Remember that amazing pair of documentaries ‘McLibel’ (1997, 2005) which told the inside story of the UK McDonald’s libel trial? McLibel director Franny Armstrong has moved on from McDonalds to take aim at inaction on climate change in her new project ‘Age of Stupid‘. It’s part film and part internet-fueled activist campaign and will culminate in a series of live webcasts ‘The Stupid Show’ during what they call the ‘Copenhagen Un Climate Summit’ between the 7th and 18th December 2009.
Peter Broderick is a well known advocate of low budget digital filmmaking, direct distribution to audiences through event screenings and DVD sales. ‘Age of Stupid’ goes way beyond any of the examples I’ve heard Peter present and shows documentary makers what is possible by really embracing Web 2.0.There are a series of worldwide screenings being run in response to the demand of the audience and it premiered in Sydney at a solar powered cinema with live satellite links to Franny Armstrong and star Pete Postlethwaite. What’s evident is that http://ageofstupid.net is a place for a whole activist community to converse and organise around the themes of the film. And what’s really interesting is the way this community is being organised to fund future projects. If you go to the ‘making of’ tab you can see that every line item in the budget of ‘The Stupid Show’ is listed for donations. The film was funded in this way raising over 850K pounds in donations via crowd-sourced investment. This is one of the most sophisticated uses of the internet I’ve seen by any filmmakers and that includes the multi million dollar efforts of many of the Hollywood studios. If more filmmakers took the ‘Age of Stupid’ approach to their internet presence they’d attract much bigger audiences to their films.