Change Starts with You

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Questions and comments from attendees at the rough-cut screening in Space Noah, Seoul (Photo: Heeyoung Park | CC BY-SA)

Suhee and I are headed to the San Francisco Bay Area today. In the past two months, we’ve had a great, focused time to work with the film while in residency at Jageun Jip, and in the last ten days, we’ve organized multiple small ‘rough cut’ screenings with varied audiences in Korea, with the purpose of collecting feedback on the Final Straw film.

Final Straw rough cut feedback sessions in Seoul, Hongcheon, and Daejeon (Korea)

In addition to the feedback itself, we’ve learned a lot about our audience in these weeks. As with many of the characters in the film, they are generally young and often the second generation to grow up in a city, and they have a sense that the lifestyle they were born into is not really all that good for them, for the earth, or for the people around them.

What is surprising is that we have found this description encompasses such a large and growing group of people, spread throughout urban cores and suburban tracts around the developed world, who have realized that there needs to be a tremendous change in the way we live our lives; in our consumption, in the way we produce food and goods, and in the way we treat each other and our planet.

The issue is that most of the people in this group have no idea where to start.

The Final Straw offers a place to start, and the film is just the beginning.

At Seonghyun Choi’s natural farm for a pre-screening tour in Hongcheon (photo: P.M. Lydon | CC BY-SA)
At Seonghyun Choi’s natural farm for a pre-screening tour in Hongcheon (photo: P.M. Lydon | CC BY-SA)

Suhee and I wish to build a place where it is safe to question — at the very root — how we live. A place to see that a new way of doing things is completely within our control.

As natural farmer and author Yoshikazu Kawaguchi told us, the many people who visit his farm seek different kinds of change, but all of them have a common understanding that “…society won’t change for them, the government won’t change for them, others won’t change for them. Eventually they realize that nothing will change, unless they change the lives they live for themselves.”

A pre-screening tour of Seonghyun Choi’s natural farm in Hongcheon (photo: P.M. Lydon | CC BY-SA)
A pre-screening tour of Seonghyun Choi’s natural farm in Hongcheon (photo: P.M. Lydon | CC BY-SA)

We have begun to realize the amazing truth and power in Kawaguchi’s observations. And we’re excited to be moving into a time in our lives where we can put it into practice, and help others put it into practice as well.

We plan to host one final ‘rough cut’ screening in the SF Bay Area (time and location TBD) before we finish final soundtrack, color, and editing work in preparation for the film’s public release.

As you know if you’ve been following our journey, Final Straw is about more than just a film. During our time in the U.S., we’ll be looking to start meeting with like-minded organizations, highlighting their efforts and developing our own as we look toward the future.

Hopefully we’ll see you there, somewhere.

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