More films with Luna, focusing on other subjects, are coming soon. Below, we chat with Ari about that first one.
Muse: Why is our culture/industry so unimaginative when it comes to thinking about a better future?
Ari Kuschnir: That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for a few years. I think we are in a crisis of imagination that stems from a crisis of meaning. When we visualize the future, we seem to default to dystopia instead of imagining protopic futures where we solve some of our problems without creating new ones. If you look around pop culture, we mostly see worse versions of the future, and I’m often told that’s because there’s more drama in dystopia or it’s a reflection of our current situation. . But I don’t buy it entirely. Maybe it’s just a comfortable default position. In thinking about the extent to which stories and our imagination influence our current reality and, therefore, our future, we should consider both protopian futures and dystopian futures.
Why are the kids so much better there?
They are in touch with a kind of magic, and they can feel things more deeply. For example, Luna said, “I don’t want to live in a computer world,” when I showed her this robot video that came up first when I searched for “future.” Then I shared some protopian worlds and solarpunk art that I gathered and she immediately gravitated towards that. I also think having a child gives you the opportunity to connect with your inner child and heal that part of you, allowing you to imagine a better future.
What is your vision of these “little films”?
Above all to have fun and make little time capsules with and for her. And embrace my artistic and creative gifts. I’m not a director for hire, and it’s not something to attract clients or gain more influence. It comes from a pure place to follow what is most alive, and I want to honor that. And it’s okay if the side effect is that it attracts more people or sparks conversations about a better future. I have already noticed that our community is ready to have these conversations just by sharing the short film with friends and directors last week.
What is your general process?
It all started because Luna saw the project I was working on and wanted to see other films I had done. I realized I had no other “movies” to show her so she inspired me to do something. I’ve found a sweet spot between 9 and 11 p.m. where I get into a state of creative flow, and I’m able to riff on a particular idea that’s alive, so I record on my mic first and start riffing on it. build from there. Then I interview him to see what ignites a spark and start editing. I love editing, and I’m really good at it, so that’s where it all starts to fall into place. I put some constraints in place for this project, like not writing a script, only working nights and shooting on weekends, doing everything by myself and always being open to the direction of the play.
I also shared the rough cuts with documentary filmmaker friends who gave me great feedback, especially Bianca Giaever, who reimagined the film “kids have wild imaginations” with fear is afraid and has worked in this genre ever since. Monika Bielskyte also played a key role in selecting stock footage and footage to reflect the protopian sensitivities she and others have developed. And Julio Monterrey, aka Youthfaire, is a friend and musical maestro I’ve known for over 20 years, so we have an effortless way to collaborate. I am currently working on a small film about love, and it will be very different from this one. Looking for a tunnel location for this weekend!
What do you hope people take away from this?
Start a conversation about what those brighter futures look like. Can we generate as many hopeful visions of the future as dystopian visions? Can we start populating this new category that I propose in the short film? Just search “What does the future look like?” and see if you like what you find. Read Monika’s Protopia Futures Frameworkto listen talk about sand by Tyson Yungaporta, or read the short story by Ari Wallach Long road book if you want a deeper dive. I also can’t wait what Hannah Beachler will create for Black Panther 2; Wakanda is the most protopian vision presented in a blockbuster of the last decade.
Finally, while writing these answers, I came across this new study by astrobiologists which suggest that the Earth itself could be an intelligent entity. It’s a new/old story that native cultures have known for centuries and a perfect setting for the next Protopian vision.