The aim of Happen Films is to showcase and demonstrate inspiring solutions to the multiple global crises the world is facing today. They do ‘sustainably -films’ about the solutions and how people are pioneering this transition. And make films on positive case studies in order to inspire others to make change in their own lives and in their communities.
The brainchild of Happen Films, Antoinette Wilson and Jordan Osmond, in an exclusive interview with Seema Sangra for the Eco Journal.
What was the idea behind Happens Films?
Happen Films is all about sharing solution-focused stories about being resilient in the face of social, environmental and economic crises – whether it be individuals or communities. We feel a sense of urgency about the many crises ahead – from climate change and environmental destruction to social justice and economic fragility. We’re very aware of the enormity of the problems and the interconnectedness of them all. The impact on us of that awareness has been life-changing and we want to share with the rest of the world our ongoing exploration into how to meet these challenges and develop creative solutions.
Do you think sharing positive case studies can make a change in other people’s lives?
It has certainly created change in our own lives! The power of storytelling is time-honoured, of course, and we have great faith in the power of documentary films to spread knowledge and inspiration. We receive really beautiful feedback about our films from strangers all over the world – that’s really what keeps us motivated to make the films. They don’t disappear into a void, they actually inspire people to make the same kinds of positive change that we’ve been inspired to make. That makes this work so meaningful for us!
What kind of responses do you get from your audiences?
Here are some examples:
“…I’ve been up all night watching your films and they have stirred quite a thinking frenzy!… I wanted to thank you for the inspiration and send blessings to you. THANK YOU!”
“Really great films… pared down excellence in craft, story and message thank you”
“Crying my way through your videos!! Thank you!!!”
“Everything that I have ever watched from them… inspires, educates, and moves me.”
“Love your work, love the way you capture the essence and transmit the messages. Wrapped up in a beautiful, creative way I’ll be following!”
Are your films region specific?
So far all of our films have been posted to YouTube and are available for anyone to view. Our next feature-length documentary, which has had a larger budget than our other films, will be available to purchase by downloading or ordering a DVD. The price will remain low. That film is due for release in February 2018.
Would you be open to showcase similar films from the other regions?
We’d love to make films about people in other parts of the world, because the stories we’re telling are global, no matter where they’re based. But we work on a low budget and live a low-budget lifestyle so travel hasn’t been an option yet, and if it were we’d need to think carefully about how we use that privilege without too heavily increasing our environmental footprint. But yes, we do dream of making films in other places!
Where do you get your funding from?
We earn a small revenue from the ads on our YouTube films. We hope to remove the ads eventually and towards that goal we have a Patreon profile, where people can support us long-term by contributing whatever amount they like, from as low as $1 per month. (We also support a couple of our own favourite artists through Patreon. It’s the future of funding, we think!) We’ve also crowdfunded using online platforms in order to get projects off the ground, and for the feature-length film we’re currently making we were able to achieve a large (for us!) post-production budget, $28,000, through sponsorship from a few individuals and organisations. We also do a little freelance work.
What are your future plans?
We’re self-taught filmmakers, so we have a lot of learning to do! Our preference is to learn by doing, so our plans are to keep making more and better films, always with the goal of sharing stories that inspire positive change in the world.
If you would like to help Antoinette Wilson & Jordan Osmond to continue with their wonderful work with a financial help, click here.