Letter from the director Carl-A. Fechner to the Community of ENERGY AUTONOMY


Dear friends of ENERGY AUTONOMY – The 4th Revolution,

it has been well over a year since the last time I approached you in this manner personally. In the meantime, newsletters and film diaries may have informed you regarding the progress made on the large cinema documentary film project, which you are supporting.

Today I would like to apprise you directly as to where the project stands, what has been accomplished and how we will proceed.

Owing to the miscellaneous support of our sponsors and supporters and due to the unexpected getting in of an investor from the renewable energies sector in the summer of last year, the doors were immediately opened to realise the project we had been developing since 2006. Although there was – and is to this day – a financing gap of €130,000, we did not want to hand over the reins. And that was, in fact, the right approach.

Indeed, the undertaking was ambitious even for experienced documentary filmmakers: With a newly developed cinematic camera – Slumdog Millionaire was filmed in India a short while before with the same model – a crew of only six members started on a five-month filming journey leading them to the Sahel in Mali, the rain forests of Brazil, to the metropolitan jungle of Shanghai and to the rice villages in Bangladesh, among other places. You will enjoy the images of people and projects in the film as they create a visual of the worldwide approach of ENERGY AUTONOMY.

At the end of filming, which took us, among other places, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oslo, Berlin and Andasol, we had 120 hours of film material saved on hard drives and were able to begin the four-week review in February 2009 followed by editing.

In the time since, we have had two informative test screenings in Berlin and Tuttlingen, received the first parts of the film's music from California and presented the film, as is customary, in its rough cut to various interested cinema distributors.

The distributors are the first professional challenge to every film project as they are responsible for the launching of the film. Whether a film plays in a Cineplex or in a low-budget cinema depends mainly on the size and commitment of the distributor.

As you know, it has been our intention from the outset, to introduce the film into popular cinemas and pit it against American blockbusters. As a result, our work had to prove itself from the beginning.

And it paid off: Our distributing partner for the German speaking countries is Delphi Filmverleih from Berlin. Delphi is one of the largest national distributors in Germany making a name for itself for us particularly as the distributor of the Austrian cinema documentary films We feed the World and Let’s make Money. Delphi, whose manager, Claus Boje, is also one of the well-known cinema film producers in Germany, was our preferred partner from the outset. We are very pleased about the collaboration we secured on 24th July 2009.

Delphi will do its utmost to ensure the premiere of ENERGY AUTONOMY – The 4th Revolution at the Berlinale 2010 (11th February –21st February 2010).

That means the regular cinema presentation in Germany is likely to start at the beginning of March 2010.

As soon as we will have a partner for the international distribution of the film as well we will apprise you of the further proceedings regarding the international presentation.

In the meantime I would like to provide you and many thousands of activists interested in the topic of energy autonomy free access to an approximately four-minute trailer, which will present this topic very compellingly as well as provide a stirring introduction to the film. This complexly developed trailer is our gesture to everyone waiting just a little while longer for the cinema feature. It is designed to support your work. You can order it immediately through us, it will be available on 24th August 2009 in the German version and should be available for download in English by 28th August 2009.

You may wonder what is happening in regard to the Kyoto follow up conference in Copenhagen?
In order to have input on the topic of energy autonomy from our end for the media and at the conference, the distributor is requesting a one-time special viewing in Berlin for invited guests and the media shortly before the conference in Copenhagen. The invitees are to be mainly the approximately 100 speakers for the decentralized campaign groups and additional multipliers.

Indeed, we would like to continue in a consistent manner with activating many people within the Community of ENERGY AUTONOMY. The following is our plan for the cinema presentation in Germany – and respectively in foreign countries according to the international premieres:

Around the middle of September 2009, we would like to initiate direct contact with all supporters and sponsors as well as with active members of the Community of ENERGY AUTONOMY and consider options surrounding the implementation of local action groups of ENERGY AUTONOMY. The responsibility of this action group would be to initiate a number of events in and around local cinema presentations in approximately 100 locations in Germany. For example, ensuring that the local premiere includes the mayor, CCI president and respective local trade organizations as well as creating media partnerships with the local press and local channels. In addition, facilitating various events connected to the presentation of the film in local cinemas: for example, Day of Photovoltaic, Day of Solar Heat, etc. Actions just like energy autonomy itself: strictly decentralized, innovative, capturing the essence of local realities and attractively presented to the broader public.

And the goal for Germany? If 5,000 people go to the movies in each of the 100 locations, the film will have 500,000 viewers. If we can collaborate with 200 regional partners, the film will thus enthuse 1 million viewers. The cinema would be a location for political activism with power and flair – and with a sustainable effect.

If you have any suggestions of how we can proceed in this manner in your country please let us know.

You might be pleased to learn about our effort to relaunch the well known website www.energyautonomy.org, to begin Web 2.0 activities and to prepare a multiplier package in which we offer various suggestions for the activities mentioned above. In case you are interested in a sample we will be happy to provide you with one beforehand.

Since 1st July 2009 our campaign team has been immersing itself in this task. Carina Lugert, Maja Tittlbach and Marcus Greineder are already available to discuss feedback.

That is all for now from the “idea and film blacksmith” in the small village of Immendingen at the edge of the Black Forest. Anticipate the film, which has already found overwhelming resonance during the test screenings. And we will continue to tweak it. This is a long journey.

Our gratitude to you, who have made this work and this topic possible, cannot be undermined.


Carl-A. Fechner
Director and Producer

P.S. Yes, there is still a financing gap, which causes us concern. but this is a different issue left to discuss and I did not want to mix it up with the basis of this written communication. If you have any suggestions of how we can close this financing gap once and for all, you will become our singular hero.