I met Weronika Bloch in Paula Strzelecka’s Reggae Gallery, and then I met her in Regeneration after the premiere of Rasta. At the climax of painful compromises in working for various private media, Veronica told me about the workshop she attended in the Greek Thessaloniki. Can a local community produce and consume its own energy? RES cooperation. Another utopia? I saw it as a social energy revolution: a paradigm shift and an increase in self-esteem. But everyone, of course, had more important matters. Mink, wilderness, climate change, not for coal. But what in return? All the so-called green films so far talked about the catastrophic impact on climate change, but no one offered a clear and concrete recipe. I sold a flat, got rid of a nasty credit and decided to make a film about this phenomenon.
WERA: With me, it all started from looking for a topic for a student newspaper. In 2012 I went to take pictures of the protest against GMOs in Warsaw. When it turned out that the MPs postponed the vote on this issue until the next day, the leader shouted to the crowd that she had left her dog at home in Krakow and whether there was anyone willing to help promote another protest the next day. I was given the atmosphere of joint action. Protection of human health, nature, food. The most valuable thing. I volunteered.
Then, looking for opportunities for real changes I went to the Greens. Slogans: biodiversity, not for: coal, the atom and supposed tolerance for another. I was surprised that, as an introvert, I got so caught up in it. I helped organise environmental debates, cultural, social justice and social media. I naively thought that the party could change the law. Once Adam helped me to edit a film from one of the debates for free. It turned out that we have common topics to talk about.
Weronika brought energy from a green European youth meeting in Thessaloniki. The joint exchange of experiences and dancing. Working together for the Earth. There are supposedly places where people take the RES in their hands. 100% clean energy is possible, autonomous islands. Newly met Dirk Knapen from the REScoop association in Belgium shares his contacts. There is little response to e-mails and concrete participation in the film. But it seems that these people are somewhere. Few answers to the e-mails. In Poland, maybe nobody cared about the subject except Ewa Sufin. Research has given almost nothing. I set off to Europe with Weronika, determined to knock from door to door. Like an adventure is an adventure.
There is not much we can record in Catalan Som Energia. The people in the cooperative are giving us some interviews, but they say that there is no ‘their shepherd’ now. (founder & manager) and that don’t give a shit about advertising. All from mouth to mouth. In Madrid, we keep passing each other with one. A Lisbon imitator shows cooperative solariums on the roof of a special school and says first: ‘Make crowdfunding. We will help’. It is true that I did not ask ‘Will you help?’, but I was pleased. Especially as he talked about the broad response of his fundraising actions for social installations.
The owner of a self-sufficient hotel in the mountainous rocks of Morocco, afraid of the prison, asks for the materials to be erased. Permission from the king doesn’t have retroactive effect. In Toulouse, the cool guys just outside the electric car, which is no longer produced, don’t really want to show anything else. In Italy there is a long tradition, but everyone on holiday. In budding Enostra young cool guys, but they have not done anything yet… And it starts not to want to knock on that door anymore. In Croatia, cool young people, too, but they don’t say anything about the dates of installation of RES installations in rural areas. Everyone is talking, but what they are talking about… they do not want to show.
The Croats are inviting back to Zagreb for the First Crowdfunding Convention. They are said to be doing the best for RES projects. Tajikistan, Istanbul, the Middle East, Central Asia. During travel, I’m assembling a trailer. I’m pitching. The head of a large Croatian cable company is interested. The Croats say that they will help raise funds for the film. At the RES coops leaders’ rally on the Croatian island of Krk, I hear similar declarations from others. By the way, I am editing them for free promotion of the project from the business meeting. It is said that it will save the ass of the head of this project. Showing it in the EU will extend the deadline for completion. Not even a ‘thank you’. Ehh
Finally, something. Follow the bread crumbs. The head of all the heads of the renewable energy cooperatives in Europe will speak in October and invite us. It turns out that Marxists in Brussels are not particularly fond of cooperatives. I know these tones like the pocket of old corduroy from the Communist Poland. The boss explains that the media misinformation and misrepresentation of various sources. We are talking about the film, about the persuasions of his colleagues for a crowdfunding campaign. The cooperative symbol mill in Leuven doesn’t work, but the pellet factory in Ham does. All in all, the first decent documentary material after almost six months of traveling. Dirk agrees to record a video supporting us in crowdfunding.
The French are inviting us to COP 21 in Paris. For the first time, European renewable energy cooperatives have their panel discussion there. We are the only film crew. I later ask the organisers from the French cooperative whether they would not want this material for free. Nobody answers.
What happened next?… You will find out in the next part.