by Daniel Godston, Chicago Teachable Moments Examiner, published on May 20, 2010 - 3:45 PM|
2012: Time for Change is a new documentary which presents an optimistic alternative to an apocalyptic vision of the future. João Amorim is the film's director and producer, and he will be at the Green Festival happening in Chicago this weekend. Recently I spoke with João about 2012: Time for Change, collaborating with Daniel Pinchbeck, ideas about sustainable living, and some of his other projects.
DG: How did you come up with the idea for "2012: Time for a Change"?
JA: I've always had social concerns, as well as the notion that our system is not sustainable. I'd been working with animation for years, but mainly focusing on advertising and kids' shows. In 2006 I was animation director for Chicago 10; it opened the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, and I was nominated for an Emmy for it last year, so that reaffirmed that I could use my skillset in film and animation for a more noble cause than just convincing people to buy useless stuff.
It was right around that time that a friend pointed me to Daniel Pinchbeck's book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. At first I was dismissive about the whole 2012 idea as New Age mumbo jumbo. But in the end Daniel's book really moved me, and I strongly identified with the idea that we need to reconnect with the natural world, and that our consumer culture had moved us away from any deeper levels of consciousness.
So I eventually met with Daniel, and we agreed to develop a short pilot film around ideas he put forth in his books. This short, Toward 2012, got more than a half a million hits on youtube, and it led us to develop a series of short animated films on consciousness and ecology, which has been recently released on DVD under the title Beyond 2012: Animated Interviews on the Next Age. That series led us to develop this feature, which was made possible by Mangusta Productions, Curious Pictures, and the amazing support of Giancarli Canavesio, our main producer and financier.
DG: What are some ideas presented in "2012: Time for Change" that suggest ways by which we can make our society sustainable, and move toward a goal of regenerative planetary culture?
JA: You can reconnect with nature and with your inner self. We highlight shamanic practices, yoga, and meditation, and many others. Also, we examine a Design Science approach inspired by Buckminster Fuller, doing more with less, and looking at the Earth as an integrated whole system. We also look at urban permaculture, bioremediation of toxified environments, alternative fuels, complementary currency systems, among others.
DG: How did you and Daniel Pinchbeck collaborate on "2012: Time for Change"?
JA: We picked the people whom we wanted to interview together. Daniel had access to most of the celebrities featured in the film, as a lot of them had already read his book. He also was strongly connected with the consciousness evolution people, and I brought a pragmatic design science approach to the table. So in this way we combined practical solutions with consciousness evolution, and created a film that has a synergistical approach to problem solving. We traveled together and put in a lot of time and effort to get the right material.
DG: Who are some other people who helped with the film?
JA: We also had editorial reviews, where we and other members of the team helped to mature the film. The editors April Merl and Pedro Tarrago, animation art director Dustin Lindblad, among others, also made crucial contributions to the film.
DG: What is one way by which Pinchbeck embarked on a "quest for a new paradigm that integrates the archaic wisdom of tribal cultures with a scientific method, as I read in an interview with him?
JA: We do not negate technology. In many ways the internet is turning us in to a global tribe. So I would say that this retribalization is an example of that integration. Another one would be permaculture, which is an approach to agriculture, housing, sanitation, energy that both draws on ancient knowledge and on design science, therefore integrating the old with the new.
DG: How would you say this film relates to the trajectory of your oeuvre?
JA: In 2000 I directed the award winning animation short: Don't Get Charged Up (about recycling batteries). I also worked as an animation supervisor on Bob Young's Human Error, which was a Sundance selection of 2004, and that has a post-industrial, post-apocalyptic quality. Then came Chicago 10, which tells the story of the Chicago 7 and their struggle to peacefully protest the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, and their infamous trial in 1968. I also directed a series of shorts with strong eco-social content -- for both the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and for our animated series on consciouness and ecology entitled Beyond 2012.
DG: What are some other projects you're working on?
JA: I am currently working on the preproduction of three films -- Gaia and the Last Forest, Archaic Revival, and Ponto Zero. Gaia and the Last Forest is an animated journey that tells the story of a urban girl that sees herself forced to move to the last piece of forest in the world, after her parents die in a mysterious accident. Archaic Revival, which essentially is a sequel to 2012: Time for Change, focuses on consciousness expansion and our historical realation to entheogens. Finally there is Ponto Zero, which is a film with actress Alice Braga narating, and looks at viable regenarative solutions for the developing world.
Furthermore I lead a permaculture project in Brazil called Ciclo Sustainable; we are starting to offer courses and retreats there.