An overview of the film, as it starts to take shape

Shaun Chamberlin holding a copy of David Fleming's Lean Logic

We’re thrilled that the three tasters we have released so far have sparked a lot of interest, viewed over half a million times already, and with hundreds of comments received. Thank you! It’s wonderful to know that there’s such hunger for this film about David Fleming’s inspiring legacy, and such keenness to collaborate with us on making it the best it can be.

As you’ll know, each taster is focused on a single one of David’s topics – the concepts he explores in dictionary format in his incredibly wide-ranging Dictionary for the Future, Lean Logic. So far we have covered his entries on ‘Gaia’, ‘Carnival’ and ‘Encounter’, but we’re hearing that we’re not yet offering people enough overall context of David’s vision, within which to ground each of these concepts.

So I’ve asked the film’s instigator, Shaun Chamberlin (pictured above), for a kind of summary framework within which we can make more comprehensible the individual topics we are planning to include in the documentary. Shaun has done outstanding work in setting David’s dictionary-style approach into a linear narrative (in the paperback Surviving the Future) that brings out the power of his arguments. So I now hand over to Shaun to offer an overview of the film as we currently envision it, as context for the individual video tasters and for your input:

Thanks Peter. So naturally this will change substantially as comments come in and as we actually collect the footage, but here’s how we’re thinking of it at the moment:


The opening isn’t that clear yet. We’re keen to avoid the conventional “here are all the problems we face…” opening, but don’t want in any way to gloss over the deep challenges of being alive in our world today. One option is to start with our footage of Stephan Harding’s Deep Time walk, which manages to be uplifting while at the same time reminding us of what an exceptional (and indeed exceptionally destructive) historical moment we live in. This is our representation of the Gaia entry in Fleming’s Dictionary.

That may segue into Carnival and Play (taster here), exploring Fleming’s sense that while, yes, we are destroying the economic and ecological foundations on which society is built, perhaps the root problem is the cultural devastation. That is where he recommends we begin in envisioning and rekindling a satisfying future of lives well-lived.

Next up will be a section on David Fleming himself, introducing the man behind the work, and the extraordinary life he lived. We have lined up interviews with friends of his such as Jonathon Porritt, and are speaking with his family about photos/footage from his earlier life. As a firmly committed worker for a better future though, he would doubtless have urged us to focus more on his legacy than himself though, and that’s what we will do…

Circling round then to the roots of our problems, we’ll look to the discipline that shapes most of our waking hours – economics. And in particular Fleming’s uncompromising ideas on the impossibility of sustaining Growth. In collaboration with the likes of Fleming fans Andrew Simms and Kate Raworth we’ll look at his vision of a better basis for prosperity, employment and meaningful work.

Then bringing it out of theory and into practice, we’ll spend the heart of the film meeting the people who’ve been bringing his influential vision of Localisation and Community into reality on the ground. From the Transition Towns movement inspired by his work to other pioneers such as Helena Norberg-Hodge, we plan to visit the most inspiring (and filmically eye-catching!) projects we can track down. So far we have some excellent footage around Local Food, and will be keen to explore other areas such as healthcare, transportation, building etc.

Moving towards the close of our 45 minute film, we may return to the mainstream realities, and what Fleming termed the Climacteric – the convergence of unfortunate consequences that we are building up for ourselves, including deep deficits in energy, clean water and food, along with climate change, soil loss, degraded ecologies, depleted human communities and economic collapse. This should serve as a reminder of the urgency and necessity of changing direction before we end up where we are headed.

And our wonderfully popular taster on Encounter may fit best here, to remind us that a purely human-centred viewpoint diminishes our capacity to be all that we can be as people. As the deaths on our planet are no longer measured in thousands or even millions but in entire species, what violence do we do to ourselves in denying that there are fundamental problems with our society’s course? Might there be a way to live and love which leaves us proud of the positive impact we leave on our planet, rather than merely trying to minimise the damage?

Which brings us round to Fleming’s potent entry on Spirit, as the film takes a step back to admire the uniquely holistic vision his work offers for a new way of life. One that is a day-to-day joy, that nurses our communities and our ecology back to health and that is not reliant on the exploitation of other people, other species or future generations. One that rediscovers much that we have lost in our modern age, and combines it with the best of new insight and technology.


Thanks to Fleming’s vision and the many who are already living it every day, we have come to see that this enticing future is within reach. This film is our contribution towards it, and we are so grateful for your enthusiastic input!

Please let us know your thoughts, additions, constructive criticisms etc. And we’re especially keen to hear from those who have read Fleming’s inspiring books, and maybe have ideas for conveying some of his humour and brilliance, or perhaps feel that we have overlooked giving due emphasis to some aspect of his vision..?

3 Responses to “An overview of the film, as it starts to take shape”

  1. José Cori Says:

    Hi, my name is José, I’m from Chile!
    I just saw the “taster” on Encounter, which mooved me deeply. I have also been studying this phenomenon in the perspective of philosophy and poetry. It is amazing how the concepts and notions of feeling coincide about what happens in this type of Encounter.
    There is a book from Martin Buber which also speaks about the Encounter and it’s called “The I and the Thou”.
    Happy to find this.
    Cheers!

  2. Steve Morrall Says:

    Thank you for this short encounter with David Fleming. I am an artist, musician and dancer (Argentine tango) which I have taught for the last 17 years. I would be delighted to share my thoughts and ideas on he creative encounter of spontaneous, improvised dance in a close embrace.

    The process allies itself to David’s description of ‘scientific’ and ‘poetic’ language. The end result is a merging of two minds, two bodies and two spirits into one body with four legs as the dance becomes an encounter.

    I too am happy to find this.

  3. Paul feather Says:

    You might consider a short segment filmed at turtle island preserve, in Boone, NC, USA

    Turtle island is a nature based heritage learning center in an extraordinarily beautiful setting, and offers unparalleled educational programs and summer camps for youth and families. The place itself is very powerful, and the community of teachers there has been connecting children to “where things come from” for decades. This is a place where humans learn traditional skills through direct, hands-on experience and connection with ecosystem.

    http://www.turtleislandpreserve.org

    The figurehead of turtle island, Eustace Conway is the subject of a mainstream reality TV show, which unfortunately doesn’t do justice to the Turtle Island message. This exposure, however, might be leveraged to increase the audience of your documentary in a demographic that would otherwise not be likely to see it.

    Please let me know if I can be of any service. Thanks!

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