Storm Cloud Media
"Seeding change with narratives that inspire and ignite."
A new film project from Storm Cloud Media
coming in later 2020
AS TEMPERATURES RISE
Being Human in Troubled Times
OVERVIEW: The Great Turning. The 6th Mass Extinction. The End of Ice. Deep Adaptation. By any other name, it’s game-change time on Planet Earth. We face an unprecedented global existential threat caused by non-linear feedback loops of biospheric degradation and social disruption. Our modern life-way of infinite growth and consumption (predicated on the philosophy of scientific materialism and a worldview of separation that together empower a paradigm of domination and “power over”) is coming to a prophetic end. The visible and felt pain points are many: soaring political polarization, toxic info wars, rising global temperatures, collapsing food harvests, escalating income inequality, increased natural disasters, xenophobia, epidemic mental health issues and suicide rates. The list goes on. And on.
We, the people, are fish swimming in the waters of collective fragmentation and trauma that we are vaguely (at best) aware of. All the while, an unnamed war rages on over control of the dominant cultural narrative to keep us docile and distracted.
Humanity faces an uncertain future while the machine of late-stage capitalism churns on, gutting the planet and eviscerating our souls in the same misguided reach to take more than we have given back, to deliver on promises that could ensure our eventual extinction. We’ve built “castles made of sand,” rendering us in a painful crisis of meaning and disconnect, the Rubicon of a de-sacralized world. Western society will collapse, as evidenced by historical accounts in which all complex societies follow the pattern of expansion, administration, and dissolution either into a new form or complete ending. The hallmarks of collapse are in the current headlines and our conscious involvement at this time matters dearly in terms of how collapse unfolds and what emerges alongside and in its wake.
The converging Troubles we face today are not only physical, economic, and social but they are deeply psychological, darkly soulful, and unavoidably spiritual. Not an ascendant, rise-above-into-the-fifth-dimension, aliens-are-going-to-save-us spiritual but a place-your-hand-on-the-ground and ask-the-questions-that-truly-matter spiritual.
How do we live fully as human beings on the planet in this challenging time? What does a meaningful life look like and feel like with the backdrop of collapsing natural and human-made systems? How do we truly show up and participate in deep response-ability? How do we grieve what is lost? What does it mean to be conscious of the values from which we’re making choices? Why is addressing collective trauma important in this time? How do we build an increased capacity to embrace change and let go of ways that no longer serve? What is the essence of resilience and how do we cultivate it within ourselves and our communities to navigate the uncertainty and meet the disruptions before us? How do we speak to the youth who are coming of age in this time of deep transition?
The inspiration for the film comes from the tragic death of my 18 year old nephew, a year and a half ago. The shock of his death was a rough initiation into the grief and mystery of what it is to be human. The journey has taken me into raw, dark places where I’ve been unguarded enough to come out of my own denial about the unraveling that is underway on the planet, to feel the profound agony of humanity’s legacy of genocide and ecocide, to cop to the tragic illusion of human superiority. We continue to colonize the planet (and each other) at our own peril, treating it as an objective pile of resources, valuing it only by means of its utility to us and not as the living, breathing Being she is. The evolutionary pressure of these times requires the revitalization of a relational participation with the vital world. It requires that we imagine new ways of living that enable a thrivable future for the planet.
My experience is that these traumas (historical and ongoing) cannot be faced (and they must be faced) without then being left with the deepest of questions: Why are we here? Who are we? What is humanity’s purpose on the planet? And how am I called to serve in this time?
My journey through the dark valley of my nephew’s death (to the degree that I have been present to fully feel and grieve and not look the other way) has been a profound and life-changing experience that has fine-tuned my attention to beauty, to the sacred, to the things that really matter. And this boils down to the quality and wellbeing of all my relations, human and non-human. We are likewise facing a collective initiation, which is to say, a departure from life as we have known it and the only viable path forward is through. It is this through-walk that may resolve old traumas, release old stories and create an opening to a worldview that puts “Life at the center” as Pat McCabe spoke in my interview with her. With Life at the center of all we do, say, think, build, and legislate, we are summoned to uphold and stand for all that we most cherish, to tap into the wellspring of genius all around and inside us, and to fight compassionately for the Life that has given us all that we are and love. This transition will be messy BUT it can be beautiful and it must be in service of the good and it should be met as courageously as possible for the future generations of all life.
We can no longer wait for current governments, authorities, and top down systems in order to take action. And this action will be different for each of us, according to our true path and gifts. Getting to carbon neutral is necessary, but in and of itself not sufficient for the scale of transformation needed. Our mandate, as people of the Earth, is a wholesale shift in the paradigm that in-forms our structures, systems, policies, our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Our mandate is to experiment and evolve together, to discover our gifts and give back to Life in a devotional movement of love. We are awakened to this as agents of love for the future of Life, that will far out last our brief tenure of this one lifetime. The crisis of these times is calling us to this.
This film will be more poetic inquiry than scientific treatise, weaving together a diversity of voices and cinematic visuals. It is not a doomer film, though it looks head on into the challenges we face. Nor is it a film proffering false hope. It is intended to catalyze conversation, to activate individual and collective agency for sparking social change, and to help give context to these times as more people wake up and struggle to make sense of our disrupted world. In our current hyperlinked world of 240 character Tweets and click bait mania, information itself has become weaponized in a “war on sense-making” and our capacity for collective intelligence. The film reaches towards wisdom, aiming to be one clear signal in a sea of fibrillating noise. Clear signals can help liberate and unlock previously frozen energy. May this film serve to mobilize the deep joy that is set free when we come alive to our gifts and purpose as humans. The crisis of these times is calling us to this.
Personally, it’s my gesture of giving back, my response to the “3:23 in the morning” wake up call. It’s a love letter to the Earth and a preliminary guidebook for my nieces and nephews, who are coming of age in these troubled times.
I am inviting you to make this project a part of your response too, in helping me make it possible. It’s an outrageous time to be alive. Let’s live and grow into our better selves together and make this Earth moment as beautiful as we possibly can no matter the outcome, because – as temperatures rise – the crisis of these times is calling us to this.
THE FILM: The film will be under an hour long. It will be a poetic weaving of voices from the interviews (below) with a through line of narration put to engaging visuals.
The film will be a gift, made available on YouTube and/or other no-pay platforms. The intention is to make it as broadly available as possible, so that it may circulate and serve.
“When gifts circulate within a group, their commerce leaves a series of interconnected relationships in its wake, and a kind of decentralized cohesiveness emerges.” – Lewis Hyde
Interviewees (not set in stone):Joanna Macy (completed)
Vicki Robin (completed)
Dahr Jamail (completed)
Pat McCabe (completed)
Lyla June Johnston (completed)
Stan Rushworth (March)
Orland Bishop (March)
Robin Wall Kimmerer (April or July)
Jem Bendell (May)
Nora Bateson (May)
Karen O’Brien (May)
Leanne Simpson (July)
Stephen Jenkinson (July)
Vanessa Andreotii (Feb or March)
Bayo Akolomafe (Feb)
Phoebe Barnard (Feb)
Spring Cheng (Feb)
Martin Shaw (May)
Eileen Crist (April or July)
Thomas Huebl (June)
COMPANION WEBSITE: All the interviews will be made available in their entirety (with transcripts) in addition to segmenting out each of the interviews and creating a library of video clips that are searchable by theme.
The goal is to make all the content (beyond the film itself) available for anyone’s purpose(s). Segments can be put together in a modular fashion for group discussion or facilitation, be it an organizational meeting or a local community gathering or a relevant retreat.
January - August 2020 (production through rough cut stage of post-production)
DONATIONS: Your donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor Community Learning Network, a 501(c)3. Please specify that the funds are for “As Temperatures Rise.”
If sending a check make it out to:
Community Learning Network
PO Box 33423
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594
Or you can donate online here.
If you have any questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
"MONEY & LIFE 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."
"Years after her son’s tragic death, a bereaved mother is on an impassioned mission to un-silence grief in our modern culture that has buried and forgotten the essential art of grieving."
KATIE TEAGUE, Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
"Katie is an award winning documentary filmmaker (Money & Life) and former Sundance grantee (99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film). With a Masters degree in Depth Psychology, she turned her tending of the world soul from the counseling room to the craft of visual story making. Her life purpose remains the same, just the form shifted: culture repair, helping to heal and transform our collective world space and bring forth a more loving, regenerative world that works for all."