Donnerstag, 28. Januar 2016

Stefan’s Story of Filming 'A New We'

Written by Vana, co-founder of
Edited by Carollyn Oglesby Thalia Forest
“I had no money, and even less experience. I just had the will, the desire, and the determination, and I believed that I could do it and would stick to it until it was realized! “

It's always encouraging to listen to Stefan's filmmaking story. I want to share it here, for those who have dreams but see their dreams as too distant and maybe even impossible to realize.

What caused Stefan's movement?

In April of 2009, Stefan returned to Europe after visiting several eco-communities in New Zealand and Australia. He wanted to visit eco-communities in Europe and to search closer to home for a potential place to live with his beloved friends. At the same time, he thought he could make a documentary which would give people a nice overview of the well-established ecovillages and communities in Europe that already existed. He thought that such a film could help in the world, and perhaps even save some lives.

He had no experience with filming. What he had was the urge to bring a film like this into existence. This urge gave him the power to learn filmmaking and editing by himself, with the help of an experienced friend. He learned quickly, completing the filming and the filmmaking, with some help from his friends, in only 10 months.

It was quite astonishing to me to see how much work he did and how much he was able to learn in such a short time. He told me that through the whole process he knew there were angels helping him; otherwise he couldn't have done all of it alone. When people asked him about the most difficult thing he experienced during film making, his short answer, "sometimes the movie software crashed," made them laugh. He was grateful that things went so smoothly, as if there really were angels always nearby, supporting his vision.

“I regularly did a prayer to the “universe”, to god and the angels, that I might be used as a tool to manifest this film. All of this was too much to handle for just one person, so I asked them to give me the right impulses and I promised to follow those impulses/intuitions and to trust them. I made it clear that it should not be a film made by my small ego but that THEY should act through me, and I opened up for this and had trust ... and miracles did happen... very often ... both small ones and big ones. The biggest miracle is that this film could be realized even though I had literally no experience! “
How about the financing of the film making?

“If I believed that I couldn't make the film without the money, then nothing would have happened! “

So he started with zero money. He borrowed money from his sister for the camera. He borrowed some cash from a friend, and he borrowed money from his father to buy a laptop for cutting the film. He was willing to go into debt because he just knew he had to make this film so that the world could know about these great and inspiring eco-projects.

He had no sponsors. His goal was to make a professional film, maximizing the quality of the delivery while minimizing the equipment and money. He kept the costs down by cutting his travel expenses, often sleeping in the car that he bought for 300 euro. His simple way of living saved much money for the film.

When we are truly interested in a subject, we have unlimited potential to learn, and to realize our dreams quickly and efficiently. This sort of inspiration is in high contrast with the way we were taught in school, where the competition and the performance may have left us with hard and stressful memories. There we didn’t choose what we wanted to learn; we were mostly forced to do what others wished us to do, what others thought was best for us. Without joy, without curiosity, it takes much longer to learn a subject, and very often the information we take in is not retained.

That Stefan could learn so much in such a short time, because of his enthusiasm, is a good example of how people's learning can far outstrip what the mainstream educational system provides.

This brings me to a subject of great interest for a powerful and healthy future. Unschooling and homeschooling are becoming more popular, and for very good reasons. Many parents have realized that the conventional school education does not bring out the best in their children, in fact, in many cases it can cause children to lose their love of learning, can actually slow their learning and affect their ability to feel joy in learning. It is much more natural and fun to learn through life experience and through individual choice. If we want children to reach their highest potential, some measure of autonomy in learning is both appropriate and necessary.

Samstag, 16. Januar 2016

My ideal ecovillage

What the film A New We shows and demonstrates is that there is not just one way to live in a community or in an eco-village, but there are many ways. Thus each of us has to find out for him or herself what the individual needs are and which eco-village model serves these needs best.

The range of the modern term "community" is big and it goes from an income-sharing commune, to a student-flat or co-housing project, all the way to a modern eco-village. All of those have community characeristics and have benefits, as well as certain disadvantages.

After seeing all of this variety of communities and eco-villages during the making of A New We, what is my personal ideal eco-village?

My personal ideal eco-village unites the advantages of the community lifestyle with the advantages of the individual private lifestyle. That means the structure of the eco-village is set up in a way that it offers a personal land for each (soul)-family of about 0,5 ha to 1 ha in size, which allows them to create a space of love* on it and to be the owner of this land.**

On the other hand there is the village center as a "community-playground" which is owned by all members(likely through an association) and where the advantages of community-life are being explored and experienced. Here you have community buildings and materials, like a common washing-machine, beamer for presentations and films, activity-hall, everything free-shop, etc.  You can join common activities like yoga, presentation, etc...or just have a chat with other people. There are no fixed common shared meals(but can happen if organised by people who wish so), but rather spontanious coming togethers for food e.g.  Picnic in the grass. Cars are outside of the settlement and there is an organised car-sharing-circle.

What holds the people in this eco-village together is their common shared values and bright visions and aspirations for the entire creation. Love for all is the basic principle and motivation shared by those people.

What is I think an advantage of this model is that it gives the individuals and families great freedom. Since every (soul)-family has its own space of love they do not need to spend energy to discuss about redundant things like: "Shall we put the tomatoes there or here?" And then having a discussion about it for an hour because 20 people are having a different opinion about it...

The people in my ideal settlement just agreed to a general standard of arrangements like "only organic farming, respect and care for all living beings, etc..." Thus the people enjoy great freedom and individuality, while experiencing the joy of having like-minded neighbours and friends around with whom they can share, interact and have various projects.

At your own space you can create a paradise oasis in cooperation with the diverse plants, animals and insects. A big variety of fruit and nut trees, berry-bushes, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, flowers and other plants make your life shiny and give abundance. Everything in this space of love will serve and love you and your beloved ones, from the smallest flowers and grasses to the biggest trees thereon. It is the perfect place for your ongoing self-realization and for becoming the best you can be.

Of course there are also disadvantages in my ideal eco-village. One is that you might need more money because you will purchase/use a bigger piece of land. Another is that the sharing of resources is limited to a certain extend. E.g. it would be much more cost-efficient and environmental friendly to live in one big house as a commune and share one toilet, bathroom, kitchen, etc... however this disadvantage can be compensated due to the very simple lifestyle of the various people in this settlement. And as mentioned above there is still a significant amount of resources which can be shared in the village.
To give the shortcut for my ideal eco-village:
  • Around 10 ha of land.
  • Between 10 and 100 family homesteads(about 1 ha each)
  • Around 1 ha community space in the center
  • Individual landownership over family lands
  • Common landownership over community center place
  • Common shared values: "peacefood"***, sustainability, spiritual growth, Ahimsa, etc.
  • Every community part-taking is voluntary and is done out of free will
  • Other shared values: thriving for peacefood-self-sufficiency, nature-close lifestyle, etc.
  • Unschooling project for the children
  • To be inspiring to other people through our simple, happy and healthy life
  • Use of sustainable energy, compost toilets, reed-wastewaterplant, etc...
  • Common use of various resources like washing machine, beamer, cars, etc...
  • Trial membership for newcomers for a period of time

*Space of love is a term described in the books of Vladimir Megre in the ringing cedars series. It refers to a space where a family has created a so called family-domain – a place which is a self-sufficient aiming paradise garden with a house and provides for all the needs of the adults and children thereon. It also supports them in the unfolding of the tremendous potential which lies in human beings. The space of love is the material, outer extension and expression of the internal spiritual self.

** That does not mean if they would leave the village that they could sell the land to anybody, but instead the members of the village need to agree to the new person who wants to buy the land and live there.

*** The term peace-food in this text refers to an ahimsa(non-violence) kind of food. Since it is difficult to get ahimsa food from animals due to their and our nature it refers predominantly to plant-based foods. These are easier to get in an ahimsa-way(especially fruits) and thus is contributing to the global peace-field. Peace-food does not exclude animal foods like honey, milk or eggs if they are given voluntarily and freely by the animals. However it excludes products where violence towards animals has (probably) taken place. This is in no way a disadvantage for us since our bodies are designed to live and thrive on a plant-based diet and many living examples proof that.(Dr. Will Tuttle, Storm Talifero, Dr. Douglas, etc...)

Written by
Stefan Veda
Creator of "A New We" and Co-founder of L.O.V.E. Productions