“HOME,” A New Documentary Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

“HOME” a new film by French documentary filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, narrated by actress Glenn Close, is now being shown for free (!) at the East Village Cinemas in NYC’s East Village on 2nd Ave and E 12th St.

Today is the free premiere of the film and the filmmaker himself was here to introduce his 2 hour long environmental documentary. Get your tickets here.

Indefinite Transit is reporting now, LIVE, from inside of the film. What is really cool is that “HOME” is that it is not copyrighted and will fall under Fair-Use clause, something that Arthus-Bertrand intended.

“I want the film to be shared and spread. You can all use it,” the filmmaker explained right before the lights in the old fashioned cinema-house dimmed and the film began. In that spirit, I will be posting stills from the film taken with my iPhone 4 to get people interested in some of the beautiful imagery this film has to offer. Not that my little phone does it justice, but you get the jist: GET OVER TO EAST VILLAGE CINEMAS AND WATCH IT! Think of the photographs as teasers.

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Made famous by his signature aerial shots, Arthus-Bertrand, 64, is a seasoned photographer, documentary filmmaker, and environmentalist who has focused on capturing nature, the environment, and the earth and putting into conversation that ecological changes that are happening in present day.

This film was made possible by Pinot, the massive luxury brand company that owns the majority of fine good labels like Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and other retail brands like FNAC.

The visuals are amazing and it is tremendously educational – this is why there are at least 3 groups of school field-trips present at this showing.

The film touches on different facets having to do with the depletion of the world’s natural resources like: deforestation, oil dependency, population increase, global decline in agriculture, farming practices, global poverty, etc.

Arthus-Bertrand prefaced his documentary by saying, “I have included here, in the film, only the facts.”

The amount information conveyed through the film’s narration, and Close’s soothing voice, is made more digestible by Arthus-Bertrand’s powerful, yet distant, almost omni-potent visuals. The framing of the shots and the camera-pans are a poetic contrast to the frankly depressing statistics about the world’s environmental breaking point.

After the film there was an in-depth Q&A.

Arthus-Bertrand said he spent two years working on the project, shot 500 hours of footage, and then spent six-months on the editing process. He swears there was no color doctoring of the footage or saturation of colors. The entirety of the film was shot from a helicopter, save for one shot on a fishing boat, with an HD Cineflex camera with a built-in motion reducer that is usually used for army missile planes. It is great for this, because it cuts out the shaking or vibrations, Arthus-Bertrand says, that the helicopter makes.

Additionally, the film was shot at 450 frames per second, in slow-motion.

For the score, Arthus-Bertrand said he was greatly inspired by Philip Glass.

While doing a previous project in Africa, he wanted to be like a scientist/ anthropologist and he realized that just photographs could not convey that information. His idol, he says, was Jane Goodall. So he and his wife, Anne, became a team: he shot the photographs and she became the information gather/ writer. During the time he shot in Africa, he rode and operated the hot air balloon from which he shot the elephants, lions, and other wild animals. These photographs led to the publication of “Lions,” in 1994.

His photo book, “Earth from Above,” inspired him to see the world in a different way. The book was comprised of five years of aerial photography from all over the world and was published in 1999.

“That book changed my life completely. It made me see the beauty of the world,” Arthus-Bertrand explains. In addition, it set the groundwork for him becoming an activist and environmentalist.

In France Arthus-Bertrand enjoyed a sudden and lasting success, one which led to his TV show on France2 and his website GoodPlanet.org

When Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was screened at the French Ministry, Arthus-Bertrand was incredibly inspired and was what propelled him into making a film of his own.

So far, about 400 Million people have already seen “HOME,” the filmmaker says, encouraging others to enjoy and make use out of the free copyright by setting up private and public screenings of the film by going to Homethemovie.org

He gladly answered questions from children. When asked what the hardest part about making the film had been, Arthus-Bertrand answered that, “the editing and script writing was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.”

Another question, asked by a young boy, (who was probably about 6 years old) was simply, “how did you make the movie?” To this Arthus-Bertrand answered, in a pseudo intellectual-romantic manner: “with my heart.” There were some “ahhhhhhaaasss” in the theatre after which he added: “I wanted to make a movie to change the world… I know it sounds pretentious…”

Pretentious or not, the film certainly has the potential to do so – at least, it will surly lead to a shift in awareness.

“HOME” will be followed up by another project from the filmmaker who will begin shooting a new documentary this summer, which will focus more on people instead landscape and will tell the story of the 2 billion people on the planet that cultivate food for their sole usage as opposed the the remainder (and majority) of the world’s population that depends on others to farm and cultivate agriculture and livestock.

I suggest everyone see this film. Bring your friend’s, partners, children – everyone. It is one of those things made possible by the mixing of art and information – call it journalistic; call it documentary – that can change the perception of the world and global thought.

Something to take away from the film: “It’s too late to be a pessimist,” as was repeated throughout the screening. One of the most startling statistics shared in the film was that, “20% of the world’s population uses about 80% of it’s natural resources,” showing a significant imbalance in the allocation of the world’s resources.

The film does have a “happy ending” in the sense that it lists the counties in the world that ARE doing their part in the conservation of the environment, and it asks us to be “responsible consumers” setting out ways individual citizens can also do their share, proactively.

It might even have the potential to be on-par with Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

And it’s free for people with access to the East Village Cinema until Friday Feb. 11th, 2011. Even if online sales may say that the film is sold-out, make your way to the East Village Cinemas as it probably will not be; just because that’s exactly what happened tonight: online said SOLD OUT, but there were plenty of spaces in the theatre, because people reserve and then didn’t come; maybe because they don’t lose money (as tickets are, again, FREE). When I personally spoke to Arthus-Bertrand, he asked me to so read the word about this.

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