December 8th, 2016
Sold out film theatres all over the Netherlands, people queuing up for returned tickets and cinemas sold out two months ahead. This is not possible according to the film industry; not for a documentary. And especially not for one without a film distributor. Beforehand we were told: ‘self distribution is impossible’. And ‘there is simply no vacancy in cinema schedules’. Plus the idea of having a facilitated dialogue with the audience after every screening, made our proposition even more unworkable.
The opposite of all these initial reactions of cinema’s became a fact within two weeks. A fact nobody can deny. The last few weeks haven’t only been a rollercoaster ride and a beautiful success story. Success stories are always great but it’s more important to look at what really happened here. Who actually is in the driver’s seat here?
The answer is quite simple: You are - the audience. You are at the steering wheel. Down to Earth became the cinema surprise of the year, against all expectations and unspoken rules of the cinema business! Usually a successful film is supported by an intensive marketing campaign (with a budget equally big as the costs of producing the film), and carried by the film distribution channel and the film critics. Down to Earth didn't have any of this and was initially ignored by film critics. Only three cinemas dared to give it a try by setting up a few screenings, more out of sympathy for the project than for having any idea of what was to happen. In three weeks time we went from 3 cinemas to 30 with sold out screenings in all cities. This week we passed the 40.000 visitor mark and still a lot of theaters are sold out. What was thought to be impossible, seemed not only possible but even exceeded our own most optimistic expectations.
This is only a small example of the influence a collective of like-minded individuals can have. According to the Earth Keepers, this is exactly how we are going to change the world. This is power to the people. John Lennon sang 'Imagine all the people', and saw it the same way. A real Earth Keeper. Yet, we do not need all the people, but only a critical mass. I feel that is what's happening. More and more people awake from the illusion and see that it is our turn now. What are the possibilities when we start to bundle this collective energy? That's the next step. We don't need permission from anybody. It's us who have the key to activate the change we wish to see.... We are in the driver's seat.