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20 Nov 2012

Competition Time! What are your three best films to screen at Transition events?

Now this should be fun.  It’s poll time, but with prizes!  In the Transition Primer, one of the most commented on sections was the list of films that Transition groups find useful in their awareness-raising work, complete with ‘doomer ratings’ and so on.  For this new book I’m doing, I want to include a ‘Top 10 films’ found useful by Transition groups.  Which were the most useful ones for your group?  I’d like to run this for 2 weeks (closing date December 5th), and for you to send me your top 3 films, in order of preference.  I will then lovingly create a Top Ten from your votes, which I will publish here.  What could possibly be more fun than this?

You can email them to me at rob (at) or have a spirited discussion about it below.  The final Top 10 will also appear in the book.  To spice it all up a bit, Permanent Publications have kindly given us 5 copies of Looby McNamara’s ‘People and Permaculture’ to give away to first entrants drawn from a hat at the end of the whole thing.  This should be fun!

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


20 Nov 12:58pm

1 – In Transition
2 – A Farm for the Future
3 – The Power of Community

Not sure if you can include A Farm for the Future, since it has no official release that I’m aware of, but it’s well worth it if you can track it down. We also had a lively debate after No Impact Man, though not everybody liked it. Home is great too.

Diana Korchien
20 Nov 1:22pm

1. A Farm for the Future
2. The Power of Community
3. The PowerDown Show

This last is good because you can use whichever episode fits the event you are holding, and they are only 20 minutes long, so won’t necessarily dominate the proceedings but add spice to them. I think Home is way too long and visually artificial. It didn’t make me feel the planet was the one I know, love and have travelled through.

Chrissie Godfrey
20 Nov 2:08pm

in Transition 2.0 without a doubt.

20 Nov 2:18pm

1. A Farm for the Future

2. in transition 2.0

3. The Power of Community

I would like to add films that were less popular but very important (“transition off” competition?): Baraka, Princess Mononoke and Momo. This last one if you can find it in french or english it will be great for childs and adults togehther; It’s an italian cartoon ( from the Michael Hende novel “Momo” Great book too.

Mike Grenville
20 Nov 5:06pm

1] In transition 1 & 2.0. Shows what an inspiring movement Transition is.
2] History of Oil by Robert Newman. Brilliant combination of interesting insights and humour.
3] Home. Stuuningly beautiful and connects us to deep time and our need to act.

Kevin Wilson
20 Nov 5:56pm

We haven’t run a whole lot of films (in Powell River, BC) but of the ones we have used, I’d say that the ones that sparked the most useful discussions were:

Chris Martensons’ Crash Course (the shorter version, on Youtube in sections)

The Power of Community

Fixing the Future PBS special

20 Nov 6:26pm

1 – The Power of Community
2 – Dirt the Movie
3 – In Transition 2.0
4 – Home
5 – A Farm for the Future

I never was not very good at counting 😀

Marie Goodwin
20 Nov 6:34pm

Sacred Economics
Economics of Happiness
Fridays at the Farm

Carin Schwartz
20 Nov 8:55pm

Age of Stupid (controversial)
Curitiba (inspiring)
Transition (fabulous, inspiring and uplifting)

Josué Dusoulier
20 Nov 10:07pm

1) Voices of Transition
2) In Transition 2.0
3) The end of Suburbia

Ralph Böhlke
20 Nov 11:57pm

1) Voices of Transition
2) In Transition 2.0

One more (out of competition):
“Das Schönauer Gefühl”, DE, 2008
A documentary film about the first German energy coop. Unfortunately the subtitled version is still not ready. Here some more details on the Schönau-case:

Gili Chupak
21 Nov 8:24am

La Belle Verte

21 Nov 9:56am

1) A Farm for the Future
2) Princess Mononoke
3) The Power of Community

Jane Freimiller
21 Nov 10:47am

We just showed “Carbon Nation” in Dorking to an audience of 45 who stayed on for a good discussion. Very positive film!

21 Nov 12:59pm

1. Life at the End of Empire (what’s the problem?)
2. END:CIV (what’s the solution?)
3. Baraka (inspiring)

James Mac
21 Nov 2:29pm

You have got to show H2Oil

Shaun Chamberlin
21 Nov 4:40pm

Forced to choose three I’d go for:

1 – A Farm for the Future
2 – Dirt: the Movie!
3 – Rob Newman’s History of Oil

Honourable mention to our very own 10 min wonder Transition Town Kingston: The Story so Far, which I know neighbouring initiatives have shown :)

Josué Dusoulier
21 Nov 7:10pm

About Voices of Transition :

A very nice film, very inspiring. It gives hope & energy…

Linda Cockburn
22 Nov 11:00am

1. Powerdown (for short, succint to the point and humourous depictions of the issue, and not overly pessimistic – gives avenues for change as well as the scary stuff).

2. The Power of Community.

3. The 11th Hour (because Leonardo Di Caprio makes it more accessible for the those who have not already ‘converted)

Thanks for the list – I’m going to track down those I haven’t already seen.

Robin Curtis
22 Nov 10:12pm

We have put together lists of useful films – but so far had success with:

“Age of Stupid” – surprised at the turnout – perhaps it was Postlethwaite…..?!


“Home” by Yann Arthus Bertand – was worried that it was too depressing for youngsters – but there is a positive message a the end – and the cinematography is phenomenal. As you would expect from his travelling exhibition – “Earth-from-the-Air”

…and for a short clip – Jo Confino’s recent “Enough is Enough” interview with Giles Fraser (ex St Paul’s)

…leaves you in no doubt that he is someone who “gets it”.

Josef Davies-Coates
23 Nov 3:14am

So hard to choose just 3.

Top 2 would have to be:

1. In Transition 2.0
2. The Economics of Happiness

And probably

3. A Farm for the Future

Josef Davies-Coates
23 Nov 5:37am

Others that might be in my Top 10

Coming Home – E. F. Schumacher and the Reinvention of the Local Economy

The Take – Occupy, Resist, Produce (be sure to turn on the subtitles unless you’re fluent in Spanish)

Taking Root – The Story of Wangari Maathai

What a Way to Go – Life at the End of Empire

Rob Newmans History of Oil

Inside Job

Fixing the Future

97% Owned

Just started watching Carbon Nation and so far seems good…

Ornella Trevisan
23 Nov 9:34am

I’d like to mention Even the rain (Tambièn la lluvia), which I thought was very good albeit also off-Transition usual.

Daro Montag
23 Nov 11:22am

So difficutl to chose – I show so many good films to the art & environment students at Falmouth. But my personal favourites are:

Koyaanisqatsi – ‘Life out of balance’ which merges time-laspe photography with Philip Glass’s reiterative music and ecology minded imagery. (Although it’s 30 years old it’s still very powerful)

The Yes Men Fix The World – A screball true story that follows a couple of gonzo political activists as they infiltrate the world of big business and pull off outrageous pranks that highlight the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet.

Mind walk – A story that explores the thinking of Fritjof Cpara and ecological thinking. (perhaps not a great movie, but a bold attempt to put systems thinking into a story.)

Daryl Mulvhill
23 Nov 4:13pm

Please consider or watch my film “The Green Backyard”

It was featured on the transition blog earlier this year. Not as comprehensive as the other suggestions but good example of a local group in a UK context…

Sorry for the shameless plug but need to get the story out there!

23 Nov 4:19pm

I’d recommend these three:

1.The age of stupid

2. Plan B: Mobilising to save civilisation

3. The Crisis of Civilization –

23 Nov 4:50pm

Since civilization without doubt is the root cause to the degredation of the biosphere and all the threats against the human race I must vote for “What a way to go” and “End:Civ”. And then maybe I would opt for “Avatar”? Yes, it’s an action movie – but it’s highly political and I don’t know if there is a better way to show what we’ve lost and why we must fight to regain it.

23 Nov 5:20pm

1 – The Power of Community
2 – Inside Job
3 – Home
4 – A Farm for the Future

23 Nov 6:10pm

The largest number of people have come to see The Economics of Happiness, In Transition (1 and 2) and Farm for the Future. Other films which are usually popular are Power of Community, No Impact Man and The Turning Point. We have also used the Powerdown Show as an introduction to certain topics. Some excellent films that we’ll show again include DIVE, Argentina: hope in hard times, and Garbage Warrior.

Thanks for asking this question – we are always looking out for good films, and there are lots of interesting suggestions listed above.

24 Nov 5:13am

Just saw Chasing Ice here in Boston, it opens in the UK this Sunday. Highly recommend it and it is available for private screenings mid 2013.

John F
24 Nov 10:35am

Tricky to pick three, and it varies with where I am, but for local UK use I’d say
1. Transition Town Kingston – The Story So Far (because it’s ours)
2. A Farm for a Future
3. The Story of Stuff
In case you’re counting honourable mentions I’ll sneak in Rob Newman’s History of Oil (a personal favourite but more culturally restricted – proved incomprehensible to intelligent Hong Kong viewers!), Economics of Happiness (globally relevant), In Transition 1 and 2, Chris Martenson’s Crash Course and Power of Community. The Age of Stupid had our biggest venue and crowd, but was probably less empowering. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.
Lots more to see above!

Daniel Kenning
24 Nov 2:14pm

1) Koyaanisqatsi 1982 – pre-dates even Rio and Brundtland, but is prescient and beautiful! It’s all about “life out of balance”; the word means something like “a way of being that prevents itself from being” (ie = unsustainability). Also, very powerful shocking & lovely film sequences instead of narration, fantastic enervating music by Philip Glass. Not an easy watch, quite different from many documentaries. Can be watched many many times.

2) “end of suburbia” 2004, has lots of really good discussion and illustration about what happens to our cosy way of life after oil. Quite alarming.

3) Age of stupid – important moment in awareness raising, not least because of the PR around its launch, and very good for showing to new audiences, so it was really important but maybe doesn’t warrant watching again.

Josef Davies-Coates
24 Nov 2:32pm

I have to say, I’m really quite surprised by how many people are including Age of Stupid – I thought it was a really crap film given all the hype around it and would never consider showing it.

PS – Rob: there is a another comment of mine in moderation/ spam (it had lots of links)

Josef Davies-Coates
24 Nov 2:33pm

(oh, sorry, you’ve already approved my comment that went into moderation, thanks! :) )

Josef Davies-Coates
24 Nov 2:48pm

People who I’ve shown both An Inconvenient Truth and Age of Stupid to have universally found An Inconvenient Truth to be the more powerful one, by far.

When I took my Dad (who was quite moved by An Inconvenient Truth) to see Age of Stupid I asked “so, what did you think of that?”. He replied “I think it was a complete waste of time”. I asked “do you mean us going to see the film, or the film getting made at all”. He said “probably both”. Sorry to say that I agree. Despite all the hype I think Age of Stupid, was, well, stupid (and, I’d bet, completely failed to reach anyone who wasn’t already engaged with the issues)

It saddens me that An Inconvenient Truth is possibly still the best/ most powerful climate change film (although, I think, for me, that title may now go to Carbon Nation – but I’ve not finished watching it yet…)

I’d also love to see (and to screen) an up to date peak oil film. All the ones I’m aware of (and that is a lot) were made before it became clear conventional crude oil has been plateauing for years etc

Anyone know of one a more recent up-to-date one?

Diana Korchien
25 Nov 1:52pm

I agree with Daniel’s choice of Koyannisqaatsi. I saw it in 1982 and hold many of the images in my mind to this day. We haven’t shown this film yet but I am now determined – and will try to get a copy somewhere. Another excellent film without words is Our Daily Bread (2005), all about industrial farming in Europe.

Kamil Pachalko
25 Nov 2:32pm

1. Power of community (good balance between doomist and solution elements).

2. End of Suburbia – still gives me nightmares

3. In Transition Movie

We have shown films about Transition from around the world at the first aniversary of starting up Transition Town Westcliff. They were downloaded from youtube – being short we had a chat after each of them about what interested us most. Brought up a variety of topics and inspiring to see the international community working towards similar goals.

25 Nov 7:48pm

The Power of Community, Koyannisqaatsi and Transition 2.0 get the top spots for me (not sure about order though).

This is probably a bit off topic but I wanted to recommend Le Quattro Volte (which I think means ‘The Four Times’) as a gorgeous, contemplative film about the connectedness of humans, animals, plants and minerals. It’s very arty and probably the slowest film I’ve ever seen so I wouldn’t recommend it for reaching out to a wide audience. For people who are already interested in ecological issues though – and patient film viewers! – I think it could provide a lot of inspiration.

26 Nov 12:08pm

Okay I know Im biased but the Powerdown Show, a made for community TV but available on DVD and now online, is perfect for screening to Transition Initiatives. Each of the 10 episodes are only 20 minutes long and are packed full of themes to unpick with your group, it is designed to ignite conversation on transition topics such as energy, food, shelter, and transport.

My favourite 2 films from the Powerdown Show –

Vote 1 – “Its All Connected”
Introducing whole systems thinking and Permaculture

Vote 2 – “Deconstructing Dinner”
Introducing community food systems.

Then my third vote has to go to the 10 minute short made by the same team,
Vote 3 – “Surfing the Waves Of Change”

This is a 10 minute animation introducing the concept of community resilience using the metaphor of surfing. Again it is designed to be a conversation starter and therefor a perfect film to screen at a Transition meeting.


Josef Davies-Coates
27 Nov 12:40am

So, I finished watching the Carbon Nation film the other night.

Overall: US-centric, but in spite of the: best climate change film by far. If you’ve not seen it I very highly recommend doing so. I’ll going to arrange a local screening soon.

My top 3 transition films are now:

1. In Transition 2.0 (wins the top spot by virtue of being so utterly on topic – as well as being really rather great)

Joint 2nd/3rd. The Economics of Happiness, A Farm for the Future, Carbon Nation.

Linda Cockburn
27 Nov 10:10pm

Here’s a cheat sheet – 100 films – arrived on my facebook page this morning. Too many to choose from

27 Nov 10:35pm

My personal opinion is that many of the proposed movies misses the true depth of the predicament. More and more people gets aware of the fact that we’re heading into a complete collapse. A collapse that is totally necessary and a relief for the biosphere. I would show a movie that correspond to that.

– “What a Way to Go” is mandatory in that sense.
– “Dirt!” because I feel it’s the most important topic.
– “END:CIV” because it’s the only movie I’ve seen that goes beyond walking away from Empire and into the subject of actually defending the earth.

Emiliano Muñoz
29 Nov 6:23pm

I’ll suggest “El Disputado Voto del Señor Cayo” a 1986 Spanish movie talking about a man living in a tiny village of just 3 people north of Burgos. Three politicians visit the village asking for people’s vote, pretending they know what inhabitants need for well being. Mr. Cayo really knows what matters and how to get it. He’s got nothing (in terms of a market based society) but he’s very rich on everything; specially knowledge, understanding of Life and local resources. Details on:

Josué Dusoulier
30 Nov 10:40am

I would also suggest this one :
There’s no tomorrow :

In 34 minutes, it gives an understanding of the “problems”. Can give nightmares as The end of suburbia.
Need to be followed by activities about solutions or a positive film as Voices of Transition or In Transition 1 or 2.

Carin Schwartz
1 Dec 11:04pm

Having followed this voting for 10 days, and watching most of the films suggested, either before or after the suggestions, I wonder if I may revise my original vote and cast it for “There is no tomorrow”. Outstanding message delivered in 34 minutes, to the point, no fuss, clear and easy to follow. The solution to our collective problem is in then found in In Transition.

Michelle Weiner
2 Dec 10:04pm

1. In Transition
2. Power of Community
3. Economics of Happiness
3. Dive!
3. Symphony of Soil (though, a bit long)
Story of Change