History has a habit of pushing to the forefront ordinary individuals who resonate the passions, concerns and perspective of the age and play key leadership, change agent roles.
Franny Armstrong is such a person – an independent film maker who has done more to educate the general public than anyone, with the probable exception of Al Gore (but remember, Franny didn’t have the base of being nearly president of the USA or skill in Powerpoint to start with!)
About five years ago, Franny (already recognized for making documentaries McLibel and Drowned Out ) decided that she could use her film making skills to create a video that would inform, move and even entertain people about the complex topic of climate change.
Her next decision was one of the wisest – chose another gutsy but even less experienced individual – who knew nothing about the subject or film making – to produce it. Enter stage right: Lizzy Gillette.
Not only did these two remarkable young women make a compelling film, The Age of Stupid, that has been translated into 34 languages, seen by millions , used by the UK and EU governments to educate politicians and staff alike, used by the UK's National Health Service to educate its 125,000+ employees, and garnered huge press coverage, but broke new ground in film funding and distribution:
- Over £885,000 has been raised this far through crowdsourcing;
- A new form of film distribution has been developed and tested – Indie Screening - which enables anyone to rent the film and show it to an audience for whatever fee they consider appropriate;
- The film has raised the bar on “Green Film” premieres and used web links to follow the premieres with global input and participation.
A documentary about the making of the film is almost as inspiring and compelling as the film, Age of Stupid, itself and will explain why these two dynamic women get my vote as Change Agents of The Year. Do watch it – available here. But if you want to see a Change Agent in action watch all or part of this 6 minute interview:
Better still, watch Age of Stupid: there are 5 possibilities:
1. Arrange for your own Indy Screening (1190 have been booked so far!)
2. Buy the DVD here note: new stock coming in soon (it's much in demand)
3. Pay a mere £4 to download the film here
4. Watch it on TV in certain countries. (schedule here )
Franny and Lizzie would be the first to say that it has been a magnificent team effort – not only did 662 people buy shares in a film when the risks were high, but a huge global team (over a 1000 people) has accumulated to move its agenda forward.
While I will admit that I don't like the film's title or the often judgmental, finger pointing nature of some of the dialogue, I cannot fault the makers' integrity and sincerity. better still, they've kept the issue forefront in the public's consciousness.
It doesn't matter what your views might be on climate change. The commitment, ingenuity and determination of these two women to make a better world are what give me hope in the future and that’s what we all need. Thankyou Franny and Lizzie and TEAM for not being stupid and not allowing he rest of us to be stupid either!!!
During the COP Talks, the Age of Stupid Team have been boradcasting a one hour show from Copenhagen - see below:
The Age of Stupid Live from Copenhagen
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