Following the screening of the film (runtime: 92 minutes), a 40-minute event featuring Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson (from X-Files), Mary Robinson, the film's director Franny Armstrong, Pete Postlethwaite (the lead actor of the film) and other leading thinkers, celebrities and political figures from around the world were presented via the satellite link. Live music from Radioheads Thom Yorke and satellite links to scientists working in the Indonesian Rainforest and at the melting glaciers in the Himalayas brought deeper emotional and informational layers to the films message on human generated climate change. A group of children spoke from the room in Copenhagen where global climate policies will be decided at the UN climate summit in December.
The film is also innovative in its mix of drama, documentary, live action and animated footage. The films creators dubbed it a cinema documentary.
Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel) convinced her favorite actor (Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite) to star in her film after reading an article in his hometown paper where he discussed his efforts to install a wind turbine at his home. Postlewaite stars as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching 'archive' footage from 2008 and asking: why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance? This dramatic portion of the film sifts one mans lament over war, politics, consumerism, climate change, and human stupidity.
[image-1]The film cuts from Postlewaites dramatic sequences to documentary sequences featuring six real people and their missions to make positive environmental and social change. Fernand Pareau, is an 82-year old French mountain guide whos been witnessing glacier deterioration since the 1950s. Jeh Wadia is starting a low-cost airline in India. Alvin DuVernay, Is a Shell Oil scientist who rescued 100 people after Hurricane Katrina and sees that Katrina is a direct consequence of global warming. Layefa Malemi lives in Shells most profitable oil region in Nigeria- she is trying to become doctor and get a hospital built to help her people. Shell oil has promised to build hospitals there, but leaves nothing but waste for most. The only money she sees coming out of Shell goes to the government lobbyists responsible for letting Shell into Nigeria. Jamila and Adnan Bayyoud, are two Iraqi refugee kids trying to find their brother and prized donkey amidst the killing and carnage in war torn Iraq. The children discuss warfare, their loss, and their pain. This leads to one of the films most memorable sequences, an animation on the history of war. The animation discloses that the Iraq war and every war are ultimately about resources. Piers Guy, a windfarm developer, fights an anti-windfarm lobby in England who dont want the windfarm constructed because they dont like the way they look. (I covered an identical situation that happened in America in 2004 - I guess people prefer the way oil-covered birds and soiled skies look. I agree, we are in one hell of a 'stupid' age).
Another innovation is how the film was financed. £450,000 was raised by crowd-funding (selling shares to individuals and groups). This makes the film truly independent.
The film was a bittersweet experience for me because I wrote a similar environmental dystopian feature screenplay in 2004. My film, entitled Apocalypse Near combines drama, documentary and animation into a blend I call hyper-reality. I had the film in pre-production, assembled a crew, most of a cast and nearly two thirds of the financing to begin production in 2006, but my investors got cold feet about my environmental message. They, like so many others, bought into the counter-spin that our environmental situation is some kind of ploy made up by Al Gore or an unsubstantiated Green conspiracy. I have since watched the scienctific evidence supporting human generated climate change grow along with the Green economy. If The Age of Stupid rakes in box office like An Inconvenient Truth, Ill have the satisfaction of saying I told you so again and the self knowledge that I was ahead of my time with my script. Of course, Id rather have made the film and maybe I still will because I think my film strikes a different chord in the same ecological key and its more 'punk rock' approach to the subject would reach a different demographic. Additionally, my film explains why humans are destroying their own life support system (information gleaned from my clinical death experience in 2004). Its a weird-wacky ride in the tradition of socially conscious cult films like Soylent Green and Riders Of The Storm. I wrote my script into a book after my financing fell through, anyone wanting a review copy may request one by contacting me. Id also like to urge you to see The Age Of Stupid and come back here to leave your comments.
The Age of Stupid was filmed on location in the US, UK, India, Nigeria, Iraq, Jordan, and the Alps. More information at: http://www.ageofstupid.net/