Dan Hume's Blog

More research on Sustainability and Documentary Filmmaking
February 2, 2012, 4:58 am
Filed under: Extended Major Project

I’ve been thinking more about the context of my documentary, which is about Sustainability. I want to film in London because it has a lot of sustainable attributes, which is constantly being developed. I saw this video and it helped me simplify my approach to this documentary.

Sustainability is split into 5 categories, which are:

  • Climate Change
Minimising greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring legacy facilities are able to cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • Waste 

Minimising waste at every stage of the project, ensuring no waste is sent to landfill during Games-time, and encouraging the development of new waste processing infrastructure in East London.

  • Inclusion
Promoting access for all and celebrating the diversity of London and the UK, creating new employment, training and business opportunities.
  • Biodiversity
Minimising the impact of the Games on wildlife and their habitats in and around Games venues, leaving a legacy of enhanced habitats where we can, eg the Olympic Park.
  • Healthy Living

Inspiring people across the country to take up sport and develop active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles.


I’d like to think of these 5 individual aspects as ‘themes’ I could explore in my documentary to capture the different areas of sustainability in London. Again, the way I’d be exploring this would be in the style of my last video in a discreet form, which is observing raw moments of life.

Even big co-operations such as coca cola are eagerly getting involved in enforcing sustainability. I’m glad I’ve chosen this topic because it is becoming a more and more important issue as life goes on. I’m starting think that maybe my video could really try and show the reality of how sustainable London is, without announcing to anyone that I’m going to go round with my camera and film all this. I know that the government and organisations have put a lot of effort into creating a better environment for everyone… but have they really made much of an impact?

Coca-Cola’s London 2012 sustainability programme

This video has been useful to me in terms of visualising what aspects of London’s environment I need to shoot. It’s also got me thinking about how I could develop this environment context and try and some sort of narrative into the piece. Even though content is considered more crucial to the success of a video than the process, I am able to argue that a lot of people are impressed by visually enticing content that’s been shot on relatively basic video camera.

The Age of Stupid is a 2009 British film by Franny Armstrong, director of McLibel and Drowned Out, and founder of 10:10, and first-time producer Lizzie Gillett. The Executive Producer is John Battsek, producer of One Day in September.

The film starts off being set in the year 2055 in a world that’s been radically changed by the destruction of climate change. There are powerful digitally manipulated scenes of how London, Sydney and Las Vegas are predicted to look like in the predicted future.

Pete Postlethwaite who plays an unnamed archivist is entrusted with the safekeeping of humanity’s surviving store of art and knowledge. Alone in his vast repository off the coast of the largely ice-free Arctic, he reviews archive footage from back “when we could have saved ourselves”, trying to discern where it all went wrong. Amid news reports of the gathering effects of climate change and global civilisation teetering towards destruction, he alights on six stories of individuals whose lives in the early years of the 21st century seem to illustrate aspects of the impending catastrophe. These six stories take the form of interweaving documentary segments that report on the lives of real people in the present, and switch the film’s narrative form from fiction to fact.

Spanner Films 

The Age of Stupid is a 90-minute film about climate change, set in the future. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, watching archive footage from the mid-to-late 2000s and asking “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?”

The Making of Age of Stupid

This is an interesting look at how this documentary was created. I haven’t seen the whole documentary myself, but I feel that this also important to see how a documentary filmmaker thinks and they’re approach to a project. This could also be considered a documentary itself as it’s following every stage of the epic five year battle to make The Age of Stupid climate blockbuster, from early funding meetings in London to kidnap close-calls in Nigeria and from filming with Pete Postlethwaite to recording the full orchestral score.


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