Funders: Dave's story

The Age of Stupid – "One Investor’s Mov(ie)ing Experience"

It was at ‘Be The Change’, back in December 2007, in Central Hall, Westminster, that I had the good fortune to watch a rough cut of this documentary, and to fall in love with it.  It had another name then, “Crude”, but the essential nature of the film was already fully formed in genius Director Franny Armstrong’s mind:  slick.

I loved how the six main characters wove deeply together, to paint a big picture, and to paint it true. A veritable oil canvas, within which each of us can choose, or not, to part-recognise our self. Every single one of us, a ‘bit-part player’ in the destruction of our own home planet?  Not clever?
It struck me that the film was a rich depiction of a passing era of humankind – the start of the end of “full-on party mode”, soaked stupid in fossil addiction, and drowning in our own mess.  Our wise species in a collective denial ‘pact’: mostly drugged and unconscious!  Something had to be done.

This was clearly a ‘big picture’ that could lead people to stop and think – and to critically re-assess everything we think we know.  It was obviously a ‘picture’ so firm in its foundations and so upright in its truth that it demands we turn everything in our lives upside down - until the picture is the right way up again!  

In short, I convinced myself the film was a masterpiece – and the right way up.  I could see how the Age of Stupid would come to mark the tipping point of human evolution!  Surely only a few would be able to watch it and leave unshaken / unstirred.  I could see it was a film that would change lives.  Deeply.  I could see it was a film that invited us to call ourselves to account, and to hear the call to action.  What I couldn’t see was any way I could afford to help!  This lady, Franny, was asking us for feedback on the film... oh yes... and for our money!  If we ever wanted to see the film again!  

But of course I was totally captive.  To have walked away from the opportunity to help make this film happen would have felt like walking on by, past my own children, lying injured by the roadside.  So, on the one hand - species annihilation; on the other - a slightly bigger mortgage.  The rest is history.

There were many like me given this same opportunity, back in December 2007, to put our money where our mouths were, and to get the film finished, via an investment model they called ‘crowd funding’.  No-one in the ‘crowd’ that day looked like they had any spare cash!  But most sensed that this was something we simply had to do.  Something that could really make the difference: between the kids' legacy being a burning home planet, or the kids being given their future back!  

So, to finish the story, a few months later (and a few thousand pounds lighter) I officially became a movie investor (darling.)  One of a huge crowd of passionate small investors - with a ‘few hundred quid’ each - rather than the usual small, elite (and never quite independent) few.  Given how much old wealth can be tracked back, one way or another, to striking oil, black gold, or to mining fossil fuel, this was something the film creators were always crystal clear about.  Exxon simply wouldn’t be allowed to sponsor a single pixel of the film!

My hand shook the day I made out my cheque to a body called ‘OOPS’! (One Off Productions.) As I write this review I still have no idea if i will get a single penny back, and my hands shake for a different reason. With excitement at how HUGE this is going to be.  

It’s true that the films chances of commercial success were given a boost when Pete Postlethwaite agreed to play the role of the old man looking back from 2055.  But the film deals in a currency far more important than those green slips of paper we argue about: it deals in life itself.  And I have not given up hope of getting all my money back, the way things are going.

Age of Stupid is not a conventional film, nor part of any genre, nor made for art’s sake, nor made for fame or riches, nor made to win awards. It is my belief that is it made with 100% pure authentic intent – urgent passion to create something that would bring about a collective species awakening - as never before dreamt of.  

It’s a film that will not just change the course of human history, but give us a second chance at having a future history atall.  It will catalyse a mass (global) collective awakening such that we get the chance – together - to choose life.   To choose ‘Not Stupid’.   And to reclaim our children’s birthright:  to expect to have a future.

If it ends up being bigger than Grease and I make a few quid out of it, I won’t feel guilty. I will be too busy celebrating that the film really did reach the parts that the other films didn’t. Proud that us ‘crowd funders’ proved Margaret Meade right:- that a small crowd of thoughtful, committed citizens really can change the world.  

Dave Hampton