Magazine article Filmmaker

Editor's Letter

Magazine article Filmmaker

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

I met with a director recently, and as I sat down I asked him about the small book he was reading, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene. It's a philosophical book about climate change, and the thesis is that we've passed a tipping point in terms of our relationship with our planet. We're on the other side - we're screwed - and we must not only learn to adapt but also to reorganize within new political, social and cultural institutions. We will have to do this in purely practical ways, author Roy Scranton argues, but also in terms of storytelling. We must think about the kinds of narratives we need at this present moment. He writes, "For humanity to survive in the Anthropocene" - the period of Earth's history marked by humanity's impact on the planet, largely by the burning of fossil fuels - "we need to learn to live with and through the end of our current civilization... The story this book tells is of the human soul coming to know itself in its mortality."

Depressing stuff! Or not, depending on your temperament and point of view. Indeed, the book has a kind of uplifting clarity to it, and its prescriptions resonate in both large and small ways. I was prompted to mention it here by coming across a passage in Sergio Andrés Lobo-Navia's article this issue about archiving your independent films that startled me with its matter-of-fact ness: "The physical location of your film is paramount," he writes, before quoting New Orleans Video Access Center's Gene Fredericks: "You should prepare for two natural disasters and one unnatural. …

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