The 40-minute documentary film, Material Of The Future, which explores humanities complicated relationship with plastic, is now available to the public on Amazon Video Direct. Narrated in part by Alec Baldwin, the film asks how this miracle material that can curb epidemics, land humans on the moon, and end wars, be then considered a single-use disposable product that is choking our world and poisoning our lives.
Directed by Vern Moen, Material Of The Future uses character driven vignettes from around the world to explore history’s most incredible invention - plastic. From Dixie Longate, the number one Tupperware salesperson (who just happens to be a sultry drag queen), to scientists, environmentalists, the American Chemistry Council, museum curators (the Plasticarium), artists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, explorers, and doctors - it’s a very unexpected (and refreshing) environmental film in a sense that it doesn’t hit you over the head with human condemnation, but dances between the good and the bad. In fact, it’s difficult even calling it an “environmental film”.
“I wanted to make a film that captured the predicament that plastic itself is in. On one hand, it’s the most incredible material in the world - bar none. And then, here it is being treated like literal trash to the point we don’t even notice it. And that’s the real problem - we don’t even notice it anymore”, says Vern. “If people see this film, and then leave the theater, or couch, and notice the plastic straw that’s in their drink, then I’d consider the film a success.”
The production of the film, which originally premiered in 2014, has a storied past. Originally entitled Plastiki and the Material Of The Future, which premiered at Telluride MountainFilm Festival in 2012, and featuring footage of the trans-Pacific voyage of the experimental ship Plastiki (which Vern was a crew member of). The film was eventually separated into two films - one being just about the Plastiki voyage, and Material Of The Future being more about the science of plastic. Production took place in Begium, China, Hong Kong, Belgium, Germany, and USA.
“We make plastics because plastics make us feel like God.” Philippe Decelle
Unlike many environmental films that tend to lack any style, Material Of The Future features beautiful cinematography, smart editing, an all-star cast, and modern music by the late, great Richard Swift (as well as Animal Collective and Baths) making the film a bold, indie sleeper. “There’s strange space in the film that you don’t feel in many other films - space to think”, says Vern. “Given the fact that here we were making a film about something nobody notices, we knew we had to make bold choices to make our audience think.” And it does exactly that.
Material Of The Future was produced by Long Beach Film Company and premiered at Friday Harbor Film Festival in 2014. It features interviews with Captain Charles Moore (Algalita Marine Research), Dixie Longate, Susan Freinkel, Dr. Frederick Vom Saal, Dr. George Bittner, Dr. Theo Colburn (Endocrine Disruption Exchange), Greg Pronko, Judith Selby Lang, Manuel Maqueda (Plastic Pollution Coalition), Phillippe Decelle, Mike O’reilly, Stephen Joseph, Steve Russell (American Chemistry Council), Sylvia Earle, and Ulrich Reifenhauser. More information available at the film website: http://www.materialofthefuture.com or view the film here: https://www.amazon.com/v/longbeachfilmcompany