Greetings from St. Louis, Costa Rica, and TEDx Pittsburgh!

Whew, I just got back from St. Louis, Costa Rica, and Pittsburgh…and boy are my arms tired. 😉 It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks for the YERT film – (hey, we just won Best Feature Documentary for our international premiere at the Costa Rica International Film Festival!!). Here are some snapshots and a few things I learned while traveling.

St. Louis (11/11-13):
* Always remember your wallet when taking a road trip to St. Louis (or your Aunt Karen will never let you live it down when you get there).

* When in St. Louis’ incredible City Museum, keep track of your 3-year-old…no, really.

* Treating said 3-year-old to a celebratory ice cream cone and root beer at said museum may seem like a good idea at the time…

…it is not.

* The St. Louis International Film Festival is really cool. They’ll even take a picture of you outside their marquee.

Costa Rica (11/14-18):
* Always remember your passport when flying to Cos…don’t worry, I did actually remember my passport. 😉

* 48 hours is not nearly enough time in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

* But, if 48 hours is all you can get in Montezuma, Costa Rica…take it!

* Don’t try to cross the river to hike through the jungle to get to the big waterfall if it rained the night before because the river will look like this and you will die.

Instead, cross the river the next day when it’s calmer…

Of course, when the waterfall you’re trying to get to looks like this…

…I can understand why people might throw caution to the wind.

* Zip lines are harder to pull off as you get older.

* The Costa Rica International Film Festival is also really cool! And they dig fun environmental docs!

TEDx (11/19-20):
After a long day of travel from San Jose, Costa Rica to Farmington, PA by way of MIA and PIT, I finally rendezvoused with Mark at what can only be described as rural Pennsylvania’s answer to the Palace of Versailles for a truly remarkable experience presenting YERT highlights at Pittsburgh’s TEDx conference where we were very well received.

* Pennsylvania doesn’t have Las Vegas, but it does have Nemacolin Resort. And holy honkin’ hotel, Batman! This place is decked out!

* There is a certain inescapable irony about holding a conference focused on “power” in an enormous, sprawling hotel with giant chandeliers in every hotel room. Kind of like an environmental road trip…

* In a pinch, a hotel room bathtub can be used as a washer and an iron as a clothes dryer…for all of your wet, stinky Costa Rica “jungle clothes”…on the morning of your presentation.

* TEDx is really cool. You might even meet someone like, oh, say…C-3PO. Though he’s harder to spot without the full metal body suit.

Finally, as exciting as the traveling’s been, it’s always a joy to come back home to family.

Here’s to an even more fruitful and exciting 2012! Oh, and don’t forget to BUY YOUR YERT DVDs before the holidays – they make great gifts!

Happy Holidays!
-B (& J & M)

YERT feature film – KY Premiere – July 28, 7pm @ Louisville Science Center!

YERT Film Poster for Louisville
The YERT Film poster is an homage to films that have undoubtedly influenced many environmental documentaries: Charlie’s Angels and The Ten Commandments . Conceived/designed by Ben Evans and created by local Louisville graphic artist Kyle Ware.

“…A deeply absorbing and often hilarious road trip… By the dramatic end of Your Environmental Road Trip, audiences will not only cheer, but feel compelled to spring to their feet to join an inspiring movement for change. If only our nation’s policymakers will watch this important film and do the same.”
– Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post

RESERVE YOUR LOUISVILLE PREMIERE TICKETS HERE
(One night only and seating is limited, so get your tickets early.)

YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip is an award-winning film (Audience Award – Environmental Film Festival at Yale 2011) celebrating the American spirit in the face of adversity – a unique docu-comedy profiling the courageous and creative individuals, groups, businesses and leaders of this country who are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history.

RESERVE YOUR LOUISVILLE PREMIERE TICKETS HERE

(One night only and seating is limited, so get your tickets early.)

Covering 50 states in 1 year and virtually every environmental issue coast to coast with a blend of humor and depth – from the heroes on the front lines fighting mountaintop removal in Appalachia to the iconic Kansan “solving the 10,000 yr-old problem of agriculture”; from an eccentric 92-year old cave-man in the wilds of Idaho to the inventor of futuristic Solar Roadways; from New Mexico’s utopian Earthships to Alaska’s melting ice cellars – we shot 600 hours of footage and interviewed nearly 1000 people including such luminaries as Bill McKibben, Wes Jackson, Michael Bloomberg, Deepak Chopra, Janine Benyus, Will Allen, David Orr, Michael Reynolds, Joel Salatin, David Korten, and members of Congress…as well as ordinary citizens from all walks of life.

To better understand the environmental challenges before us, Mark, Julie, and I also decided to put ourselves through a series of outrageous challenges on the trip, like never turning on an incandescent light bulb, radically reducing our water usage by any means necessary, and, above all, attempting to generate zero waste by keeping all of our garbage (and recyclables) in the car with us for the entire year. Little did we know that in the middle of the trip, an unexpected turn of events would instantly and dramatically change life for all of us and push the entire project to the brink. It was an alternately heart-rending, mind-blowing, and gut-busting adventure – but ultimately, we hope, an inspiring one.

Crafting the film has been as challenging as surviving the trip itself. Edited and post-produced primarily in Louisville, the movie bears the marks of a variety of the city’s local talent (in addition to Ben and Julie…and frequent visitor Mark) including co-producer Gill Holland, co-editor/co-producer Scott Irick, animation from Eric Stemen at Kertis Creative, and music from Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore among others – as well as invaluable help from a wonderful group of local donors, transcribers, and supporters. After more than four years in the making, the film will have its Louisville Premiere (generously sponsored by both the Louisville Science Center and the Louisville Film Society) on July 28th at 7pm @ The Louisville Science Center. A Q&A with the filmmakers will follow.

RESERVE YOUR LOUISVILLE PREMIERE TICKETS HERE

(One night only and seating is limited, so get your tickets early.)

Tremendous thanks to Louisville for such incredible support over the last few years. We can’t wait to see you at this very special event!

Ben Evans
DIRECTOR / co-Producer

YERTy Updates Galore!

Dear YERTians,

There’s plenty brewing in the world of YERT, and we’re delighted to share the news…

  • YERT wins Audience Award at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY)
  • Help us Build Buzz for YERT Screenings at deadCENTER Film Fest Next Week
  • Ramping up for Film Festival Madness (we hope!)
  • Plan a Screening of Your Own!
  • YERT Featured in Huffington Post + Other Press

YERT wins Audience Award at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY)
If you’re following our Facebook Fan Page or our Blog, you’ve already heard the news, but if you just don’t have time, here’s the big news: After a fantastic world premiere at EFFY 2011 – complete with packed house, laughter, tears, two standing ovations, and friends and family all around – we’re proud to announce that the YERT film won the Audience Award at the festival – in a tie with Oscar-nominated “Waste Land”!! Read all about it HERE.

Help us Build Buzz for YERT Screenings at deadCENTER Film Fest Next Week
We’re very excited to kick off YERT’s major festival run on 6/9 and 6/11 at the 11th Annual deadCENTER Film Festival – one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” – and we need YOUR support (in person OR remotely from distant lands)! Even if you’re nowhere near Oklahoma, you can still help us easily, painlessly, and hugely – simply click on our festival link here and click “Like”. We get points for visits and “Likes,” so please head on over! And if you ARE in Oklahoma, or know somebody who is, tell them to stop by and see the film, and even better, stop by the “Meet and Greet” event with Mark in Oklahoma City on Friday, 6/10 at 4pm, at Elemental Coffee (815 N. Hudson Ave., Oklahoma City, OK). And finally, a giant THANK YOU to all the sustainability groups and supporters who are helping get the word out in Oklahoma City: The deadCENTER staff and volunteers, Transition OKC, Sustainable OKC, Fresh Greens Blog, and Cimarron Group of the Sierra Club.

Ramping up for Film Festival Madness (we hope!)
We’ve applied to 41 film festivals so far, and have been accepted by two and rejected by two– an awesome average for festivals. We hope to keep it up! If you know of any festivals that you think we should apply to, now is the time. By the looks of the schedule, there is a surge of festivals peaking in October, so watch for us near you then– and if we don’t make it to your location by November, plan one of your own! And that leads us to the next item…

Plan a Screening of Your Own!
We don’t have any major distributors chomping at the bit to help us distribute the YERT film, but we feel that there is enough grass-roots support for our up-beat environmental story that we can do this on our own! It is very easy to do. All we need is for everybody on this list to host or inspire 5 screenings. Simply visit our Screening page at http://yert.com/screenings.php and sign up via the form there. On that same page you’ll also see a short but quickly growing schedule of our upcoming screenings. (By the way, if you know of a willing distributor, send them our way! 😉

YERT Featured in Huffington Post + Other Press
We recently caught up with Jeff Biggers and he wrote a great interview about the YERT film and project on the Huffington Post! You can check out the article here, and you can check out the latest press and reviews about the film on our press page here. Here’s a little snippet or two from the Huffington Post article:

Years in the making, YERT is a hilarious, powerful and often poignant chronicle of the year-long journey of three filmmakers, engineers and acclaimed Off Broadway performers – Julie Dingman Evans, Mark Dixon and Ben Evans – to explore breakthrough approaches, from the bizarre to the mind-blowing, for environmental sustainability in all 50 states.
BEN: It’s really a roadmap past clean energy toward LOW energy. . .and a sustainable, sane civilization based on how natural systems work. Clean energy is critically important, but it needs to take place in the context of powering down and maturing out of our extractive relationship with the planet into a mutually beneficial regenerative, restorative one. Ultimately, it’s about stopping deficit spending. . .of all kinds.

Please forward as much as you’re able- we need to get the word out about this film!

And that’s all for this latest edition of the YERT newsletter. Keep in touch, join the conversation on Facebook, and we’ll see you again soon!

Cheers,
Ben, Mark, and Julie
team@yert.com

— Quotes from YERT Film Audiences —

“I laughed (a lot), learned (loads), admired (lots of cool projects), and cried (at the …beautiful ending).” -Lori Hanemann, AK

“I am a member of GRAC = Grass Roots Action Club and tonight some of the members came out to see your film, and we were absolutely blown away. First, may I say that the music that was chosen for the film was perfect, so perfect, in fact, that I wanted to buy the soundtrack to your film right after it was over.” -Jessica Teixeira, West Haven High School, CT

“. . .the world premiere of “YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip” had us feeling just as hopeful and motivated as “Bag It.” . . .the narrators were charismatic, the story was creative and well developed, and the environmental issues were well presented. “YERT” covered a wide range of topics and had a bit of something for everyone.” -Kari Post, SustainableFocus.org



Ben, Julie, and Mark at the World Premiere of YERT at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale.
Photo by Rich Press.

Building buzz for our next screening – in Oklahoma City @ deadCENTER!

Hello YERTians!

Fresh off an Audience Award-winning world premiere at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale, we’re very excited to kick off YERT’s major festival run on 6/9 and 6/11 at the 11th Annual deadCENTER Film Festival – one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” – and we need YOUR support (in person OR remotely from distant lands)! Even if you’re nowhere near Oklahoma, you can still help us easily, painlessly, and hugely – simply click on our festival link below and click “Like”. That’s it.

http://deadcenter.slated.com/2011/films/yertyourenviromentalroadtrip_darrenhoffman_deadcenter2011

Clicking on the link is a quick, simple, and free way to help us build crucial BUZZ for the YERT film heading into this important festival and beyond. This link will be a portal for us for a number of festivals to follow, so building positive BUZZ early on at this festival is extremely important and will really help us down the road at future festivals as we try to get the YERT film out to as wide an audience as possible (hopefully at a screening near you :)). So please do take a second if you can to click on the link – and “Like” us once you get there.

And if you’re in or near Oklahoma, we’d love to actually see you at the festival. You can add us to your festival calendar at that same link above – that really helps too.

We’re looking forward to sharing the full film in person with all of you as soon as possible – festival by festival, screening by screening. In the meantime, you can help us get one step closer to that dream by BUZZing us up for this festival at that link. After all, BUZZ for YERT = BUZZ for the planet. 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Ben, Mark, & Julie

ABOUT THE deadCENTER FILM FESTIVAL:

The deadCENTER Film Festival has been around for 11 years, providing a platform for great independent film in the heart of Oklahoma. Over the years, we’ve grown from a one night screening to a five day, world renowned festival.

The 2011 deadCENTER Film Festival is June 8-12 and includes over 100 films from around the world playing in seven locations in downtown Oklahoma City.

From hilarious comedies and inspiring documentaries to visionary shorts and zombie musicals, deadCENTER features films from a hundred different perspectives for a thousand different tastes.

For complete festival info and to purchase festival tickets, head to http://www.deadcenterfilm.org/ .

“YERT Blockbuster” Featured on HuffingtonPost.com

Dear YERTians,

We recently caught up with Jeff Biggers and he wrote a great interview about the YERT film and project to the Huffington Post! You can check out the article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/yert-blockbuster-your-env_b_846682.html

And a little snippet or two from the article:

Years in the making, YERT is a hilarious, powerful and often poignant chronicle of the year-long journey of three filmmakers, engineers and acclaimed Off Broadway performers — Julie Dingman Evans, Mark Dixon and Ben Evans — to explore breakthrough approaches, from the bizarre to the mind-blowing, for environmental sustainability in all 50 states.

BEN: It’s really a roadmap past clean energy toward LOW energy…and a sustainable, sane civilization based on how natural systems work. Clean energy is critically important, but it needs to take place in the context of powering down and maturing out of our extractive relationship with the planet into a mutually beneficial regenerative, restorative one. Ultimately, it’s about stopping deficit spending… of all kinds.

Please forward as much as you’re able– we need to get the word out about this film!

Peace,
Ben, Mark, and Julie

YERT wins Audience Award at EFFY 2011 World Premiere!!

After a fantastic world premiere at EFFY 2011 (the Environmental Film Festival at Yale) – complete with packed house, laughter, tears, two standing ovations, and friends and family all around – we’re proud to announce today that the YERT film just won the Audience Award at the festival – in a tie with Oscar-nominated “Waste Land”!! Read all about it HERE.

If you would like to find or request a YERT feature film screening in your area, click HERE.

Thanks to anyone and everyone who has helped this project over the last 4+ years. This one’s for you, YERTians!

This film’s been a long time coming – but the real fun has just begun. Get ready world, here we come!

YERTfully,

Ben, Mark, & Julie

YERT Feature Film Poster!

We’re jazzed to reveal the new YERT Feature Film Poster for you all to print and share and upload wherever you please:

YERT Film Poster

And don’t forget to tell your friends that the world premiere of the YERT feature film will take place at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY) on April 2, 2011.

Here are the details:

7:00 P.M. on 4/2/2011
Yale University
Whitney Humanities Center
53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT

Tickets are free, but please RSVP (on Facebook or here if you aren’t on Facebook.) so we know you’re coming!

Once the film has premiered, we will be eager to screen it at festivals and events around the country. If you’re interested in arranging or attending a screening, please visit: http://www.yert.com/screenings.php .

Thanks again for all your support!!

Cheers,
Ben (and Mark and Julie)
team@yert.com

YERT’s World Premiere at EFFY

The day you thought might never arrive finally has. Four and a half years after the birth of YERT, we are pleased to announce that the world premiere of the YERT feature film will take place at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY) on April 2, 2011.

Oh, and you’re all invited!

The entire YERT team (Ben, Julie, and Mark) will be at the event, and we would love to see you there. You’ll even get to meet the YERT baby…Bailey!

Here are the details:

7:00 P.M. on 4/2/2011
Yale University
Whitney Humanities Center
53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT

Tickets are free, but please RSVP (on Facebook or here if you aren’t on Facebook.) so we know you’re coming!
Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis, so get there early if you can. The screening will be followed by a special live Q&A with the YERT team and a premiere party after that.

Once the film has premiered, we will be eager to screen it at festivals and events around the country. If you’re interested in arranging or attending a screening, please visit: http://www.yert.com/screenings.php .

We will never be able to thank you all enough for the incredible support that you have given to us and the YERT project over so many years. Rest assured that the film would not be premiering if it were not for the diverse contributions of hundreds of thoughtful supporters.

Thank you!!

Happily,
Ben, Julie, and Mark

P.S. Now is your last chance to get into the official film credits. We have raised enough to *finish* the film, but now we need to fund our distribution phase so that we can apply ourselves full-time to setting up screenings and getting the word out about the film and its message. If you would like to lend a hand AND see your name in the credits, stop by our donation page to make a contribution in any amount before March 15: http://www.yert.com/donate.php . If you mail your contribution, please e-mail team@yert.com as soon as it is in the mail so that we can add your name even if the check doesn’t arrive before the credits are finalized.

A Year of YERT + New Video!

Dear YERT Family,

It has been an amazing Year of YERT, and we’ve been working hard to get the feature film out the door while we change the tone of environmental action around the country. What have we been up to in 2010? We have…

* Edited, edited, and edited the footage from our adventure into a
rough cut feature film
* Screened a 2 hour 11 minute rough-cut of the
feature film in Pittsburgh to rave reviews
* Given 15+ presentations
nationwide, including a screening at the National Bioneers Conference
* Raised over $15,000 for the project
* Interviewed Bill McKibben, Janine Benyus, and David Orr for the film.

AND, we have released a BRAND NEW VIDEO, a sneak peek from the feature film for you to watch: The Junk Montage. Watch it by clicking on the picture below…

speaker.png Click Here for a Free Download of the Junk MP3!*

We hope that during this holiday season you feel inspired to contribute not only to stockings in need, but to a YERT feature film dedicated to preserving a planet for children around the world. We need $31,000 to finish the film with motion graphics, audio engineering, color correction, and our sanity, and you can help us get there!

Please donate to YERT at: http://www.yert.com/donate.php

Here’s what they’re saying about the YERT Film:

“Engaging, entertaining, moving, fun!”

“I loved the overall concept, the energy, and the inspiring interviews.”

“I was tearing up out of awe and inspiration at what you were able to create, what so many people have been able to create, what we can all create together, and convinced I had seen the best film of all time.”

‘Tis the Season for the Planet,
The YERT Team

***********************************
Watch the YERT Junk Montage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8ZwDFHGR4A
Please donate to YERT at: http://www.yert.com/donate.php
Download the free Junk song mp3 file here*: http://j.mp/eTUUeC

* The Junk Montage was created with the help of a great piece of music called, yes, “Junk” by Brainpool! It is featured in “Junk the Rock Opera” and they’re a bunch of kindred, YERTy spirits. Help them spread the word about their show by visiting their website at http://junkrockopera.com and see the original Junk music video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxHg3DIv9kg . The free download is made possible through the generosity of the Junk musicians who support YERT and our fans! The download is for personal use only, but feel free to tell your friends about it!

I am a Pro-Life, Conservative, Capitalist!

Speech delivered at MoveOn.org Fight Washington Corruption Rally
Louisville, KY – August 10th, 2010
by Ben Evans

I am pledging to clean up Washington because…I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. Strange right? Now say it with me – I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. Let me unpack that statement a little bit.

I am pro-life because I believe that not just human life is important and sacred but that all life is important and sacred – that we must stand humbled and awed in the face of this sacred and fabulously diverse web of life that supports and nourishes us and that we should do everything in our power to honor, protect, and support that web and all of its inhabitants. THAT is pro-life and we cannot allow our language to be hijacked by those who would restrict us to some narrow view of what kind of life is valuable.

I am a conservative because I believe in conserving our most valuable assets – our true wealth – our water, air, land, climate, and biosphere. I am a conservative because I reject the utterly rash and unforgivably radical idea that we can use our planet as humanity’s open and unregulated sewer without devastating consequences for us and all life that supports us. Conducting that kind of uncontrolled experiment on the only home we have – an experiment that we are currently carrying out at full-throttle – is the most insanely radical idea I can imagine and it flies in the face of the very word “conservative.”

And finally, I am a capitalist because I believe in the intrinsic value of natural capital – the real wealth upon which all of our seemingly important human wealth is based and without which none of this would exist. I am a capitalist because I believe in the ability of market forces to conserve and utilize this real capital wisely if, and only if, we have a truly open, accurate, transparent and distortion-free market that accounts for actual consequences and costs over all time frames. This means, among many other things, pricing carbon and adding the true and irreplaceable value of natural capital and the ecosphere to the ledger – because right now the “free-market” that we think we have could not be more distorted or backwards. Or, as noted author and economist David Korten once said to me, “What economic growth really measures is the rate at which the rich are expropriating the real resources of the poor in order to turn them into garbage at an accelerating rate to make money for people who already have more than they need.”

And so I am truly a pro-life, conservative, capitalist – and we need more of those in Washington. We can no longer allow our language to be co-opted by those who would distort and destroy it, anymore than we can allow our government to be. We need to take back Washington and remind them that they work for US. We need a government that recognizes that humanity does not live in a vacuum, that a sustainable human economy and a healthy vibrant ecosphere are not mutually exclusive but, rather, mutually essential – and we need a government that can legislate that way.

We can all do a tremendous amount as individuals in our own lives and communities to protect this planet that sustains us – and I’m definitely all for that. But there are certain essential things that only our government can do. Only our government can enforce true-cost accounting by putting a price on carbon to move us away from our dead-end fossil fuel obsession. Only our government can set renewable energy standards to allow the energy marketplace to function wisely and in our long-term best interests. And only our government can negotiate climate treaties with other nations to preserve the enduring health of our species. We need an effective government, and so long as Washington is run by those who see mowing down our forests, blowing up our mountains, and polluting our water in order to make a buck for the top tax-bracket as “economic progress”, we will not have an effective government.

BP is not a person. Goldman Sachs is not a person. Massey Coal is not a person. And yet, they have more rights than any person – without the same responsibilities. We cannot continue to live in a world run by the likes of BP, Goldman Sachs, and Massey – or we will simply not have a world to live in.

Now say it with me one more time: I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. And I want an honest and fair government that knows what those words REALLY mean, and acts like it.