We don’t have many footage but a lot of declarations and promises so there’s hope the time wasn’t wasted. We tighten our belts. I make a trailer for Indiegogo (crowdfunding platform), Weronika makes a research on crowdfunding campaigns. Having offered help at first the Croatins postpone the appointment again. It takes almost half a year. In May 2016 I go for a meeting of the leaders of the cooperative to San Sebastian. I know some people already in person, some of them from the materials, some of them by eye. I have the impression that everyone knows what I have been doing for a long time. Well received I show the trailer, the applause starts.
I talk about the project: at least one year of work and constant travels, several cooperatives, we will observe the development, good logistic synchro and we will make it. A team of at least 5 people plus a translator and we should include the promotion and the promotion campaign for this, announced for 1 year film – in June. I ask “Will you help?”. Only now the Greeks agree to filming. A serious, British REScoop lobbyist waves his hand showing a 6-number amount of the budget in dollars:“Eeaasiilyyy” . Many pat you on the back. Many of known and less known people are in favour.
The campaign went abysmally. The money, proposed by the French, which was to be the imperative of the whole campaign, was paid after one week, when the “foam of enthusiasm” had already settled. The guy who was waving with the 6-number sum, was one of the two Englishmen who paid in. After 2 months probably the biggest cooperative of renewables in the EU (yet) deposited a bit. In total we collected 5% of the budget. It could be worse, as for the 2-people campaign. The losers in the eyes of others we’re asking themselves whether it makes sense to carry the ring on without the team? The topic is still important.
Western Europe gave up on us. OK. We will make the film in the UK. I started a company in the UK and 3 weeks afterwards the UK organized a referendum on leaving the EU. Bye, bye, European funds. We go to the Islands. Some Croatians got ahead of us in renting a part of a cottage on the cliff in Peacehaven near Brighton. But Alan from the Republic of South Africa acting out after the death of his fiancee, is offering common couch.
I like this style, we are closer to a human, whom we want to talk about. Besides we will be returning there often after shooting to rest, listen to the UFO transmission and to watch again all the parts of Kung Fu Panda. The shooting and the hospitality in the UK (and later in Greece) exceeded our expectations. At last some open people who are willing to show something. Two months of shooting and the lobbyist who was waving his hand with 6-number amount now talks about a 5-number sum, which will be for an elegant cinema premiere. “Ooofff cooouurseee”.
The unique activity and the pragmatism of the English cooperatives delighted us. Elastic, energetic and with personalities. They have an undistorted concept of commonality, undamaged by communism. With ingenuity they saw a good business in this and a chance to stand up to corporations. The real hobbits. It is right there in 2016 it turned out that thanks to such cooperatives the 20% of the market turned its back to the multinational corporations so called Big Six. That just had to be motivating! Bravo!
“Our island looks like a paradise”. That’s how members of an energy cooperative say about Sifnos. The first such cooperative in Greece. Asked by us, other inhabitants of Sifnos say that RES cooperators are a kind of “hobbyists”, “amateurs”, “a family”. The majority of our characters have their own business on the island. A travel agency, printing services or a flower shop. For Greeks on the islands each year have a problem with islands of floating plastic bags, the coop members figured out an action of sewing the cotton ones. In such a way they changed the bad habits and earned for an office. Each year they also organize a gastronomy festival for the inhabitants.
We arrive at night. Apostolos presents us to Maria who right away takes us to see Panegiria, a religious celebration. They cook for themselves jointly, feasting and celebrating. Every moment they have them in a different parish, which there are plenty, because as Giannis says, Greeks erect those churches close to themselves out of laziness. Indeed beautiful and spiritual. Those who without asking came to measure so as to build their installations were thrown out by the inhabitants from their island. This is how strong this bond is. Weronika loved this place before coming here.
Having met the Dutch chief of all chiefs of cooperatives of renewables I tell him that I have so much interesting material that probably I will make a film only on communities of renewables in the UK. Then he invites me to Holland. I say that I need to observe with a camera. He says OK. I say that I can come after Greece. He says OK. I was with him for almost one week at different meetings. Later one thing led to another. The Danes agreed at the end, after the Germans. And only after showing the initially edited material. Everything great but how to arrange dough for it? From the beginning of the shooting for the request of donation nobody has paid.
Back cracking after shooting for almost one year, several countries, and if only there was a minimal carbon trace. Once I was recording two days of one cooperative meeting with little knowledge of the language. Then I asked my colleague from the film sector to translate up to date. He was a sympathizer of this nation and after a while his face fell. He stopped translating and said that it was about nothing (in film language – not interesting). With this money for translators I can visit few places. What should I choose?
It is not a secret that when you sit for a while in one country, then a bit in a second one, then in a third one and then you repeat it several times then you’re able to find a stable plane of comparison. In Denmark I understood what a care of common awareness of the society and a constant fight for a joint business mean. And if people don’t understand but are willing to, then you have to explain to them, you need to take care of them. They’re exchanging the title of the happiest nation in the world, whatever it means, with Norway.
Of course there were a whole bunch of adventures, obviously. The harder, the more noble. It was not helping when I was saying that I was not making a propagandist film. Weronika said: “They expect that we will come to them like a Hollywood production”. You could see in the eyes an attempt to jump over the depreciation. What such two hobbits as us can accomplish? But the biggest surprise was still ahead of me.
After half a year of editing, failed search for dough and next bummers, on the last day of shooting, on the street of Nikola Tesla in one of European cities, from one of the leaders of RES coops I heard that: “We/they thought that you would fail, that’s why we blocked the message of your campaign and it was not sent to members of different cooperatives”. Why’s that? Couldn’t it have been said before that there would be no support? Why keep it hidden, for the whole period afterwards? And still keep the will to be in this film? 😉 Why not say: “We do not want it, because it is enough for us to be hypocritical that WE ALWAYS FIGHT TOGETHER FOR THE CLEANING OF ENERGY IN OUR CLOSED SOCIETY, and others, even though we call for them and try to get them, don’t really interest us”.
After one year a film critic friend said that no media would see their interest in writing on the “Human Energy” film. From the beginning I wanted so as the film would be addressed to an ordinary person, from whom, in my opinion, the green enclave of ecologists is separated. From my observations it is a rather hermetic circle which sustains an elaborated common myth: “If I know how cleanliness on this planet or an energy self-sufficiency is to look like, then I am a saint”. No, it is NOT TRUE. A lot of people know it or sense it. Only this ridiculous usurpation and purism like onanism sickens them, they are puzzled by the lack of dialogue, numbed by the polarization and that’s why exactly THE GREEN HYPOCRISY is pissing off.
To be continued…