We're happy to announce that Money & Life was sought out and chosen to be 1 of 20 films in the inuagural Awakened International Film Festival Retreat in Santa Barbara, CA this October. Director, Katie Teague will be present for a panel discussion after the film and workshop some time during the course of the retreat. Come join us if you can. See attached press release for details:
During the summer I stumbled across the Transitions Network website and then discovered a Transitions group in my area called Village Surrey. After watching numerous documentaries about the problems with money and its power structure, I had come to the conclusion that the root of all evil was indeed money, but at the same time it’s also the most simple and powerful “voting” tool we have as individuals. The Money & Life movie became our movie night choice for September and a small, diverse group showed up to watch the documentary and discuss it afterwards.
One Muslim woman commented on how she felt nauseous after seeing how the fractional banking system really works. She reflected on how the Qur’an views the act of charging interest as a moral sin. Another man, who have moved to our area from Africa, shared how he felt disconnected from those around him and how difficult it was to feel a part of a new community. He valued the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. One participant felt we should not put too much emphasis on money so as not to overstate its importance. Fair point. A range of thoughts and ideas were shared, but what mattered was that Money & Life provided a starting point for people to connect, learn and grow.
One of the purposes of showing Money & Life was to see if there would be some interest afterwards in starting a local currency to promote local businesses, create resilience in our economy, and start reconnecting people. Money can be a democratic and empowering tool. Hopefully, whether we barter, have time shares or an electronic currency, there are ways to make powerful changes since we all deal with money on a daily basis and would ultimately like to spend much more time on what skills we can share with each other, not on how much we get paid in a national currency.
Learning about what others are doing is encouraging. So we shall see where this local currency project leads and at the very least, it has me thinking more about my community and how to make its roots stronger!
Surrey, BC, Canada
Guest Post by Scott Morris
A few months ago, I got a phone call from Katie. "How would you like to go to the DR?" "The what?" I replied. "The Dominican Republic. They have an environmental film festival that's featuring Money & Life this year and I'm already scheduled elsewhere and can't go. It's M&L's first big film festival. Sound like something you'd be into? They are paying all expenses!" "Well uh, let me think about tha...YES!"
Having never been further south than Florida, and knowing little to nothing about our neighbors in that direction, I was excited to accept the opportunity for some adventure. And, of course, another opportunity to spread the good word about Money & Life and the new economy movement.
Truth be told, I've been in heads down mode, trying my hardest to keep focused on my currency work and not entertaining things non-essential. I didn't do any homework on the DR before going, but at the same time that meant I left without expectations, which is rather advisable when traveling abroad I've found.
We walk into the 6th or 7th floor of an American sized mall, and into a totally modern movie theater. There's a green room with drinks available (at prices you'd expect in any American city) and this epic "May the Force be With You" on the wall, complete with a Darth Vader mask. Way too cool. After some meeting and greeting we take our reserved-by-name seats and strike up a conversation with a couple of Californians there representing "Otter 501". Before too long, a flurry of camera strobe flashes tells us that the former President of the DR has arrived at the venue...a mere 6 seats away from yours truly. Unfortunately, I have to leave the opening ceremony early in order to attend the first screening of Money & Life at a nearby college campus, but I knew I'd be linking up with El Presidente soon enough.
The first screening was interesting. The panel prior to the film had gone over its time budget, so they'd gotten started much later than anticipated, meaning that the last third of the film (all the good news) had to be cut if I was to have any time to speak with the students. I got up and, through translation, did my best to make up for the absence of the usual, Money & Life-instilled inspiration, and hopefully some of the students took away something useful as they headed off to their 8pm classes.
The next screening was at another university in a town about two hours away. We enjoyed the ride out with our translator and a couple of other escort volunteers, taking in the beautiful countryside views of rice fields, african-looking trees, and mountainous backgrounds. Of course there were the usual developing-nation scenes of more people than appropriate riding on a motorcycle, vans without doors spewing pure black exhaust as a passenger hangs out the side, and goats....just....goats ok? Anyway, the university is another sustainability-minded one, nestled comfortably back into some forest just outside the city. We were greeted by the hosting professor and the Dean of the School of Economics, who mostly focuses on Finance. We shared some discussion before heading into the screening room, where the film was just about halfway through.
After the film had concluded, I was introduced and brought to the podium to speak. This time I wanted to focus on keeping things simpler, more concise, and more heartfully directed. Guillermo did a masterful job of live-translation, and after the talk a number of students stuck around with a few follow up questions. A couple wanted to know how they could start up a "HERO Rewards" of their own there at the University, always an exciting question to field for me. I'm looking forward to following up with them about that. It was a lot of fun and I left a few token Merits with the professors as a sign of my gratitude for the gracious hosting.
One night Lucy Walker was due to receive an award from the organization for her film "The Tsunami & The Cherry Blossom". I was pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to use my proficiency in Japanese while viewing the film, as the subtitles were only in Spanish, leaving the English-only folks literally and figuratively in the dark. After the screening and Lucy's receiving of the award, we were all ushered upstairs to the board room on the top floor, where we would be treated to a surprise meeting with Leonel Fernandez, the former President.
We assembled in the room slowly and former President Fernandez takes his place at the head of the table. He then invites us to introduce ourselves before moving forward. When it's my turn, I cite myself as a protagonist in Money & Life, due to my work "creating a cooperative currency system which supports sustainability-related volunteerism, stimulates the local economy, and works to complement the national currency." "So...you create new currencies? That's kind of COOL!" he says. "Yes sir, we should talk more about it sometime."
The conversation goes on, and he talks about his vision of development for the DR, focused on education, film, and sustainability. He talks about changing the classroom dynamic, fostering more waste-to-raw-material industry, and getting more students interested in filmmaking. I was nervous. I was thinking about speaking up about a system I'd just been reading about in Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne's recently published, "Rethinking Money: How Currencies turn Scarcity into Prosperity" and I really wanted to share, but I wasn't sure now was the time. After all, I told myself, we'd be seeing El Presidente again at the closing ceremony. No. I had to speak up now. I raised my hand.
"Yes?" Mr. Fernandez says after my politely raised hand had been missed by another speaker, "Did you have something you wanted to say?" I did. Even now I can feel the tell-tale jitters that accompany me when I'm living my edge. Voice shaking a bit, and feeling shy on breath, I begin "Well, I just wanted to put something forward for your, and everyone's, consideration. I've been reading this "Rethinking Money" book by one of my advisors, and it has something to offer which could pull my currency work out of the abstract and into more concrete terms. In fact, I believe it would address many of the needs you've just identified, as it's custom tailored to education, and can increase any investments made into education have a greater return by 10 or 12 times the original amount..." I went on to describe what Bernard and others call the "Saber" currency, which uses vouchers issued to very young students to incentivize cross-generational tutoring, and resulting in cheaper access to higher education for graduating seniors. "What can you tell me about BitCoin?" he asks. "Well, there're a lot of people very excited about it these days, and I can understand why. BitCoin has been useful in that it has shattered the misconception that it is only governments and central banks who can create money, but in terms of its system design, it's actually very limited in terms of what it can do for social or environmental ends. I think we'll see it become a commodity-like store of value, but not much more." I reply.
Someone asks him whether he'd rather be a former president, or a baseball player for the Cubs, and that's the end of the group's time with him. Afterwards, while taking some group photos, I shake his hand and reiterate my desire to have a conversation about the DR's development and currency. We agree we'll meet in NYC in the first week of October. "Be sure to follow up on that." he says. I sent the email yesterday.
After our screenings were done, it was go here, enjoy this, go there, enjoy that until we headed home. We visited a cacao plantation, saw how cacao was planted, grown, harvested, fermented, roasted, and processed into that sweet brown nectar called chocolate. We planted about 2,000 trees with a bunch of Dominican students, and dined at a restaurant right on the water, which had its own private swimming area in case you felt like taking a dip before (yep) or after (that too!) your meal. Of course the meal plans were slightly interrupted as a mild tropical shower decided to join the party, sending the restaurants crew running on the dock (pictured) grabbing table cloths, collapsing umbrellas, and otherwise battening down the hatches. Half an hour and some floor squeegeeing later, no problemo!
We spent most of this time connecting with other filmmakers and film festival hosts. Lucy Walker was emphatic in her recommendation that I get myself to Silicon Valley as soon as possible (anyone feel like sponsoring a plane ticket?) because there are "loads of people with loads of money looking for people with ideas just like yours." She and a number of others all extended offers of places to stay should I ever come through, and I hope I'll be able to take them up on those sometime!
Eventually it was time to head home. We were to arrive at 11pm with plans to pick up the car and drive directly back to Ithaca, 4 hours away, getting us home at 3:30 or so. "Plans? HA!" the gods said. We got home to discover that in spite of a seemingly still charged battery, my car wouldn't start, leaving us stranded on the other side of New York state. The gods, if ironic and comical, were at least kind in their favor as we had parked in the driveway of someone we found on Craigslist. He kindly put us up for the night, helped us try to jump the car the day after, and even put us up for another night ALL FOR FREE when it ended up needing some time in the shop. What a blessing ~~ Frank, you really are a life-saver. Thank you so, so much again. Looking forward to hosting you here in Ithaca sometime soon! ~~ Such a gift-economy experience seemed a somehow appropriate way to end a marvelous trip to an island paradise-to-be.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Katie, both for the opportunity to enjoy this trip, and for the trust to represent the message of Money & Life with authenticity. Thank you to FUNGLODE staff and the DREFF volunteers for making the experience the smooth sailing it was. Special thanks to Natasha, Emy, Marc, and Guillermo for their excellent work. Looking forward to seeing you in NYC in October! If not there, then perhaps in the DR again sometime for another festival.
For many in attendance, being invited to, and given the special treatment at the DREFF was a chance to step back and realize that what is often thankless work is actually seen, appreciated, and very important to many, many people. For me, it was a chance to take a moment to catch my breath and help spread the good word about the beautiful gift to us all that is Money & Life. Katie has done us all a great kindness, and then done it all over again by releasing the film in the way she has. I humbly and cordially charge each of those who read this piece to share Money & Life with their community, a group they're involved in, or just a friend, and to send something back in return for the gift to Katie, whether by charging a voluntary donation, taking a collection, or otherwise just pulling a little something together. With all of us sending this and that, we will eventually return the debt of kindness with the best kind of interest there is.
Now, it's time to return to our work. We have a great responsibility as those aware of which way up is to spread that awareness, raise one another's consciousness, and leave this world in a better state of affairs than we inherited it. Jean Houston had it completely right "This is clearly the most interesting time inhuman history. I mean other times in history thought they were it, but they were wrong: this is IT!" So get out there! What ever instrument you play in this symphony of shifting paradigms, play it loud and play it with pride.
Scott Morris lives in Ithaca, NY and was featured in Money & Life for his "HERO Rewards" program and its "Merit" currency, which encourages volunteerism, supports the local economy, and builds real wealth. He now consults for the board of the Ithaca HOURs, and is working to bring modern cooperative currency technology to N. America via a Cooperative model. For more information including contact info, please visit www.mylocal.coop.Continue reading
Posted by Katie Teague
Here is the late Summer update on Money & Life. Highlights include these stats since the launch of the film on May 1:
Since we've gifted the film and effectively removed M&L from being the "middle man" we've found it difficult to accurately track screenings as they happen without our knowing. This is great AND if you are planning a screening, please let us know and we can post it on our website and we would like to keep track for our own metrics.
The film has now been translated into and can be viewed on Youtube (just click on the CC button for language options) in the following languages:
~ Spanish (Mexican)
~ Spanish (Spain)
~ French (translated but not posted on Youtube yet)
THANK YOU to all the amazing, generous folks who gifted their time and skills for these translations! A shout out to Stacco, Balint, Chris, Jonas, Carolina, Oliver, and Jorge.
It's been wonderful and awesome to watch the film circulate throughout the world. It has a very big presence internationally, especially in Europe.
We're also looking into other film festivals and talking with possible "smart TV" distributors to increase M&L's circulation. Some interesting possibilities are being explored and we will keep you posted. We will also be turning our attention to the educational market soon.
Late summer is Phase 2 of our Money & Life outreach-distribution strategy. So, we'll be spending time reviewing the feedback and data thus far to discern next steps.
The communications keep rolling in from all over the globe as people become aware of the film and they are inspired and impacted by its message and transmission. And we keep doing our best to honor the spirit of Money & Life.Continue reading
UPDATE: Since Nathaniel posted his “Are We Viral Yet?” blog last week on the 21st, we’ve jumped from 20,342 streaming hits on Youtube to 38,171 and counting. If our average views for the first 20 days was 1,017, the average of the last week has been 2,547. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that with a jump of that nature the answer to Nathaniel’s question is a very likely YES. Now the challenge is to keep up that pace! I’m eager to hear what strategy Katie and Nathaniel decide on and am looking forward to taking part in whatever way possible.
Since the conclusion of the last Kickstarter, I’ve fallen fairly quiet in the Money & Life digital community. Thank you all again for stepping up and helping Katie and Nathaniel make it around the country for that tour. I was lucky enough to attend the premiere in NYC, and have to say the audience’s excitement for Money & Life was palpable in the atmosphere. You could actually feel the inspiration, and even relief, people felt by hearing Katie’s message of hope and solutions-oriented focus. It’s little surprise to me that people are eagerly sharing this film with their own communities, friends and family.
Personally, Money & Life’s success is something I’m invested in in more than one way. As the prime driver of HERO Rewards, I’m very much a part of the living story it tells. Believe me when I say I don’t take that sense of responsibility lightly. In fact, that sense of responsibility is what brings me here to you today. I feel I owe it to you, as the Money & Life community, to continue that work and see it through to scale so that any and all of you can bring HERO Rewards and other life-nourishing systems to your own communities. I am very clear that that is my life’s purpose, and I’m fully devoted to it.
After the conclusion of our first pilot of HERO Rewards (which happened right about the time Katie filmed us the first time), we decided that a cooperative was likely the best way to scale the system and share it everywhere. In staying true to the spirit of the New Economy, we wanted an equitable, democratic framework that could offer true ownership on top of meaningful utility. So, “myLocal Cooperative” was born, and I'm now gnawing at the bit to raise the money we need to be able to reach communities across the US and beyond.
Today, I’ve been applying my meme creation skills to a crowdfunding campaign of my own in order to make that cooperative a reality. In order to develop the resources we need to go and raise real capital, we need about $5,000. That will go to covering time mapping out the membership and business model of the cooperative, some mentorship, and access to resources in the university communities at Cornell and Ithaca College. If you are inspired by our mission to bring this place-based and people-powered system to the world, please consider chipping in and sharing through social media. If you haven’t already, please send me a friend request on facebook! I do love connecting with members of this community and would love to have your support in getting the word out here in the last week of the campaign.
Scott Morris is a New Economist and the Founder of myLocal Cooperative. He works with community currencies and sustainability organizations in Ithaca, NY. He serves on the board of the Green Resource Hub, Greenstar's elected council, and organizes for the Ithaca HOURS. He is also an artistic travel and nature photographer. Learn more about his startup cooperative and currency work at www.mylocal.coop and see his photography at www.CScottMorris.com.
by Nathaniel James, Engagement Strategist
Money & Life has been widely available for 20 days. The great news is that 20,342 people have streamed the film as of this writing. That's an average of 1,017 per day. At this rate, when you add in all the planned community screenings, DVD sales and downloads, it's possible that somewhere as many as 300,000 people will have seen the film by the end of the year. This is a wonderful indication that our grassroots distribution model is working and that the film is fulfilling a need. But, at the same time, our daily viewership rates began to slow a little bit over the weekend.
I can't help from asking a few questions. Are we headed to a plateau or a serious slow down? In this age when a (let's face it) frivolous music video can garner one billion viewers, what's it going to take for meaningful media like our film to reach one million?
In other words, are we viral yet? And if we aren't, what can we - the Money & Life supporter community - do to move us to that tipping point? I'm including some short notes on virality and asking you - our friends and supporters - what you think we can do together, given our limited budget and team capacity, to reach for that one million viewers mark. Before I dig in, I want to reiterate that the quality of M&L dialogue and action is the most important thing, but driving quantity audience size makes better quality possible.
Media "goes viral" through a number of channels. An important feature of viral media is its shareability. When thousands of people are compelled to hit that share button, email a few friends, or otherwise nudge a piece of media outward to their networks, and each new wave of sharing generates a larger wave of sharing, then virility is possible. So, how shareable is Money & Life?
Between Facebook, Twitter and our mailing list, we can reach about 3,000 fans. And, of course, upwards of 24,000 people have seen the film! And we know many of you have been sharing the film and we thank you for it. But the strategic question is, now that M&L has touched so many people, how can more of us rally together to amplify the film to that next level of hundreds of thousands?
Would you participate in a coordinated social media and face-to-face outreach campaign? What kind of support would you need, knowing that our resources are largely tapped out at this point?
Last week, I met with Colin Mutchler, Louder's founder and sketched some ideas about using their tools to amplify our signal. Louder is a platform to fund advertising for purposeful messages. Think of it as Kickstarter, but with a specific focus on pooling funds specifically to reach audiences. They are about to launch features that begin with expanding shareability, but ultimate lead to a funding appeal that is directed to advertising of the campaigner's choice.
Many of you crowdfunded to make production possible. Many crowdfunded to make our premiere tour possible. Would you join us in raising some pool of funding to buy advertising space? Obviously, "advertising" has a bad reputation for those of us who want to change the world for the better. But as Colin said, "If we're going to be stuck with an advertising-based media for the foreseeable future, why shouldn't more advertising space carry our messages," rather than those that support the status quo of consumer culture? I, for one, think that's a terrific question.
And we have already experimented with advertising, specifically spending $40 over our first two weeks on Facebook ads. We have reason to believe that those ads are a main driver for our consistent audience growth. As much as I'd rather not line the pockets of Facebook's owners, I think it's worth asking what could happen if, one time, we spent $1,000 or $5,000 or more advertising on this kind of advertising. What do you think? Would you add a little money to the pool to make that happen?
I'm still learning about it, but Thunderclap "is the first crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together." In other words, supporters connect their social media account, and when the time is right, Tweet and Facebook all together. Do you think we should give this a try?
A second pathway to virality is exposure to large audiences via traditional media: press, radio and television. During the premiere tour, we engaged a very capable PR pro to help us do this. However, for a variety of reasons, Money & Life has so far proven difficult to "sell" to journalists.
And yet, on an almost weekly basis, I am seeing discussions in the mainstream media about the ongoing collapse of the status quo economy and I think, "Why aren't they calling Katie?"
Media pitching is an arduous, time-consuming tactic. And we've exhausted our current budget for that work. But I believe our network can help us connect to some highly visible journalist. One way to do that is to successfully "go viral" without the big media and then that is the story. Or, somewhere in our 20,000 strong audience is a relationship with a media outlet that would resonate with the film.
Are you someone who can introduce the film to a big media producer?
To close up, it's important to repeat that we are absolutely thrilled with how the film has done so far in its early release period. And we are endlessly grateful to its supporters for making that happen.
We're simply turning some questions we've been asking behind the scenes over to you. Do you want to see Money & Life reach larger audiences? If so, what can we do together to make that happen?Continue reading
The “official” premiere tour is over and May 1 is here. I stand at a threshold of having completed the film and having watched it personally with over 1500 people (not including the rough cut screenings). And now I release it globally out into the world. It’s like giving birth to a fully mature teenager who’s ready to leave home, who kind of still needs you but not really.
I am still catching up to myself from the whirlwind of traveling across the U.S. for over 3 weeks and being blessed by the gracious orchestration of so many people who helped make the premieres happen and meeting so many amazing human beings along the way. I realize as I offer Money & Life as a Gift into the world that the nature of Gifting has reciprocity inherently built into it, such that you don’t always know who is gifting who or where the gift began, especially when we begin to acknowledge the abundant flows of wealth beyond money itself.
Money as we know it today measures scarcity really well. But it’s a lousy measurement of the many dimensions of wealth intrinsic to our being human.
So, I would just like to thank everyone who has been a part of the premiere tour journey with me ~~ sponsors, coordinators, hosts, fairy godmothers and attendees alike. In summary, I feel I’ve been witness to an extraordinary tapestry of goodness and potential being activated.
And now I am thrilled to offer and announce the global release of Money & Life. It is now available on DVD with 33 minutes of extra interviews (for sale on the website**), online streaming and digital download (at no cost = pay according to your values and means). And we’ve now already had around 50 people contact us to register hosting a screenings in their communities (click here to find out more about hosting a screening)!
I’ve decided to take a very non-traditional approach to distribution by Creative Commons licensing the film and actually encouraging the sharing of the film and by offering it online at no cost because the most important thing for me as the filmmaker is that the seeds of the film get spread across the fertile soil of humanity. Yes, I do need to recuperate expenses put into the film (above and way beyond funds raised via Kickstarter) and there does need to be flow into the production company to continue and further outreach and distribution AND I trust that those who are touched by the film and have the means will become an integral part of the Gift and its inherent reciprocity.
As John Lennon sang “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
** DVD’s won’t start shipping until on or around May 10.Continue reading
Hello from New York City! With 5 premiere screenings down and 6 more to go, I thought I’d pause to give a personal update and some reflections from the road.
It's been a very full time for me ~~ full of joy and challenge, full of airports and train stations, full of new friends and old friends, full of learning and teaching. The reception to the film itself has been overwhelmingly positive and truly rewarding beyond words. Two sold out nights in the Bay Area about blew my mind! Really, when one starts a venture that turns into a four-plus year odyssey such as the M&L journey ~~ you just never consider what the actual birth into the world is going to bring or what it is actually going to feel like. It's given over to the realm of the mysterious.
The most exciting and encouraging fruition for me has been the post-film discussions, both the formal Q&A sessions and the informal receptions following. The discussions have been lively, vital and deep ~~ a huge reflection of both our collective hunger for this level and quality of discourse and the potential the film offers as a springboard for such engagement. This confirms my intuition and desire to release the film into the world via community screening strategy. [An aside: we have over 40 community screenings already being planned.] I’ve never wanted to be an organizational bottleneck to access to and use of the film and so the M&L team is doing our small-budget best to make the film widely available and visible come it’s larger release into the world on May 1.
I keep saying over and over that the greatest pleasure for me has been the support and community that has sprung up around M&L and it’s message in the world ~~ and now getting to meet many of you in person along the way. I’ve always intended that the film be a gift to the world, a tool for anyone engaged in this conversation to further the conversation, to further the blossoming of a new economy that reflects our shared values of justice and care for all. Thanks for helping me realize this dream.
We've got 6 more premieres and these are really crucial in the strategy of making M&L visible ~~ so come if you can because there's a level of engagement you just can't get streaming the film alone. And help us spread the word!! The next two premieres promise to be full-on fun and exciting:
New York City, April 19th @ 7pm
(post-film panel discussion with Katie, John Fullerton and Scott Morris)
63RD STREET Y
King Alphonso Room,
5 West 63rd Street,
New York, NY 10023
Washington D.C., April 20th @ 7pm
(post-film panel discussion with Katie, Rebecca Adamson, Judy Wicks and James Quilligan)
50 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Washington, DC 94710
Last week, Money & Life wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign where we engaged over 100 backers and surpassed our $7,000 goal by over $2,000. $7k might seem like a small sum to some, but it makes a significant impact on our ability to organize at a grassroots level and get our message out to more people. Some may think it could have easily been reached if just one person had written a fat check, or if seven people contributed $1,000. They might say to themselves, “That’s not asking too much, right?” And they would be so right, and yet so wrong.
I would take 100+ backers helping us reach $7k over seven backers helping us reach $7k any day. Having so many people publicly support the film is emblematic of the Money & Life philosophy in action. From day one, we’ve approached the film with a community-first ethos. Having multiple backers not only shows the tremendous power of collective action, it shows that in our increasingly fragmented society, we, as concerned humans, have retained the ability to gather together, build community and collectively work toward achieving a common goal.
At its core, this is what Money & Life is all about: No one person can create sustainable change. Change is only possible via the collective action of large groups of people. The same is true in the case of our community screening efforts.
Beneath the steady stream of Kickstarter updates, Facebook comments and celebratory tweets surrounding our recent Kickstarter accomplishment, Money & Life has stood at the epicenter of another resounding success and example of the power of collective action: We currently have over 50 community screenings planned across the globe—from Chicago to Vancouver and Berlin to Johannesburg—for the period following our premiere tour and world release on May 1.
Just like we wouldn’t have been able to fund the development and production of Money & Life without your support, we won’t be able to get word of the film out to people across the world without independently-planned and organized community screenings like the 40 that are already in the works. We need you to step up and show this to a community you think may be interested. We need you to prove that movies like Money & Life can be distributed at a grassroots level, without the traditional major motion picture distribution machine. If successful, this would stand as another example of the power of collective action.
In short, you—the fans, the Kickstarter backers, the believers and the M&L community—hold the keys to the final leg of our campaign and, ultimately, our collective legacy. We need you to organize screenings in your communities. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 1,000 people in attendance. The only thing that matters is that the stories shared in our documentary are presented to others and have the opportunity to touch and impact people across the globe just like they’ve impacted you and I. Won’t you lend a hand? The most exciting part of our journey is just around the corner.
To learn how to set up your community screening, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio: A Detroit native, Kevin is an entrepreneur with professional experience in project management, consulting, education and legal services. He graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in American Studies, where he developed a passion for learning and teaching. In 2007, he moved to Beijing where he taught at all levels, and realized all human life is interconnected on a global level. He’s since channeled his passion for education into technology that increases access to vital resources and levels the playing field globally. Kevin believes that by harnessing the power of technology, we can solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity and usher in an era of abundance for all.Continue reading
Money. It’s what people worry about the most and talk about the least. We tend to tiptoe around it and whisper about it like it was some mysterious dignitary in our midst. What would it take to get money off the pedestal we built for it and bring it down here amongst the living?
In MONEY & LIFE, filmmaker Katie Teague addresses this question by following her own inquiry, unraveling economic complexities and the history of our financial tangle, for the sake of money clarity. Her film helps us understand that our relationship with money and life, and what we experience as a result, is no different in its fundamentals than how we find success in our other associations: It takes communication, which leads to familiarity. Five uncomplicated strategies can help you gain familiarity with money, boost your financial well-being, and enrich your relationship with life:
#1 – Admit your feelings about money. People pretend to feel better about the subject than they actually do. Our tendency is to mask our financial pain, pretending that our truth or concerns aren’t that important. Find someone to listen and offer qualified advising.
#2 – Know you are not in this alone. In my wealth advising practice, the two things I hear most often are “I should be able to do this on my own” or “I should know this by now.” If you weren’t taught much about money growing up, how are you supposed to know about finance if no one ever taught you, and why should you have to go it alone anyway?
#3 – Author supporting beliefs. If you grew up with limiting beliefs around money, resolve to think differently. So often people let limiting beliefs sabotage their own intuition. Financial well-being comes from the quality of the questions we are willing to ask ourselves – start asking “How can I?” instead of “Why can’t I?”
#4 – Make a new economy. I talk to people each day about how to improve their relationship with money. What is interesting to me is how determined we can be to hold on to our old money stories or habits while seeking new solutions. Or we accept generic or biased financial advice that’s ill-fitting. Letting go of what does not serve frees you to experience a new economic reality.
#5 – Create a financial identity that can survive any economic storm. Money is an emotionally-charged topic for many people, and no amount of technical or expert financial information is going to cure that. To make the most of your wealth, create a positive internal vision that allows you take money into your life and use it as a force for good.
I offer these strategies because I understand how money and wealth affects a woman’s dreams, and walked the path myself. I’ve had a front-row seat on the most dramatic economic booms and busts of my generation. I witnessed my own family’s financial struggle during the American farm crisis of the 1980’s and was in the trenches at Microsoft during the technology boom of the 1990’s, where I made my own fortune. From 4-H dairy projects in Iowa to 3-for-1 stock-splits, my experience has been the same: Underlying all the strategies we employ to manage our economic life is the real engine of personal economics – discernment. Wise financial decisions require more than a spreadsheet. They also require that we understand our own behaviors, beliefs, and the emotions we have around money.
Dianne Juhl, CEO and PhD(c), founded The Feminine Face of Money® as an independent educator to teach women how money really works objectively. She figured it out for herself after losing millions: That no one has to be ignorant about money or misinformed about the role of a financial professional in managing one’s wealth. Dianne reigned in her inner saboteur to transform her relationship with money and she has survived almost every point on the continuum of wealth – from growing up in a working class farm family to finding herself a Microsoft millionaire in her 30’s. Dianne knows the ups and downs of this journey in life we make in relationship with money.
The Feminine Face of Money® doesn’t sell or recommend investments. FFOM® advises women to formulate a value-based wealth strategy, a financial identity, and author supporting money beliefs. Women are empowered to know who they are with money, so they are not waiting for a life event or crisis to tell them. www.femininefaceofmoney.comand www.facebook.com/TheFeminineFaceOfMoney
Dianne can be reached at 206.850.2261 or by email at email@example.com.Continue reading
For better or worse, we interact with money every day. It is involved in our daily decision making, family lives and careers. It can dictate our vacations, our schooling and even our diet. Thank you to Katie for giving us all a reason to take a step back and think about our interactions with money and ask ourselves: how does money shape our communities and our world?
Many of us are already taking steps to spend locally and save our money with a community bank or credit union. Our communities will be stronger because of this. Yet, another often overlooked vehicle for change is your investment account – yes, whether it’s that little Roth IRA that you opened years ago, or the family foundation for which you are trustee, you can have an impact. But unfortunately, few of us can say with confidence that our investments are even remotely aligned with our worldview.
Today, over 70% of publicly-traded shares of US companies are owned by institutional investors (mutual funds, pension plans, etc…) compared with 8% in 1950’s. With this significant amount of ownership, comes significant voting power and influence over a given corporation.Increasingly, those votes are being cast on issues such as sustainability reporting, greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency goals, disclosure about hydraulic fracturing operations, executive compensation and political contributions. In fact, 40% of all shareholder resolutions submitted to US publicly-traded companies in 2012 were on social & environmental policies and practices. It is a great time to be an engaged investor!
I began focusing my financial planning and investment consulting business on sustainable and responsible investment strategies in 1986. Times have changed and our movement has evolved fantastically, but this is the most exciting time I can remember. More people are choosing sustainable and responsible investment strategies, more companies understand that managing their environmental and social impacts can lead to better business and we have better tools to monitor how our money managers are wielding their shareholder power. We can all create change by ensuring that the investments we own – be it individually or through a money manager – are being used to actively encourage transparency, accountability and responsibility. Visit us at www.Goodfunds.com for additional information on shareholder engagement and sustainable responsible impactful investing.
Eric Smith, CFP®, AIF®, is the Founder and Director of Strategy and Advisory Services at Goodfunds Wealth Management (www.goodfunds.com) in Seattle. Advisory services and securities through KMS Financial Services, Inc.Continue reading
Greetings, friends of Money & Life. My name is Nathaniel James, and I’m working with Katie as the Community Engagement Strategist and Coordinator. Simply put, I’m here to ensure that the film connects to the widest possible audience. More importantly, we see the film as a tool. We don’t just want people to watch; we want the film to empower them to act and make changes at the personal, community and global levels. I’m putting together the people, processes and tools to make that happen. If that excites you, please be in touch. My door is open to you. You can learn a little more about my background here.
We want to share with you the engagement and marketing strategy and some of the plans that are coming together. Before I dive in, I just want to say how honored I am to be part of this project. Katie is a joy to work with, and I’m meeting many wonderful people who are already out there making preparations to support the film’s release in March. The film is almost finished, and I can say that you – and the people with whom you share the film – are in for an experience you won’t soon forget.
Our lives and communities are so entangled with this system of money, but it is often difficult to understand and is such a taboo topic that we don’t often help each other come to grips with the what that entanglement means. Subsequently, money is a source of stress and isolation, and – at its worst – injustice, environmental devastation and violence. Besides being a beautiful film, Money & Life is an invitation to release the taboo and a tool that you can use as we strive to create a new economy that embodies our best selves.
Money & Life has a big story to tell, one that we believe will touch many lives. As an independent film, though, it has a small team and nothing like a big Hollywood budget for marketing and promotion. How are we going to make this happen? When I first joined the project last fall, I worked with Katie and our allies to draft a core strategy document, and I’d like to share some of it with you.
Sun Tzu wrote:
Purpose is the motivating force for achievement. When you are doing something which serves your purpose, you are at your best. We cannot use what we learn without the fire of purpose in our hearts.
I started by asking “What is the purpose of Money & Life and what are the outcomes we want to see in order to know it is making its fullest impact?” After much reflection and deliberation, this is the statement of purpose and outcomes:
At its core, Money & Life is about awakening viewers to the gift of life, inviting people to reclaim their lives and their communities from the rule of money and sparking participation in the creation of a more beautiful world.
Tactically, Money & Life uses the economic crisis as an opportunity to educate audiences about the emergence of the resilient new economy movement, inspire people to find their place in the movement and provide them with support and resources in their exploration.
Money & Life offers questions and provoke audiences to seek answers for themselves. The film asks:
The film’s distribution will take on a life of its own, as leaders and communities use the film and associated tools to further their own efforts in creating the new economy.
This will inspire a lively public dialogue, across the US and beyond, that leads to individuals making more authentic financial choices and community coordination to create and nurture collective wellbeing as we transition to the resilient new economy.
Whenever we are making a strategic or tactical decision about the distribution of the film and our approach to engagement, we return to this statement for clarity.
We would love to hear from you. Does this statement resonate with you? Do you have questions or ideas about how we can realize this purpose? If so, leave a comment below, post a note on Facebook or shoot us a message.
In future updates, I’ll be sharing the tactical plan for the film’s release, the methods we’ll use to measure the film’s success and other updates as we proceed.Continue reading
We’re so excited that our premier calendar is coming together. We will keep this post updated with links to ticketing and registration pages, so check back regularly. Very soon, we’ll be launching a new website that will make it even easier to learn about premiers and community screenings near you.
Seattle: March 20
Tucson: March 26
San Francisco: April 10
Oakland: April 11 (tickets available starting March 6)
New York City: April 19
Boston: final date TBD
Washington, DC: April 22 (final date TBD)
Roanoke: April 26
Denver & Boulder: April 28
Vancouver, BC: April 30 (final date TBD)
M&L is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity? This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected.
And, finally, don’t forget that on May 1, 2013, we will be making the film widely available via download, streaming and DVD for anyone with an internet connection to access.
We have some big news today.
We are so pleased to announce the world premier of Money & Life, which will take place at the SIFF Uptown Theater in Seattle, Washington on March 20 at 7pm. After the screening, filmmaker Katie Teague will take questions at the theater. Following the screening and Q&A, there will be a reception at a nearby bar, details TBA.
If you are in the Seattle area, please get your tickets now.
If you aren’t in Seattle, you can help get the word out. You can forward this post to friends, family and colleagues you know in the area. Here’s a short note about the film to give them some context:
M&L is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity? This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected.
You can also share our Facebook event page on your timeline or to specific friends in and around Seattle. It’s still important that people buy tickets for the event, but Facebook is a great engagement tool to keep people informed.
We’ve also included a small image file for the promotional poster that you can use however you see fit (on the web or to print out).
We’re so excited for this moment, and we hope you are, too. Thank you for everything you’ve brought to the making of the film. Let’s all join together and build a lot of buzz as the film will be widely available very soon.
Also, here is the calendar of other premiers. We’ll be ready to provide tickets to these events very soon!
March 26: Tucson
April 10: San Francisco
April 11: Oakland
April 19: New York City
We are also planning dates and venues for the following cities: Boston, Washington DC, Chicago and Denver and/or Boulder.
Stay tuned!Continue reading
The Money & Life team is pleased to welcome our first guest blogger, Julie Gouldener. See her bio and picture below. If you have a story to tell that is in line with the message and purpose of the film, don’t be shy. Let us know about it.
Bravo on the Money & Life team’s courageous decision to embrace a community screening strategy! A couple of recent events in my life lead me to believe this decision will bring far more rich, surprising, and satisfying yields to the film’s creators, and the communities who engage with it, than the commercial screening strategy ever could.
I work with a group in Baltimore who administers a local, complementary currency for our city – The Baltimore BNote. About a year ago, I organized an event for our organization called “Think Outside the Bucks.” Part of the event was a “Marketplace Minus the Dollar.” Vendors in the market were instructed not to price anything in U.S. dollars. Instead, payment could be accepted in IOUs for services, other items, offers of barter, a song or dance, BNotes, or anything else people dreamed up. Vendors could also allow attendees to set their own prices, or simply offer up their wares as gifts.
In the event invitation, I asked people to bring items to use in the marketplace to barter with, or simply to gift. I thought very few people would bring an item, so we set up tables of free things at the front door, provided by The Baltimore Free Store. These were the same tables where attendees could leave their items, and take new ones if they chose. I thought it was a great way to start the event, with people immediately receiving a gift, but mainly it served as a stopgap in the event people didn’t bring items of their own.
Was I surprised! EVERYONE brought gift items. Some attendees came literally draped with items to barter or gift with! Tables werecontinually refreshed as people left their items and took others. I had my handmade jewelry in the market as well, at a “gift economy” table. I allowed people to take freely and leave whatever they felt moved to, according to their ability and level of gratitude. I was amazed at the end of the night when I not only found more money (and BNotes) than I’ve ever made selling at fixed prices, but also offers for free services, hand written notes and other treasures.
I’ve also had a recent experience with a film that chose the commercial screening strategy. The film itself is a great tool that questions our current economic paradigm, but my desire to share it with my community turned into a cumbersome, expensive, and somewhat disempowering quest. As much as I like the film, I wouldn’t be quick to screen it again.
It is our current paradigm of scarcity that makes people afraid to step outside of the current system and feel distrust, or even fear, about doing things differently. But once people do step outside of it, incredible richness and creativity can flow through – and does.
I believe Money & Life creators will see their generosity and openness reflected back to them in wonderful and unexpected ways. I look forward to being a part of the spirit of this gift as it unfolds.
Julie Gouldener is a mother, artist, teacher, baker, and community organizer with over 10 years of non-profit experience in organizing and communications work. Currently, Julie works as Program Coordinator for Baltimore Green Currency Association, a nonprofit that has created a local, complementary currency for Baltimore called the Baltimore BNote. She loves living in Baltimore and is deeply committed to the vision of a world where every person creates value for their community, and themselves, in a way that is beautiful and meaningful to them.Continue reading
As Money & Life nears completion and we finalize our plans for release, we took a moment to consider whether we should try for a “big commercial release” for the film or develop our plans to concentrate on the community screening strategy. This was a challenging decision. Ultimately, we will fully embrace the community approach and a gift economy mindset, and now see the film as an opportunity to question the dominant commercial model for media distribution. We want to share the background of this decision with you, expand on our plans for community distribution and invite you to imagine what you will do once the film is widely available in the very near future.
Recently, I showed the Money & Life trailer to a colleague with many years of experience in documentary film. He asked if the production values of whole film were as strong as what he’d seen. I told him that the trailer was cut two years ago, and that the film – from a production value lens alone – had advanced leaps and bounds. He said, “I don’t understand why you’re not going for a commercial release.”
I respect his opinion a lot, and he had a good point. If we found a traditional distributor, they would purchase rights to the film, immediately repaying Katie for the significant effort and expense she has put forward to make the film. More importantly, this route offers the possibility of massive reach, including national (then international) cinematic distribution, major coverage in the media and a very, very large audience.
But we had to ask ourselves – is audience size our key measure of impact for the film? AsI wrote earlier, we see the purpose of the film as creating a personal experience that inspires deep dialogue and change at the community and global level. If a million people saw the film in large theatrical venues, but then went home, alone, without dialogue and the chance to coordinate with their neighbors, is that real impact? If just one thousand people saw the film, committed to new courses of action and mutual support, that could start a cascade of change towards a just, resilient economy.
More importantly, can a film that asks challenging questions about money and commercialism authentically rely on that system to be seen and have impact? As we were asking these questions as a team, I had a chance to share a meal with about 10 supporters in the Bay Area, and we discussed this question in depth. We also discussed the question with our marketing advisor at the Film Collaborative. And Katie took some soul-searching time.
The answer is a resounding “Yes to community.” We are now putting final touches on the community distribution plan, and we want to radically frame distribution as contributing to a gift economy. Katie will license the film under Creative Commons, offer digital downloads and streaming under a “pay according to your values or pay it forward” model. Physical copies of the DVD will be for sale at a low price point, but buyers will be invited to add a donation to help move the work of the film forward. We will offer suggested gifts for community and educational screenings, rather than require license purchases. And this gift economy distribution will launch on May Day, 2013, after we’ve taken our premier tour in March and April.
While we’re at it, let’s imagine a world where a millions people see the film and have the opportunity for dialogue and change! In a peer-to-peer world we know that by lowering the access barrier and de-criminalizing sharing, the film may in fact reach more eyes and hearts or certainly the many eyes and hearts that are hungry for a valuable tool likeMoney & Life.
For the film to reach its fullest impact, we must ask you:
“What gifts will you bring to the life and work of the film?”
We are a small team with a very small budget compared to many films in the market. And many of us close to the film hope that Katie will recoup the costs of producing the film and prosper going forward as a result of offering the gift of Money & Life. Instead of holding the film back from everyone but film festival audiences and potential distributors, we are rushing to give the film to you and your communities. This both allows for and requires your creativity.
How can the film benefit the work you do in creating a new economy? How will you organize to make sure it is seen and inspires dialogue? Since you won’t need permissionor a lot of money on hand to show the film, what will you do with it?
We know that the team at Bay Bucks wants to organize to find theaters that will acceptlocal, alternative currencies as payment for cinematic screenings. We also know several financial advisors who will use the film to educate their contemporaries on values-based investing. We’d love to hear your ideas (below in the comments or over on Facebook), but remember – soon you won’t have to wait for us to say “yes,” to those ideas. If we’re successful, our little team will grow into a community of supporters all taking their own initiative and supporting each other in reaching and inspiring audiences.
So, let’s get ready for May 1, the day Money & Life will enter the economy as a gift! Thanks to everyone who has already brought their gifts to the project.
In my last post, I introduced myself and talked about the purpose and impact of Money & Life. But I know many of our supporters are eager to learn about the release and distribution plan in more detail. In this update, I will share the plan for the first two phases.
Katie has chosen a strategy that prioritizes grassroots distribution and engagement. To be successful, we need to create broad awareness and the tools people need for deep, local engagement. To that end, we will be launching the film in two initial phases. Read on for the overview, and I have placed items where we can use your help in bold.
Phase 1: Premiers, Festivals and Media
Starting on or close to March 20th (Spring Equinox), Katie will take the film on a premier tour. We want to plan premier events in the following cities, not necessarily in this order:
This week, I am inviting supporters in each of those cities to join Local Premier Committees to help me chart out the best venue and time frame for local impact and to help each other coordinate local publicity. If you live in one of these cities and want to help with that very important piece, please send us a note.
For these events, we hope to reach the largest possible local numbers to build our core audience and discover new advocates for the film.
We are hiring a publicist to help ensure that we connect with key local and national media outlets. If you know someone in the press who should be aware of the film and want to make an introduction, again, don’t be shy in contacting us.
To find appropriate festivals, we are working with a marketing group called the Film Collaborative. As some of you may know, film festivals can create wonderful exposure, but also come with restrictions regarding when and where else a film can screen or be made available via DVD or online. Film collaborative is going to connect us with a targeted list, so we can approach the right ones. They have already put us in touch with a really wonderful festival that would be perfect for phase 1, but we can’t announce anything yet. Stay tuned!
Phase 2: Community Screenings
Phase 1 is intended to help the film go far and wide. But at the heart of our strategy, we will enable people to host community screenings where participants can have a deep, local conversations about their experience with money and the changes they want to enact. In general, the difference between a premier and a community screening is that we hope community screenings will follow viewing of the films with community dialogue and an opportunity to coordinate for action. The premiers will mostly be too large to have an intimate conversation.
By the middle of April, we should have completed the premier tour. At that time, we will “flip a switch” on our website and make the film available, first as a DVD. Anyone can purchase a personal copy at this point.
If you want to use the film for your community or organization, we are providing a suite of services to make that possible. Here’s the quick outline:
These resources will be available at www.MoneyandLife.com. Our current site is not set up for this functionality, so we have engaged Assemble, a web development group that specializes in film and is offering a comprehensive package of on and offline marketing materials and tools. We are working on creating an online resource guide that will allow viewers to explore solutions, both by geography and by topic. So, say you’re in Pennsylvania and interested in alternative currencies or in Florida looking for support to change your investment portfolio to match your values, we hope to give you a good start in your search for ideas and support. This resource guide will probably grow over time. If you have experience setting up wikis or other web-based knowledge management systems, I would love to hear from you.
Finally, we want to grow the team a little to make sure we are ready to respond to the demand for the film. Very soon, I will start the search for two interns: a social media coordinator and a screenings coordinator. If you are or know someone who might fit the bill, I’m happy to take resumes now.
Phase 3 and beyond
For today’s filmmaker, the options and channels for distribution are massive. We know that Katie’s film will have a long life cycle, so we will continue to provide new ways to access the film. We’re exploring streaming and download channels (such as Netflix and iTunes), cable on demand, even broadcast. Katie plans to make a Creative Commons-licensed version of the film available free via BitTorrent. I am currently advising her to hold off on these channels for a little while to maximize the community screening strategy. We have also been informed that the filmmaker sees less financial return on some of these methods. We are also researching educational and international distribution opportunities. If you have experience with contemporary distribution methods and want to weigh in, please talk to us.
Already, we’ve had so much support exploring and defining distribution strategies. We can’t do it alone, so don’t hesitate to connect with us.
In future posts, I’ll be talking about how we measure the film’s impact and other updates as we move along. If there’s a question or topic you’d like me to address, I’m here to be helpful. Just let us know.Continue reading
A five minute segment from our footage outtakes with evolution biologist and futurist Elisabet Sahtouris:Continue reading
Bernard Lietaer, author of New Money for a New World, is an international expert in the design and implementation of currency systems. He has studied and worked in the field of money for more than 30 years in an unusually broad range of capacities including as a Central Banker, a fund manager, a university professor, and a consultant to governments in numerous countries, multinational corporations, and community organizations.
Here in this 3 minute clip, Bernard speaks on what he refers to as Yin and Yang currencies and that “it’s time to create a balanced view.”
Bernard will be presenting via Skype at the upcoming Money & Life 2012 event at the Whidbey Institute. For more information click here. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exciting and engaging event.Continue reading
John Fullerton is Founder and President of Capital Institute, a transdisciplinary collaborative space dedicated to exploring and effecting economic change. The Institute’s mission is to help create “a more just, resilient, and sustainable way of living on this earth through the transformation of finance.”
In our candid interview with John, he shared his own transformative journey that lead him from Wall Street, where he managed capital markets worldwide at JP Morgan, to establishing himself as a thought leader in the “new economy” space.
In this 5 minute clip, John speaks soberly yet with optimism about the immense challenge of our time: the biospheric reality that is forcing us to re-think economics as we have known it, which is as John states “essentially our religion today.”
Watch, listen, comment and share!Continue reading