The “Problem” with A Life’s Work

A mess of years ago I took a thirty-minute work-in-progress sample of A Life’s Work to a film market. Imagine a speed dating event taking place in a high school gymnasium. Imagine there are 9,000 courters (filmmakers) and 45 courtees (producers). Imagine that the courters  are given six minutes to pitch themselves and show off some of their finer points. That’s basically a film market.

A producer was interested in the film, and so I met her. She arrived late, heard my elevator pitch and looked at about three minutes of the film. Then she said, “Tell me more about Arcosanti.” I began to explain, as best as one can, Arcosanti, and she interrupted me. “Is the soil contaminated, or the water? Anything like that?” I told her no, it wasn’t. She was disappointed.

I then realized the “problem” with the film. It isn’t a call-to-action documentary. It isn’t about outrage at an injustice, or illuminating an environmental crisis or a hagiography about a famous band or musician or a portrait of person trying to save a species.

The whole story is long and complicated :)
It is indeed.

It is a film about the human condition and the biggest question we ask ourselves: why am I here? It’s a film about legacy, devotion, perseverance.

I never actually saw this as a problem, quite the opposite, in fact, and as I begin submitting the film to festivals, I’m hopeful that festivals will not see it as a problem, either. I’m hopeful it will stick out among the bazillion of call-to-action films they’ll watch, and they will recognize it as a unique, thoughtful, and engaging film.

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