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Antoinette Wilson

A New Film on our 4th Birthday!

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We’re super excited to be turning a whole 4 years old today! To celebrate we’re releasing a new short film: The Plummery was a joy to make and feels like a great film to be marking today with. It epitomises everything we’re about – the importance of growing food, of community resilience, of using the principles of permaculture to create a beautiful world.

Kat Lavers gardens her 100-square-metre back yard with such efficiency that she grows over 400 kilos of food a year to feed family & friends. She speaks eloquently and passionately about why small-scale urban gardening is so important for the resilient future of our cities. We love Kat and her garden is amazing – let us know what you think of our newest short film!

A Little Journey Through Four Years of Filmmaking…

Four years ago today is when the first video was uploaded to the Happen Films YouTube channel. We were two months into a year-long project living in community to make A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity. We’d never been involved in making a film before, let alone a feature film! But we were passionate about the subject and we knew film would be such an important medium for inspiring positive change in a world so needing big doses of that.

In four years we’ve made 18 short films and two feature films, 93,000 people have subscribed to our YouTube channel, 120,000 people follow us on Facebook, and our films continue to be funded by donations from our Patreon supporters, by YouTube views and in some cases in generous amounts from individuals equally passionate about our message.

Over our four years together we’ve lived and worked 24/7 in 20 square metres for 16 months while making our feature film
Living the Change; thrived through a winter cooking with pine cones on a pot belly in a 12-metre-square shipping container; bought a characterful movie star of a campervan with nearly all our savings, only to find she wasn’t up to road trips any more, or any trips at all, in fact; had the privilege of interviewing exceptional, beautiful people year after year, people who have influenced how we think, how we live and how we dream; made the cover of a magazine!; parted ways as a couple only to realise we were meant to be together; received such awesome feedback about our films that we’ve had the immense pleasure of feeling we’re on the right and true track; been stopped in the street and thanked for our work (this makes us so so so happy); loved our work and felt grateful for everything this beautiful planet and its beautiful people have made possible for us.

Some of our favourite YouTube comments:
“Your films have totally impacted our plans for our life. Thank you so much.”
“Love your films. I now watch Living the Change almost every week. It is so addictive…”
“This is so inspiring! Thank you Antoinette & Jordan. Your work is beautiful!”
“I wish I could give this more than one thumb up.”
“You guys make the best permaculture films.”
“These videos are my therapy!!!!!! Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“I’ve seen (and shown) many movies on similar topics. To date [Living the Change] is the best one I’ve seen.”

We’re in this for the long haul! We’re so looking forward to another four years, and more, of short and feature films about creating a beautiful world. Watch this space for plenty of new films this year, including one coming soon on waste-free living; an interview with the doyens of permaculture, David Holmgren and Su Dennett; and a new series that we’re super excited about. All coming soon!

Thanks again, everyone, for your enthusiasm and support. And Happy Birthday Happen Films!

In gratitude
Jordan & Antoinette

New Short Film! Creatures of Place

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Hey everyone, welcome to the Happen Films blog for June 2018.

We’re so excited to announce the release of our first short film, Creatures of Place, since our feature film Living the Change took over our lives last year!

Creatures of Place is an insight into the wonderful world of Artist as Family: Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones, and their youngest son, Woody. These folk are living our dream! We were so inspired by their philosophy about how to live in the world that we came away energised and motivated to stay strong on our own paths in life.

Here’s a quote from Patrick that was the source of the film’s title:

“We are creatures of place. And if we don’t become creatures of place again we will absolutely annihilate every place, for every species.”

It sounds like a dire warning, but Patrick and Meg are living as creatures of place – living solutions – in such a happy, abundant way that they inspire great hope for us all.

In the film Meg talks about their “bin-liner moment” when they realised they were no longer putting anything in the rubbish bin that required a plastic bag to protect the bin – and how that led them to decide not to buy plastic at all, and later to no longer buy from supermarkets, and eventually to not owning cars – on which, Patrick points out, the average Australian family spends $30,000 a year. Patrick:

“Going without is actually saying yes to other things. So going without cars means I don’t have to be a full-time builder like I was ten years ago. I can actually stay at home, grow vegetables, co-homeschool Woody…”

This was no quick leap into a new way of living. The years of thoughtfulness in their approach to the transition seems to have made it all the more successful. But Meg says:

“This is just how we’re choosing to live; how we’re responding to the world… It might not be meaningful for other people who are mapping out for themselves how they’re going to live a carbon-positive lifestyle in the future, but for us this feels wonderful, this feels resilient, this feels important and this feels… vital. And this feels like a very rich life for us to live.”

That’s the message we came away with for sure: these guys are rich way beyond anything money could buy.

Watch the 10-minute film here. And please leave a comment! We love hearing your feedback – it makes us and our films so much stronger 🙂

In other news from Happen Films…

We’ve signed a worldwide distribution deal!

Huge news this one: our feature films Living the Change and A Simpler Way have been picked up by distribution company Fighting Chance Films. This is such a great step for us – feels like we’ve jumped up to a whole new level as filmmakers 🙂 Both films will become available to a much wider audience than we can easily reach, including on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, the library streaming service Kanopy, plus Dustin and his team are negotiating with conventional TV channels.

Fighting Chance Films logo

“Fighting Chance Films distribution and sales arm was formed to bring quality independent films to international audiences, embracing and coupling new technologies and delivery methods with traditional screens in order to reach the widest audience possible across multiple platforms and territories. We believe great stories deserve to reach their audience.”

If you haven’t seen Living the Change yet, check out our website for info and to purchase the film for $9.99. You can also rent it for $4.99 here.

Are our films available in your language?

YouTube has a great facility that allows viewers to translate films into their own language. If your mother tongue isn’t represented in our films, and you’d enjoy the opportunity to translate them, we’d love that! Just pick one of our films in YouTube that hasn’t been translated, select Settings -> Subtitles -> Add subtitles, and go for it! If you’re interested in translating Living the Change, check out this page to see whether a translation is already underway in your language.

What’s impressed us most this month?

We’ve just re-watched a profound 15-minute talk we were lucky to hear at the New Frontiers gathering in New Zealand this year by Swedish climate scientist Johan Rockström. We wanted to share it with you because he says so many things that are crucial and relevant and, well, necessary to share! Does this despair-to-hope quote spark your interest?

“We are standing on so much evidence that we actually, for the first time ever as scientists, need to pose the following question: Are we, as humanity, at risk of destabalising the whole Earth system? … I can tell you, as a scientist, there’s never been more reason to feel schizophrenic. Because, if there’s never been more reason to be nervous, there’s never been more reason to be hopeful.”

– Johan Rockström, Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre

Watch the full 15-minute talk here. We really recommend it! While you’re there check out the many other amazing talks that were beautifully recorded at New Frontiers, including this powerful one by Charles Eisenstein.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you’d like to receive updates – sometimes monthly, sometimes less – you can sign up to our newsletter in the box below.

Wishing you and yours well!
Antoinette & Jordan

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Antoinette’s Interview on the Urban Farm Podcast

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Right at the start of our publicity campaign, before releasing Living the Change, I was interviewed by Greg Peterson of Urban Farm. He asked lots of questions, going right back to my teens, and we chatted for a whole hour about being a young greenie, being distracted by our careers, and coming back full circle – we’d both travelled a similar path. The internet connection at our place wasn’t up to the task so it’s a patchy recording, but nonetheless, hope you enjoy!

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Welcome to the Blog!

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Welcome to the brand-new Happen Films blog!

This feels like a good time for us to start blogging: we’re at the end of a 5-week tour with our new feature film Living the Change, we’re about to start releasing new short films to our YouTube channel for the first time in nearly a year (yay!), and our little team of two is growing and changing and things will be a bit different for us from here on.

Happen Films is not just a production company making films for the love of film, we’re 100% about the message of our films and the message is and will stay consistent: these are challenging times and big changes are needed from the bottom up and from the top down. Our mission is to tell solutions-focused stories for a changing world – and on a personal level our mission is to learn and live those changes ourselves. Through this blog we want to take you along for the ride and we hope you’ll be as inspired and educated as we seek to be ourselves.

Here’s our news – feel free to comment below!

It’s a wrap! – Living the Change film release tour

Phew!! What a busy 5 weeks. We organised four screenings of Living the Change for our road trip, and attended another seven community screenings in New Zealand’s North Island and in Vic and Tas, Australia (our route was determined by where we had family to visit and new films to shoot). We loved the Q&A sessions post-screening! Our hope is for this film to generate discussion and there was plenty of that. It was fascinating to discover what subjects most animated each community.

In some places, it was gardening, in others it was the economy, the question of land access was big. As self-taught filmmakers with only three years’ experience, we found the feedback incredibly useful – wonderful that so much of it is glowing; essential to have some productive critiques. One guy said he found the film fundamentally flawed, but we accept we can’t please everyone 🙂 If you’d like to hold a screening for your own community, check out our Host a Screening page for details. If you haven’t seen it yet, check the Find a Screening page in case there’s an event coming near you, or you can purchase a copy to rent or own.

What’s Coming Soon? A new series of short films!

We’re so excited to begin releasing short films to our YouTube channel again after nearly a year. We’ve loved the process of working on a feature film and we’re already planning the next one… but we’ve missed making short films! In Australia, we shot footage and interviews for three short films, all with a focus on urban resilience. The first we’ll be releasing is about the amazing Artist as Family, in Daylesford, Victoria.
We were so inspired by this family, whose philosophy and day to day life are completely in line with how we think and where we strive to be. Artist as Family live on a ¼-acre section on the edge of a small town. They grow food, ferment everything in sight, home-school their son Woody (wait till you see this kid’s smile!), are car-less and eat seasonally only within their own climate region. They are deep-thinkers and we’re expecting this to be a thought-provoking film. If you’re not receiving our newsletter, sign up below to be alerted when this film becomes available.

We have a new team member!

Happen Films has been a team of two for three years now, and everything we’ve done has been possible because we’ve had a whole lot of help from our friends and family. We’re fortunate to receive regular offers of help from complete strangers too. Last year a guy by the name of Ray Milidoni wrote from Australia to say he loves what we do and to get in touch if he could volunteer marketing ideas. We said thanks and we’d be in touch and then we weren’t for months and months (because we were making a feature film 🙂 ) and then we had a film and we needed to market it and we remembered that nice-sounding guy Ray.

A whole lot of Skype calls and Slack messages and brilliant advice and generously gifted time later we reckon Ray is a Marketing Wizard and we’re not sure we could or would even want to go on without him. He’s just doing the hours he can fit in at the moment but we have a secret plan to take over his life. So, if you’re interested in working with Happen Films in a joint venture of any sort, you can now get a coherent response from ray [at] We bet you’ll love Ray as much as we do.

And Jordan is moving home…

And the big big news: after two and a half years in New Zealand Jordan has decided to move back to Australia, while Antoinette has chosen to stay on in the country where she was raised. Our beautiful friendship is for life and our partnership in Happen Films stays firm and fast, so while this will be a big change for us personally, Happen Films will continue to be everything we’ve created together and more. We look forward to continuing the journey together – and with you.

On that note… We need your help!

As we mentioned above, we receive lots of emails from people generously offering time and skills to Happen Films. Our favourite example is the call-out we made this year for volunteer translators of Living the Change. We received 60 offers for translating the film into over 20 languages. Amazing! You can see which languages are underway on the Watch the Film page of our website.

As a small team, with two of us trying to make a living from the films at present, we are super happy to accept help where we find it. We’ve put together a form to complete for folk who would like to contribute in any way. Check it out if you’re keen! We’re serious, no idea of help will be ignored.

That’s all from us for our first blog post. Be sure to sign up for regular updates via our newsletter and feel free to comment below!

Wishing you well,
Antoinette & Jordan

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