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Today is the day that the dream comes true.
At 15, while I was reading Heat and worrying about the colour of my hair, Steve was delving into Buddhist philosophy, cosmic theories and anything he could get his hands on that might help him understand this world we live in.
That enquiry grew into a dream to share the things he read with the rest of the world – to bring those ideas to a wider audience and help us as a planet to better understand ourselves.
The dream was shared with his childhood friend Guy Reid, and together they’d ponder and plot to make films when they grew up. After university, with a new musketeer in tow, videographer and dear friend Christoph Freitas, they formed a company Planetary Collective. The essence of Planetary is to encourage people to look deeper when exploring the big questions that face our planet. They do this through bridging a gap between academics and creatives, bringing crucial ideas to a wider audience.
Today is the day that their dream comes true. The trio’s first short film, Overview, has been released, and tonight will screen at Harvard University.
The film explores a phenomenon called the Overview Effect, which is a life-changing shift in consciousness that astronauts often experience when seeing the planet as a whole from space. It gives them a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life and a renewed sense of responsibility for protecting the environment. The film explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect including one of Steve’s heroes and Apollo astronaut, Edgar Mitchell. There are also interviews with commentators and thinkers on the wider implications of the Overview Effect and our relationship to the environment.
Every time I see the film, I’m blown away by the beauty of it. Not only does it feature incredible footage from space, it also expresses a simple yet profoundly awe-inspiring fact: we live on a shared planet, floating in space, and it’s our responsibility to take care of that home. The first time I saw it I cried.
A beautiful film from beautiful minds
The film’s beauty is testament to the interviewees and the planet itself, but also due to the wonderful minds that made it. If you ever meet Steve, you’ll quickly realise he has a beautiful mind – a splendid blend of compassion, generosity, creativity and intelligence. When that mind is put to work, it comes up with extraordinary creations, always propelled by one central motivation – to help lessen suffering in the world. Guy and Christoph are kindered spirits and together, at Planetary, they are destined to create great things.
But that’s not to say it’s easy. It was around a year ago that Steve went out to meet with Guy and Christoph in Houston to film the interviews. That alone was a brilliant feat of determination and ingenuity, finding ways to fund and organize the project. When Steve returned to our home in London, the editing began – a long and painstaking progress that I was there to witness with tea and snacks on hand. Next came the amazing music, created by some more amazingly talented childhood friends, Max Fyfe and Justin Radford. I saw the love and effort that went into the production of this film, and it’s no surprise that the result is awesome.
Every day I’m proud of Steve, but today is a day to share that. Watch Overview for yourselves and see what happens when dreams come true.
As Guy said yesterday: “If you have a good idea and deep down you know it’s right, (as cheesy as it sounds) you should just do it. Start right now, because somehow the universe helps you out.”
Planetary are currently at work on their first feature-length film Continuum, which will be released next year. It’s sure to be incredible so keep your eyes open for it.