DVDs R Us (@ last)

Location | Mood | Date 31 October 2009
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
31 October 2009


Five very exciting things happened today at Stupid Towers. First, a Nobel-prize-winning climate-obsessed person you've all heard of said that 10:10 is "brilliant" and should be launched in America post-haste. Tell you who in two weeks. Second, we thought of the killer idea for how Team Stupid can contribute to the right deal at Copenhagen. Tell you in the next mailing list message. The third I can't tell you till next week.  The fourth... oh dear this is not going too well, I can't say a word on the fourth till the contract is signed... but when we came out of the meeting, Lizzie and I indulged in our first spontaneous High Five in seven years working together...

But the fifth very exciting thing, which I am delighted to hereby give far too many details about, is that, after an extraordinary run of bad luck involving printing presses breaking, sound files inexplicably corrupting themselves, philosophy exams changing date and artwork proofs having to be re-emailed from a greyhound bus to Mexico, we today took ownership of 1,000 copies of the Stupid DVD double-disc extravaganza. Clearly I have a tendency towards over-enthusiasm, but let me assure you that these little babies will send shivers of delight through even the hardest of hearts. See attached pic for a glimpse of their multi-coloured adorableness - and please also note the envelopes standing by to get them out to all you patient people who have been waiting for your copies as long as since, oh shit, June. Sorry, sorry. They are all off in the post today. Which is on strike, but that bit's not our fault.

Making the DVD concurrently with 1) the Oz/NZ premiere, 2) the Global Premiere and 3) the launch of 10:10 was clearly madness. Not least because the McLibel DVD, which is almost exactly as complicated, took us a full 14 months to produce. But we couldn't see a better solution as we had to get the DVD out before Copenhagen, we couldn't not launch the film in cinemas and we couldn't just produce a simple film-on-a-disc DVD.... we had subtitles ready for 31 languages - what were we going to do, not put them on? So we sacrificed our sanity instead. But sitting here on a grey Autumn day holding seven years hard labour in one perfectly formed package -  and with the Global Premiere now safely double-locked in a very remote part of my memory - I'm beginning to think we made the right decision.... Just check out the deleted scene of Fernand the mountain guide planting trees or Layefa and the Niger delta women storming a Shell barge, which we've put on to YouTube to give you a flavour of the delights which await. This kind of thing was heartbreaking enough to cut out of the actual film, but to not have it on the DVD too would've been an additional lifetime in therapy, next to the one caused by the Global Premiere.

So a big round of applause for Team Stupid DVD: the ever-patient producer Andy Moore, Justin the editor who had to re-align his family's waking hours so as to be on the same timezone as me in New York, David who came to edit the US trailer and stayed six weeks to trawl through the rushes looking for half-remembered scenes, Zeina who chased people round the country recording the commentary track, Reindeer the DVD authoring studio who went from "we love a challenge" to nervous breakdown in just under three months, Greg & Taiyo who designed the interactive menus (ever wondered what it's like to be Pete Postlethwaite?), Jeremy & Simon who mixed sound tracks eight times faster than humanly possible, Clare and Tamsin the lawyers who forgot to send their invoices yet again, Tom who designed the sleeve between 3.30am and 5.30am over four nights in New York whilst also designing every logo, webpage, poster & 40-foot banner for both 10:10 and the Global Premiere, Raoul at Amazon for helping us negotiate the treacherous world of online retailing and Oli at Dogwoof for continually prostrating himself at the feet of the high street retailers so as not to lose our bulk orders as each successive deadline whizzed by. We salute you one and all.

If any of you have a spare five minutes, it'd be much appreciated if you could write a quick review (of the film and/or DVD) on our page on Amazon and/or LoveFilm and/or Sofa Cinema? Sounds pointless, but lots of reviews means you get better placement on the website and so more people see the film and so on and so forth all the way until the climate is saved. Thanks if you can, no worries if you can't. More good news: we've just been accepted by itunes, so that'll be up and running in about 8 weeks. And we're also saving up to write our own digital download software, so people will be able to download the film for a few quid from our site, rather than pinching it for free from a pirate. (Did you hear that the fishstocks off Somalia are already recovering thanks to the pirates scaring off the commercial fishing boats, thereby givin the local fishermen their livelihoods back?)

Please buy lots of copies of the DVD (Xmas pressies?) from our website, as we (ie our crowd-funding investors... probably yourselves....) get a much bigger slice of the cash than if you buy it from anyone else. It's 14 quid for Stupid or 30 if you buy the complete trilogy of Stupid, McLibel ("Absolutely unmissable") and Drowned Out ("Documentaries rarely, if ever, come better than this"). We're about to introduce discounts for less-rich countries, so if you're from India or Thailand or Papua New Guinea then hang on a few days and there will be a cheaper option in our online shop. Sorry but we can't sell the Stupid DVD in Canada, USA or Netherlands yet, as they have their own versions coming in the next couple of months.

(Speaking of McLibel and Drowned Out, Stupid has been nominated for Best Doc at the BIFAs, which both McL and DO were nominated for but didn't win.... could this be third time lucky? Though the rumour is that our fishy friends at The End of the Line are going to tie us in their nets and scramble to the podium to snatch first prize. Ah well. They have a point when they say that over-fishing is "the biggest solvable problem on the planet".)

And if any of you lovely NGOs out there - or people with shops or online gift services or carboot sales or anything else where you flog stuff - would like to become resellers of the DVD (ie you buy in bulk from us at low cost, sell them on and keep the difference), then please contact jahlia@ageofstupid.net. And everyone who books a screening of Age of Stupid via Indie Screenings (had our first screening booked from Afghanistan this week - so cool) from now on will be able to do the same. Dontcha just love capitalism?

Also this week, ActionAid launched their Stupid Schools Pack: "A new multimedia resource on climate change for learners aged 12+ supporting geography, science, citizenship and film studies. Explore the complexities of climate – from the science, to the possible impacts and solutions – through real, human stories from around the world."  If you are a teacher or have kids or are a kid, you can either pay 25 quid to buy a school pack or get a free one by signing your school up to 10:10. ie committing to cut your school's emissions by 10% next year. 700 of the 1,000 freebies have already gone, so hurry hurry.

The kids from Crispin School in Somerset in the attached pic bought along their rather lovely Stupid-inspired artwork to the schools pack launch. "We knew how to profit but not to protect", it says, which is Fernand the mountain guide's final thought in the film. These particular kids are from one of the first 10:10 schools and have already implemented all sorts of imaginative stuff like the Energy Police (who check that classrooms have turned stuff off and put them on the blacklist if they haven't), chip-fat minibuses (already saved 10 tonnes of CO2 by collecting local chip fat instead of using normal diesel - and they also said it's been fun to get to know new people in the community when they go round the restaurants), Meat Free Mondays in the canteen, a Local Recipes cookbook and an Extra Jumpers campaign to coincide with turning the heating down. Speaking of on-the-case children, here's the Copenhagen Kids message to world leaders, which brought the house down at the Global Premiere.

Last week the UK Parliament held a three hour 10:10 debate about whether to sign up all the Government buildings + all the public sector (schools, hospitals, prisons, army etc) to 10:10. It's hilarious watching the video or reading the transcript of big names like Gummer, Prescott or Meacher talking about 10:10 as though it's Oxfam or Comic Relief and not something we dreamed up in Camden Town a few months ago.... And according to our pals at 38 Degrees, who coordinated the contact-your-MP blitz, 96% of all MPs were contacted in the 48 hours before the vote by almost 10,000 emails and 600 phone calls:
-> "My MP was in a meeting when I called, but his PA assured me that he has already had many, many calls. He is fully aware of the strength of feeling on the subject and he has changed his schedule so he can attend the meeting tonight and vote for the 10:10 campaign."
-> "My MP is Angela Browning. It was surprisingly easy to get through to her secretary but she was not there. He was gobsmacked at the phone call, promised to pass on the message and said he felt sure she would vote in favour of the motion."
-> "I can't believe that I actually got put through to my MP!"
-> "Not available to speak to but heard them say that it was another 10:10 call! I think they are busy!!"
-> "I spoke to her secretary and she was very polite and ensured me that she would pass the message to Meg before the vote. She took my email and promised to let me know Meg's thoughts. It felt rather wonderfully empowering to actually feel like there might be some democratic influence on the outcome. Fingers crossed!"
-> "I called my MP Emily Thornberry from Australia. I'm here temporarily but wanted to make my feelings known re 10:10. I left a message with a helpful staff member, with details of my name and address, and made it clear I was calling from Australia and therefore felt very strongly about the 10:10 campaign (it costs a fair bit to call from so far away via a mobile)"
-> "Response was that he WILL be voting pro 10:10 later today."
-> "The response had undertones of "not another person phoning" - so that's great. Keep up the good work. There's something rather empowering about the idea of a phone call being able to reach deep into the heart of our political machine."

The final vote had a huge turn-out and although we lost by 297 to 226 (very interesting to see the party split here - only 12 Labour MPs rebelled, shucks) a Government  amendment was passed which welcomed the 10:10 campaign, promised 20 million new quids (haven't yet established whether this is new money or has been shuffled over from some other climate effort) and committed to more effort to cut emissions. MPs of all parties said they'd heard a loud message from their constituents and were going to increase their commitment to tackling climate change. So although they didn't sign up to 10% in 2010 - not yet anyway - it's definitely progress.  Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly. Damn good team effort.  (See 10:10's write-up here or the Guardian's here.)

Speaking of being on the losing side, Spurs FC have gone very very public with their 10:10 mission. Amazing article on their official website and please forward the attached pic to any eco-minded Arsenal supporters ....

So there's 10 days left to enter the 10:10 Win A House competition. 15,000 quids worth of eco-makeover for the lucky winner...  what a brilliant prize. (And what a brilliant campaign 10:10 is... all we have to do is mention anything including the number 10 and it looks like we've thought the whole thing through...)

Now a lot of people cloud over when you start talking about local councils - skip this paragraph if you're one of them - but I find the news that, with Bristol, Redcar & Cleveland, Tameside, Wiltshire and Waltham Forest all signing up in the last couple of weeks, we now have 56 councils committed to 10:10 enormously inspiring. Between those 56, they provide the services to more than 10 million residents (see what I mean about the number 10?), which is a serious amount of CO2 which is not going to be pumped into the atmosphere right there.

In non 10:10 news, our friends who made the excellent Taking Liberties documentary a while back - and generously imparted all their revolutionary distribution ideas when we are at square one last year - release their new film, Starsuckers, today, despite Max Clifford trying to injunct the film last week, using everyone's favourite law firm, Carter Ruck. Here's the blarb: "Using a combination of undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all – and especially our children.  The film hit the headlines last week when it was revealed that the filmmaker's sold fake stories to the tabloid press - who printed them without checking - and secretly filmed journalists trying to break the law. It screens at Ritzy Brixton and Greenwich Picturehouse this weekend and there's also odd shows at the Curzon Soho, Gate Notting Hill, Screen on the Green Islington, Glasgow Film Theatre and Cameo Edinburgh. There will be Q&As and discussions after some screenings." All details here: www.starsuckersmovie.com

I hope you all missed my last ever appearance on BBC's Newsnight this week (note no link to the video). But I'm giving our national broadcaster the benefit of the doubt that that was just one in a series of special climate features planned for the next few weeks before Copenhagen and that they didn't gather some of the key environmental thinkers (Caroline Lucas, John Sauven, Zac Goldsmith) 50 days before the most important meeting in human history and then waste the precious airtime with silly questions about GM food and naked hippies.....

.... Speaking of understanding that we only have 44 days left to avoid catastrophe, here's the video evidence of last weekend's 4,000+ protests which marked the moment when the fight to save our climate became the biggest political movement ever seen on this planet...

Hope you've all enjoyed a bit of a breather from Stupid-related emails these last few weeks... But we're beginning to ramp up towards Copenhagen, so if you were thinking of unsubscribing, now's probably the time to do it, link below. Equally, if you have any friends who depend on the Earth's biosphere remaining habitable to human life, might they want to join? Just ask them to send a blank email to addtolist@ageofstupid.net and they're on.

Back soon,