Education Blog

JBFC International Fellow Has an Interstellar Perspective

By Karolina Manko, Education Assistant 11.25.14

What does it mean to be “planetary?” That’s what filmmaker and JBFC International Fellow, Guy Reid asks every group of students he speaks with. At fifteen, Guy and his close friend, Steve Kennedy read Peter Russell’s The Awakening Earth (1982) and, it changed their lives forever. The ideas in Russell’s work sparked an epic storytelling journey for Guy and his co-creators, who have spent the past several years directing a feature-length, crowd-funded documentary, Planetary.

The film is a visually stunning meditation on the interconnectedness of all life on earth. Shot in 30 countries over the period of 36 months, it’s the magnanimous result of some incredible guerrilla filmmaking. Planetary was predated by the team's short film, Overview, which garnered over 6.5 million views on Vimeo and granted the filmmakers some serious leverage for their Kickstarter campaign.

Planetary is more than a film. For the past several years it’s been a collaborative mission made into a reality by the Planetary Collective, a creative organization dedicated to Worldview Interruption (redefining perceptions of, and engagement with, our planet.) Alongside Guy, fellow founders, Steve Kennedy (writer/editor) and Christoph Ferstad (cinematographer/producer) have been integral to the film’s conception and creation.

Planetary draws from a wealth of research and knowledge. Guy holds a B.A. in Eastern philosophy and a M.A. in leadership in sustainable development; Planetary features approximately 30 interviews with a plethora of relevant individuals: from environmentalists like Paul Hawken, to NASA astronauts, Tibetan meditation teachers and National Geographic explorers.

Since early November, Guy, originally from the UK, has been in residence at the JBFC as part of the Kathryn W. Davis Fellowship for International Understanding Through Film. He’s screened Overview as well as selects from Planetary for a number of audiences, including students from local schools, and members of the JBFC’s Creators’ Co-Op. Young audience members really take to Guy, whose work provokes questions like “Do you think your film has changed the way future astronauts will see the Earth?” and “Do you think the internet can be considered a manifestation of the collective conscious?”

“Film is a contemplative space” Guy tells his listeners. “I still feel like that fifteen year old kid trying to turn people onto this idea that we’re embedded into this system that we live in.” And for Guy, it’s that sort of passion that has fueled his storytelling journey, and continues to make him an earnest and incredibly accessible artist. After every screening, Guy tells students to “figure out why you’re telling the story. If you get the ‘Why’… the ‘How’ and the ‘What’ are secondary.” It all starts with a singular, burning question. That’s why we make art.

Guy Reid will remain in residence at the JBFC through early December. Planetary is set to release in Spring 2015. For more information on Guy Reid and the Planetary Collective, visit their website: