Finish yr chicken tikka masala before reading 15/2/2010

Happy Valentines,

As predicted by everyone who knows us, we have so far completely failed to retire from a) Age of Stupid, b) filmmaking, c) climate change and d) indie film distribution. We also failed to close down our office, to wade through the enormous backlog of sorting'n'filing or to go on holiday.

Lizzie, tho, has managed to make a big life decision, deciding to take on another mega-project - think Global Premiere but with more timezones - which she'll no doubt be filling you in on soon. She starts her new job any day, but in the meantime is currently on a train to the Berlin film festival to talk about Stupid's crowd-funding model, which is genuinely a hot topic of conversation in the world of indie filmmaking: at the Rotterdam festival last week her talk was introduced with "If you're not obsessed with The Age of Stupid, you will be after you hear how they did it" - and then the festival proceeded to launch their own crowd-funding scheme to allow their festival-goers to support new filmmakers.

Indie Screenings
We've decided to re-launch our Indie Screenings website (through which 1,314 screenings of Age of Stupid have so far been organised) on March 9th with eight other save-the-world films. We're busy getting the films licensed and rebuilding the site, but were wondering which films people particularly fancied seeing? All the obvious big docs of the last few years will either be on there or not on there cos of problems with the rights (ie a distributor/broadcaster owns the film and doesn't want it on Indie Screenings, which means there's nothing the filmmaker can do about it). Any thoughts? The only criteria is that they have to have a clear social action message. (BTW, apologies if you've written to Indie Screenings recently and not got a response. It's been in transition and there hasn't been a spare person to answer all the emails for a couple of weeks. But Rhiannon's on the case now.)

Food Inc on at your local movie house - MONDAY 15th ONLY

Remember the wonderful and brilliant Eric Schlosser from McLibel? He who wrote Fast Food Nation and is able to summarise corporate wrongdoing more niftily than anyone else currently alive on the planet. Now he's only gone and produced America's smash-hit (10th biggest all-time @ box office and No 1 DVD after a big Oprah splash) doc of the year, Food Inc. We schmoozied along to the UK premiere last week and can confirm that a) it's a fab film and b) nobody who sees it will ever be able to eat factory farmed meat again. So probably best to go for that curry before heading to the movies: Food Inc plays in a handful of cinemas round the country all week (Dundee, Bristol, Edinburgh, Inverness, London, Liverpool) and on Monday 15th it will be in cinemas across the country for one night only. List of cinemas here and audio interview with Eric and director Robert Kenner describing the film here.

Valentines 1: Carbon Speed Dating
Edinburgh Uni hearts 10:10 sooooooo much. The lucky students and academics are getting busy with practical winter gardening workshops, bike maintenance sessions, film screenings (no prizes for guessing which) and carbon speed dating, whatever that may be, as part of the Edinburgh University 10:10 Week. Alarmingly, the budget they've raised to run the university 10:10 campaign is bigger than the pot of cash we've managed to come up with to run the whole campaign across the whole country. Ha ha ha. Eek. (Please donate here.)

Valentines 2: Making Babies
The Guardian have brought up the environmental issue which dare not speak its name in a big feature article: "Eventually we'll be extinct anyway, but it would be so much nicer if we phased ourselves out through natural attrition... you know – the way a company reduces its workforce without firing anyone." I was interviewed for the piece during the Copenhagen Stupid Show madness and then spent the next few days worrying about what I'd said. But my quote is fine and I have to admit that this is about the only subject which tickles my filmmaking fancy... You heard it here first...

Animation 1: The Impossible Hamster
Stupid animating dude Leo Murray - who worked on the opening formation-of-the-universe sequence - has joined forces with the New Economic Foundation's top dude Andrew Simms - who's also on the 10:10 board, it's an incestuous world - to produce the youtube sensation known as The Impossible Hamster: "crazy consumption and really gross domestic product"

Animation 2: Coalition of the Willing
V cool new climate change project made by animators linked only by the interweb: "‘Coalition of The Willing’ is a film that discusses how we can use new internet technologies to leverage the powers of activists, experts, and ordinary citizens in collaborative ventures to combat climate change. Through analyses of swarm activity and social revolution, ‘Coalition of the Willing’ makes a compelling case for the new online activism and explains how to bring the fight against global warming to the people."

Depressing 1
Anyone who's been reading this mailing list for the last few years may have a chronic case of climate fatigue, but we're delusional if we think the general public is suffering too. A scary piece in the New York Times explains that, rather than 2009/Copenhagen being the moment that climate went mainstream, what actually happened was that the number of media stories went down compared to 2008. Whoops.

Depressing 2
10:10's No 1 cheerleader, the Guardian's Ian Katz, convincingly explains why the situation as of February 2010 is desperately worse than the desperate situation we were in just three months ago: "[the effort to secure a global deal] is like asking a jellyfish to climb a flight of stairs;
you can poke and prod all you want, you can cajole and you can
threaten. But you are asking for something that you just can't get".

On that cheery note, I hope the attached amuse.

See you