Whether it is the environment, energy or the economy, we're in a Big Mess. Driven by the fear of his daughter ending up living on a raft with the last polar bear, filmmaker and activist, Jon Cooksey, decides to investigate what the hell is happening to our planet. This ecocomedy gives a fresh overview of the facts that make most of us want to run and hide...
Eye-popping graphics ram home inconvenient truths: a moving earth complete with flickering flames meets and merges with a gold chain wearing oil drip, representing overshoot. This monstrous entity rampages around its cartoon home, growing the ever-grasping arms of over consumption. This deformed beast meets the war on nature and begins to wreak devastation. After all there is "nothing quite as destructive as a baby boomer with a visa card".
As the tragicomedy progresses, past the disco dancing reindeer and through the plastic plankton choking off the world's oceans, the film reveals statistic after statistic all pointing to inevitable destruction. When even Disney World can't acquire all the water it needs the cry goes up "if Mickey isn't safe, none of us are!" Squinting mercilessly from a mock-up of Coolidge's "Poker Dogs" Jon asks why anyone should care if one fifth of the people on the planet live on less than $2 a day... and then proceeds to illustrate why third world problems just won't stay put there anymore.
But who cares if oil prices are soaring, pollution is growing and sea levels rising, he asks in an exaggeratedly sanguine manner. "As soon as the artic finishes melting we can get the oil out from under that too, right?" Wrong. Dressed as the human incarnation of the devil, for indeed that is the role mankind appears to have cast itself in respect to the planet, he admits "these solutions are going to make global warming worse."
If you put a frog into boiling water it will kick and scream, but if you heat it slowly it will die before it notices... Are WE that frog? We have been WARNED of our own impending doom due to global warming, but "is there anyone alive who isn't sick of global warming?" Jon sets out, through parody and pastiche, to create a deadly serious argument... laying out a set of personal solutions that will make your life better, and hopefully help civilisation too.
The films one utterly serious moment hits you like a freight train: when Jon recounts his father's death from alcoholism. He never had the change of heart that could save him. But we can... Drive right on past Exxon and plump for chicken rather than beef; use birth control, "the most effective carbon offset you can buy." Above all "find some way to change on the inside."
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Winner, Panda Award for Best Script, Wildscreen, 2012
Official Selection, Docudays, Beirut, 2011
Official Selection, FICAMS, Chile, 2011
Winner, Best Documentary, Los Angeles Movie Awards, 2010
Winner, Best Film, Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival, 2011
Finalist, Best Writing Documentary, Writer's Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards, 2011
Nominated, Best Writing in a Documentary, Gemini Awards, 2011
Official Selection, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 2011
|Making the film
We’re all increasingly swamped with information, in sound bites and video clips and tweets, coming faster and faster, but the reality is that the more information is thrown at us, the more we lose sight of the facts that are critical to our continued existence as a species. So the first level of How to Boil a Frog is informational: to give a simplified (but not over-simplified) overview of our situation that the audience can remember (complete with symbols to draw on their fingertips as reminders), and helps them then filter out extraneous information on an on-going basis. Sample post-HTBAF thought process: “Yes, that iPad is awesome, but if things get bad, will I be able to eat it?”But on a deeper level, below the information and the solutions and the humor, How to Boil a Frog is really engineered for one purpose: to shift how viewers understand “reality”, so that they see our situation in an entirely different way when they leave the theater – a fundamental change of belief about “the way things have to be.” That new understanding of reality will lead to a different understanding of what right action – sane action – means, and it’s my hope the movie will be seen widely enough to become a story that the whole world (or a tipping point) hears around the same campfire.
Jon Cooksey is a writer/ producer/ director living and working in Vancouver. Jon has worked in all genres of film and television, including comedy, drama and family. As a writer, he has won Humanitas, Gemini and Cable Ace awards, and has now won multiple awards, as director and producer, for “How to Boil a Frog,” in which he acts as writer, director, producer and court jester. He’s also an activist, and founder of the Vancouver Peak Oil Executive. Jon is currently working on the TV series “Primeval: New World” for Impossible Pictures in the UK and Omni Entertainment & the Space Channel in Canada. Jon’s series “The Collector” won a Leo Award for Best Series, and was nominated for Best Series at the Monte Carlo International Film & TV Festival, based on its success overseas. A full resume can be found at www.hope-springs.com.