Money & Life is premiering across the United States in April, including in the San Francisco Bay Area (SF - Wednesday April 10th and Oakland - Thursday April 11th), then east, including Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC. On May 1st the movie is slated for release world-wide. The trailer and premiere schedule can be viewed at: http://moneyandlifemovie.com/wp/.
We make a dying rather than a living. Dying meaning we do things that we hate, doing things that really extinguish the very life force of who we are, to bring home a paycheck. Because money has gotten more important now, gotten more important than human life.
From there, Money & Life weaves a whirlwind glimpse into the role of money in our increasingly disordered global economy. The movie is a montage of many voices, a provocative stream of interviews with cutting edge thinkers speaking on both what is awry with our current economic system as well as ways to move it toward a healthier course. In other words, we have choices.
In the movie, Judy Wicks, owner of White Dog Café in Philadelphia, relates her epiphany around growing her business:
I would sometimes think, am I just a big sissy for not having a chain of White Dog Cafés around the country? I realized what was most important to me about my business was the authenticity of the relationships and the price you pay in growing larger is the weakening of those relationships. I started thinking about how we can grow in other ways than the material. We can grow by raising consciousness. We can grow by increasing our knowledge, by deepening our relationships, by being healthy, increasing our well-being, and by having more fun!
The author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, suggests in one of his interviews for the movie (though not included in the final edit):
If we keep making choices to buy things, and only when we need to buy them, that are created with a social and environmental consciousness, then we’ll be headed in the right direction.
Recently I was able to catch up with the movie’s producer and director, Katie Teague.
What started you down the path to make this movie?
I started the journey 4 ½ years ago on the heels of the 2008 recession. I became very curious about the reasons behind the crisis and the role of money in our lives. Even before then, I had been feeling the heartbreak of how disconnected we are from each other and from our planet. As a psychotherapist, I have been sensitive to this suffering. Ultimately, making this movie has been an opportunity to explore one of the last taboos – money. The other taboos being sex and death.
What surprised you most as you interviewed the various contributors?
Discovering how many people are involved in looking at how money affects our lives and the interconnected subculture that exists. As I interviewed one person, they would often introduce me to someone else that also had something important to say. I have way more information than I can possibly use in the movie.
How did your vision change along the journey?
As I started out, I did not have a preconceived notion of what I would find. I wanted to understand why money dominates our lives. So, I have been led by my curiosity, listening to each person interviewed, striving to stay in the moment. I began to call it ‘my divine scavenger hunt.’
What would you like viewers to know going in to view the movie?
I would like to extend an invitation to take in the information with an open mind, leaving pre-conceptions at the door. Pay attention to how does it make you feel? What do you react to? Even now as I watch the movie, I notice new things.
What do you hope viewers will take away from the movie?
An awareness of how the information in the movie excites you, motivates you, inspires you. While the movie has a definite point of view, viewers will take away what it means for each of them.
What would you emphasize as the movie’s overarching messages?
The movie is really aimed at raising awareness and educating around the role of money in our lives. I look at money as one of the most influential human inventions. Money is part of the bigger changes underway, ‘the great turning,’ and the shift in consciousness that is happening around the world. There is no going back. We are moving forward, redesigning the systems to be more appropriate to our era.
How has the movie been received so far?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the reaction. At an early showing in Washington DC, a crowd of 110 people of mixed political persuasions watched the movie. I was amazed they stayed to the end, no one left early, and then participated in a 2-hour discussion. People are hungry for this information - there is so much shame in our culture around money.
How will the world-wide release work?
We are still working out the details. The intent is to sell DVDs from our website while making streaming digital downloads available via a commons license. I want to remove money as a barrier. The movie is my gift that people can gift back or pay forward.
If you are interested in supporting the movie, consider viewing one of the premieres or supporting its production and distribution via KickStarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1499037415/get-money-and-life-on-the-road).
For me, there were many ‘aha’ moments in the movie. For one, as currency is created via the Federal Reserve and banks via their loans, only enough money is created to cover the amount of principal loaned, which does not include the interest that needs to be repaid. Thus the system requires either economic growth to create the wealth to pay the interest, which ignores our planet’s limits, or results in added debt that cannot be repaid, which creates much individual and collective hardship. This is a major design flaw of our current economic system.
Regardless of one’s current point of view, this movie illuminates the relationship of money to the nature of our lives and to the state of our planet and the power of our choices.