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)

Louisville Premiere + More Good News…

Dear YERTians,

Welcome to the latest update on all things YERT! Lots of exciting news this week. Read on for details…

  • Louisville Premiere on July 28!
  • YERT is an Official Selection at Route 66 Int’l Film Festival
  • Success at deadCENTER Film Festival
  • Premiere Planning in KY, PA, CA, TX, NY, OR, WA, DC, and Europe
  • Seeking Outreach Volunteers

Louisville Premiere on July 28!
You are warmly invited to the Louisville Premiere of the feature documentary “YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip” on July 28th at 7pm (7pm is filled up! Second screening at 9:15pm) @ The Louisville Science Center. (Reserve your tickets here.) Edited and post-produced primarily in Louisville, the movie bears the marks of a variety of the city’s local talent (some of whom will be at the Louisville Premiere) including Director/co-Producer Ben Evans, YERT-mama Julie Evans, 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 on July 28th at 7pm (7pm is filled up! Second screening at 9:15pm) @ The Louisville Science Center’s IMAX Theatre. The screening will be followed by a special Q&A with Ben Evans, Julie Evans, and Scott Irick – hosted by Gill Holland. Tremendous thanks to the Louisville Science Center, the Louisville Film Society, and the Green Building for so generously sponsoring this premiere and to the entire Louisville community for such incredible support over the last few years. We can’t wait to see you at this very special event!

Ticket reservations for the Louisville Premiere are essential and seats are filling quickly. Reserve your tickets here: http://yertreservations.questionpro.com/

YERT is an Official Selection at Route 66 Int’l Film Festival
We just received word that the YERT Film has become an “Official Selection” at the ultimate road-tripping film festival – the Route 66 International Film Festival in Springfield, IL. They liked the film so much that YERT will be featured in a special advance screening prior to the film festival, hosted by the Chairman of the Illinois Sierra Club, Will Reynolds. Ben will be in attendance at the screening for Q&A, on Aug. 9, 7-10pm at the Capital City Bar and Grill, 3149 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL. If you know anybody in the area who might enjoy our special flavor of “environmental anti-depressant,” send them to the screening!

Success at deadCENTER Film Festival
YERT was extremely well received at the deadCENTER Film Fest in Oklahoma City! Over 160 people saw the film via two separate screenings, and out of 107 films, YERT was the most highly rated and most reviewed film at the entire festival. You can see for yourself here. And we’ve included some of the reviews at the bottom of this e-mail. We also had a successful “meet and greet” event during Mark’s visit to OKC, bringing together young and old, experienced and new YERTians from the area for a candid discussion about sustainability at the local level. A big THANKS to deadCENTER for being such a fun, welcoming festival! Thanks also to Elemental Coffee for hosting the gathering, and to Transition OKC, Sustainable OKC, Fresh Greens Blog, and Cimarron Group of the Sierra Club.

Premiere Planning in KY, PA, CA, TX, NY, OR, WA, DC, and Europe
We’re continuing to roll out the YERT film at premieres around the country. The Louisville premiere comes up next, and we’ll soon be announcing premiere dates for Pittsburgh, PA and California (San Francisco). We would also like to have premiere events in Portland (OR), Seattle (WA), New York (NY), Austin (TX), and Washington (DC), and an international premiere. Do you know organizations or individuals in these cities that you think would be helpful collaborators in creating a strong YERT premiere? Please encourage them to contact us ASAP at team@yert.com! And if you’d like to arrange a screening near you, wherever you are, premiere or not, you can always do that at our screening page.

Seeking Outreach Volunteers
We have two talented, connected, and dedicated interns (Angela Wiley and Laura Beck) working to plan screenings, develop a press kit, and generally boost YERT’s outreach efforts, but we need more help! Would you like to spend a couple hours each week as an outreach volunteer? Click here to sign up and we’ll follow-up with you by e-mail and phone. We particularly need active grass-roots development in these states: KY, PA, CA, TX, NY, OR, WA, DC. Sign up today!

And that’s the latest news from YERT. You can join the conversation on Facebook, and we’ll see you again soon!

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

— NEW Quotes from YERT Film Audiences —

“The Fellini trio of the climate justice movement, the YERT film crew has managed to pull off the impossible in the world of cinema–a deeply absorbing and often hilarious road trip that confronts the badlands of our nation’s spiraling descent into dirty energy darkness, only to emerge along the solar roadways and wind-swept plains into the myriad possibilities for new power and sustainable living. 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, author, Huffington Post

“This was an exceptional documentary. It had the 3 E’s of any good documentary. It was entertaining, emotional and educational. Forget the Tea Party. Working on alternative energy sources and getting humans to work toward sustainable lifestyles, needs to be the next American Revolution.” – deadCENTER Film Fest audience member

“Wow! One of the best eco-documentaries I’ve seen. Loaded with information. Why havn’t I heard of the revolutionary, forward thinking people in this film before? A real eye opener; not just to the environmental issues but to the popular media and their inability to bring this information to the masses. Great movie!” – deadCENTER Film Fest audience member”



Q&A featuring Mark with Lance McDaniel, Executive Director of the deadCENTER Film Fest.

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

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

Great turnout at Pitt Mini-Screening!

Last week’s mini-screening and presentation at Pitt went very well! It seems that each time we have a presentation these days the buzz is building for the film and project, translating into more and more local action around a variety of environmental causes.

At the beginning of the event, as over 100 attendees filed into the auditorium, various student and community groups got up on stage to introduce themselves and the work to which they’re dedicated. Free the Earth, PSEC, Transition Pittsburgh, a new student peak oil group, and Greenpeace, to name a few, leveraged the YERT gathering to connect with the community.

We then screened a mini cut from the YERT feature film, followed by an extensive discussion with the audience for nearly two hours. Questions from the evening ranged from “how can you live your passion AND pay off student loans?” (live with friends and family to save money, shop at thrift stores, and MUCH more…) all the way to “What was your favorite state?” (VT).

We have lots of YERT events coming up, and MANY more in the pipeline that we have yet to announce. We would love to visit and help you kick-start local environmental action in your area. Check out our handy calendar here: http://yert.com/screenings.php and click on this link there to request an event in your area!

Cheerio,
Mark
team@yert.com

Standing room only at YERT screening!

img_0281.JPGWow! What an evening! I’m writing to thank ALL of you who attended last night’s YERT rough-cut screening at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers. I figure we had over 80 people packed into a screening room that only seats 53. (A special thanks to those who sat on the floor. 😉

(Here’s a picture of the eco-gingerbread house raffle prize!)–>

I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to show up last night and find so many friendly faces so excited to see the film. And then to see you all laughing, smiling, and even crying a bit through over two hours of sitting– well, the YERT team and I couldn’t have hoped for more.

Thanks again to Councilman Bill Peduto for kicking off the event, to Sheila Collins and Richard Citrin for closing it, and for all the helping hands all night long who made the event run as smoothly as it did.

I’d also like to thank Will Zavala for inviting me to share the YERT film at his ongoing DocSalon series. You can find more information about future DocSalon events at their website: http://pghdocsalon.blogspot.com/

And a special thanks to Salt of the Earth for donating the $50 “Dinner with the Filmmaker” for our raffle. Please support Salt and its brilliant chef/owner, Kevin Sousa, when you get the chance: http://www.saltpgh.com/

Until next time,
Mark (and Ben and Julie)
team@yert.com

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for the YERT mailing list, please do: http://www.yert.com/contact.php . That’s the best place to learn when and how to get your own copy, watch, or screen the film after it is released.

P.P.S. You can check out photos of the eco-gingerbread house here.

YERT Rough-Cut Screening in Pittsburgh on 12/17

Mark is presenting a rough-cut screening (we’re not done yet) of the YERT film in Pittsburgh as a part of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Documentary Salon, and he would love your feedback! Mark will be joined by Bill Peduto and a host of other fans and supporters, so please come on by, watch the film, and tell us how you think it should change. 🙂

Friday, December 17
6:30p Food & Social
7:00p Screening
…Admission is free.

Screening in Classroom Theater, Room 210 (2nd floor, behind the elevator)

Here’s a mini synopsis:
YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip) is a groundbreaking adventure and a celebration of the American spirit in the face of adversity – a thought-provoking, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious documentary about the courageous and creative individuals, groups, businesses and leaders of this country who are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history. Called into action by the ever increasing threats of planetary catastrophe (from climate change to toxic pollution, from water scarcity to habitat destruction), the three of us – Mark Dixon, Ben Evans, and Julie Dingman Evans – upended our lives, pooled our collective life-savings, and set off on a first-of-its-kind, 50-state, year-long journey of discovery to personalize sustainability and to answer a critical question: ARE WE DOOMED?

Check it out on the DocSalon blog here:
http://pghdocsalon.blogspot.com/2010/11/december-2010-at-salon.html

And on Facebook here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=174635695896598

YERT @ Monroeville Library Tonight

Hey, All! Mark is giving a YERT presentation at the Monroeville Library at 7pm-8:30pm. Details below…

YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip
Monday, December 6, 2010
7:00 p.m. – 8: 30 p.m.
Monroeville Public Library Gallery Space
4000 Gateway Campus Blvd., Monroeville, PA 15146

Cosponsored by Sustainable Monroeville
Join Mark Dixon from Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT) for an event filled with environmental fun and film as he shares highlights from a year’s journey of weird, wild, and wonderful approaches to sustainability all across America. Ever try cutting down your garbage to 1/100th of its normal size? On the road? With a pregnant woman? Come on by to find out how they did just that and more.

YERT is a one-year 50-state video documentary road trip to explore and personalize sustainability across the country. All throughout the journey, Mark Dixon, Ben Evans, and Julie Evans released fast-paced videos online to share their adventures, including their very own “road rules” eco-challenges (like keeping all of their garbage in the car all year), visits to environmentally significant destinations, and most importantly, interviews with over 800 leaders, businesspeople, researchers, and average citizens from all walks of life. Now the team is working on “YERT Phase 2,” developing a feature film, additional short films, live presentations, and educational curriculum based on the project.

YERT at Northeastern!

Last night I gave a presentation to a crowd of about 70 students at Northeastern University, invited by their environmental group “HEAT” and their entrepreneurial club, and we had a great time! I showed a few clips from our upcoming feature film, including a chapter about Joel Salatin (also featured in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma), not to mention a number of quotes from eco-notable figures like Wes Jackson (Land Institute), Janine Benyus (Biomimicry), and David Orr (renowned climate scientist).

My awesome hosts at the event!

I also highlighted a number of eco-resources for students to consider exploring on their own after the presentation. Here’s a list (in case you didn’t have time to write them all down!)…
The Better World Shopping Guide – One of the best stocking-stuffer-sized guides to all kinds of products, from an eco and social justice perspective.
– Plan B 4.0, by Lester Brown – The best guide to all the issues facing our planet, and the best solutions for getting ourselves out of the fix, all in one place. A true plan. Fine more information here. (Full free book download here)
Cradle to Cradle – Shows how we can make things safely on a finite planet. A must-read for entrepreneurs and scientists. Printed on totally recyclable plastic pages! 😉
– Green Chemistry – The fertile soil upon which chemistry in this new generation will most likely be built. At least it SHOULD be built on these principles. Read all about Green Chemistry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_chemistry .
– Transition Town movement – A community response to climate change, peak oil, and financial instability in the years ahead: Transition US. And the local Massachusetts Transition network. And my favorite, the Transition Handbook. A must read!
Bioneers by the Bay – There is a wonderful conference that takes a broad and deep look at environmental, social justice, and spiritual approaches to healing the planet. There are satellite conferences nationwide, including a huge one one at UMass Dartmouth: http://www.connectingforchange.org. And the national Bioneers conference happens in San Rafael, CA.
– I also showed a slide about YERT’s New Media Tools. Check it out for a full explanation of all the tools we used on the trip and what we liked/didn’t like about them.

I’ll be gradually adding to this list of resources, but this is a good start. You can also find some of the videos from last night’s presentation on the YERT environmental video page.

A big thanks to all the students who turned out for the event, and please do stay in touch!

A great screening at the National Bioneers Conference! + Screenings in KY and PA this weekend

Dear YERTians,

We’re thrilled to report that the YERT feature film rough-cut screening at the National Bioneers Conference went very very well. There was a crackling excitement in the room on Friday night, filled to capacity with 100+ audience members who laughed so loudly and so often that passers-by thought it was a comedy show.

Ben at Bioneers 2010 Mark at Bioneers 2010

After the screening we heard lots of wonderful feedback that people were both tickled and moved by the film and couldn’t wait to see the final cut and screen it in their home towns. A few audience members were so excited that they donated a total of $70 to the project right on the spot. The Bioneers conference co-founder, Kenny Ausubel, mentioned to me something along the lines of “I heard lots of good things about the YERT screening.” Kenny also gave Ben a big hug on Monday after the conference. And finally, we have also received an invitation to screen the final film at the National Bioneers conference as soon as we finish the final cut.

All in all, a great time, and an affirmation that we’re on the right track with this film. It is also an affirmation to you, our friends and supporters, that we’re working together towards an inspiring, fun, and worthwhile contribution to the movements dedicated to improving the relationship between people and our dear planet.

And if you’re in Louisville, KY or Pittsburgh, PA this weekend, you can watch the same screening that we shared at the National Bioneers Conference last weekend. Here’s the information:

Louisville, KY – Bluegrass Bioneers – Friday, 10/22, 7:00pm-8:50pm – Free entry! – YERT Feature Film: Your Environmental Road Trip (preview cut) – followed by Q&A w/ Director/Producer Ben Evans (University of Louisville, Planetarium/Strickler) http://www.bluegrassbioneers.org/sched.html

Pittsburgh, PA – 3RiversBioneers – 5:30pm-7:30pm – $5 at the door – FILM: YERT Feature Film: Your Environmental Road Trip (preview cut) – followed by Q&A w/ Producer/Director Mark Dixon (Pittsburgh Project, 2801 N Charles St, Pittsburgh, PA, in the Sanctuary) http://www.3riversbioneers.org/schedule

Thanks again for enabling the project so that we can continue to give positive updates like this one, and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

Peace
Ben, Mark, and Julie
Your YERT Team

team@yert.com