festival with a unique approach to celebrating and sharing consciousness-shifting independent media. This unique network/organization, with sustainability-consciousness at its core, is called Culture Unplugged. I have a strong feeling that Becoming Sustainable, for its reflexive, autoethnographic storytelling about the fruition of sustainability consciousness, will fit in perfectly with this organization and its festival! Furthermore, I am also stoked that the film will be viewable online for six months during the online festival–free for any to watch. Please check out Culture Unplugged’s website and show your support.
There’s also one more film festival pending: the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival. The Sust Enable Project was entirely shot and independently in Pittsburgh, PA, and its significant community activities, such as the Community Feedback Sessions and the Sustainability Jams, touched many lives in Pittsburgh. I am hoping to at least have the opportunity for my festival premiere at this festival. I will find out in early May. For those based in Pittsburgh who would be keen to watch the film at the festival, those festival dates are June 26-28.
Lastly, this experience has shown me the importance of targeting the right audience for this work. I always felt that I wanted people to be “taken on a journey” through watching The Sust Enable film… that they would start out with a certain conventional concepts of “sustainability” at the start of the film, and end up down the rabbit hole of deep meanings! However, I have discovered that many people (like me, in 2008!) don’t realize that their ideas about sustainability need any examination. So perhaps a direct approach will not work.
On the other hand, I think the people who would absolutely “get” what TSEP is all about are 1) people who already grapple with sustainability on a daily basis, and who are humbled enough to know there isn’t one right answer to the meaning of sustainability (and that their own ideas are constantly subject to change!) and 2) people who are interested in human consciousness. It may sound odd, but I am considering implementing a personal, targeted campaign to the latter group, represented by organizations such as IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) and Evolver. Why? Because I realized one of the best and simplest ways to explain the motivation behind the experimental styles in Becoming Sustainable is to say: “Imagine that this film you’re about to watch is sentient.”
“Imagine that it’s just like you, in the theater, watching itself. It starts out with a certain ideas about sustainability, and as it goes along and learns more, it begins to adapt its way of thinking and reflects on its own behaviors. (Hence the term, meta-mentary!)” In certain audiences, comprised of people who think a certain way about consciousness, I believe this framing plus the work itself will strike a strong chord. And perhaps the support of these such audiences can be leveraged to reach a broader audience.
Regardless of the details of how it manifests, I look forward to being able to share Becoming Sustainable with you all. You have been a part of this journey. Thank you!