Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Long Play: Surviving Progress

Surviving Progress
Surviving Progress, 2010, Source / Courtesy: National Film Board of Canada
As part of its Long Play program, ACMI presents the Australian premiere of Surviving Progress which will screen from 1 to 15 July 2012. From the makers of The Corporation and Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese, Surviving Progress is a true big screen documentary and poses the question from some of our most renowned thinkers - "How can we live within the real limits that our planet gives us?"


Inspired by Ronald Wright's best-selling book A Short History of Progress, this cinematic experience puts forth a polemic from a wide range of thinkers on how we are to survive the future. Featuring compelling ideas delivered from modern luminaries including geneticist David Suzuki, physicist Stephen Hawking, former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund Simon Johnson and experts from behavioural science and cognitive psychology; this film documents a variety of thoughts deriving from a plethora of backgrounds. This all marries to produce a thought provoking film about the state of the world and our future, or what the New York Times describes as "a hot ugly mess".

At its heart, Surviving Progress explores the question poignantly put forward by primatologist Jane Goodall "Arguably, we are the most intelligent creature that's ever walked on planet Earth. So how come, then, that this so intellectual being is destroying its only home?" Further, author Wright suggests we fall into what he calls "progress traps". As he explains, the man who figured out how to kill two mammoths rather than one was a hero, but the man who figured out how to kill a whole herd helped destroy hunting as a way of life. Igniting and expanding the debate of our planetary prognosis, Surviving Progress is a key referential part of the conversation.

The candour from the cast only increases the visual impact of this 'issue doc', with beautiful cinematography reminding us what is truly at stake. ACMI Film Head of Film Programs Richard Sowada describes the film as "powerful cinema that unfolds with great restraint, passionate argument and a sense of scale that is beautiful to watch".

This will be the Australian premiere of this film, fresh from screenings in the United States and the International Film Festival Circuit including Toronto and Hawaii.

The Long Play season of Surviving Progress screens from 1 to 15 July 2012 at ACMI, Federation Square. For further information, please visit:

Praise for Surviving Progress

" ..the film is laced with powerfully thoughtful talking heads assessing the mother of all progress traps -our incipient perfect storm of eco-doom and societal collapse." - The Georgia Straight

"This visually impressive Canadian documentary, rich in expert ideas, is a terrific resource for those who think and really care to know." - Film Journal

"Zippily edited and nicely photographed, Surviving Progress is a fine summary of a hot ugly mess." - New York Times

"Surviving Progress is a devastating documentary. The financial system is more dangerous to humans than nuclear war" - Roger Ebert

Further information

Donna Hillier
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655

Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Contact Us Terms of Use Privacy Site Map   Share and Print   Victorian Government Website