A virtual film festival: Nine films about food and farming

July 22, 2015

Profile photo of James North


For such a small group of people we have set ourselves a daunting task, that of challenging the rules that underpin the current world order. Rules that see a tiny minority dictate the way the game is played so they get richer whilst the majority see their living standards under attack, their land stolen from beneath their feet and their environment poisoned. We – the staff at The Rules – really cannot do this on our own. We rely on the wider Rules to mount this challenge.

Our recent virtual film festival, “9×9: Nine little films about ”, has shown this community at work. A few months ago a member of the community – filmmaker Jason Taylor – approached us with some films he had made about farming that told a positive story about sustainable farming methods and local resistance to big .

The gola of farming

Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One-Straw Revolution on farming

Jason told us he thought the films would fit with some of the work we were doing on agriculture. When we watched these beautiful films we were blown away, as I’m sure you have been if you’ve been following the film festival. (If you want to see more of Jason’s work visit The Source Project website, or show them some love on Facebook).

The films were too good for us just to post the odd one or two to our Facebook page, so we decided to make an event out of it, and the idea of our virtual film festival was born featuring nine of the films over nine days.

We had no idea how it would pan out, but over the nine days the films have been viewed more than 300,000 times. If you weren’t one of those who watched them last week, you can see them now.

We approached people in our networks and asked them to help promote the films. We wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible. Sometimes doing this work it’s easy to spend so much time focusing on the many problems we face that we become negative, so showing these films of hope was a really powerful way to communicate the positive side of the change we are working for.

The following groups worked with us and really helped us reach a wide audience with the films: Other 98%, Gaia Foundation, Youth ki Awaaz, Common Dreams, TruthOut, Global Justice Now, Share the World’s Resources, Occupy.com and The Oakland Institute.

A massive thanks to all of you, you are a key part in our work to bring radical thought to the mainstream.

Several other people in our networks responded by sharing their own films about food and farming with us, which I’d like to share here.

Feedback sent us a about a new campaign calling for supermarkets to stop dumping food waste on farmers, a practise that leads to farmers not being paid, and in places like Kenya, being forced into debt to pay for food.

And Compassion in World Farming sent us a video on ‘The Secrets of Food Marketing’?

Perhaps some of you reading this post also have films that you want to share.

This is how the community to bring radical thought to the mainstream is built.

Once again thank you to all who helped spread the films, and to all those who watched and enjoyed.

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.