I’ve been a proponent of the Open Government philosophy for a number of years. Democracy and accountability need to go hand-in-hand. We, the people, elect our government. Our government is then held accountable to us. It began formally with freedom of the press legislation in Sweden in 1766, something most of us in western democracies take for granted, yet is being threatened by closed-door governments like Stephen Harper’s.
Open is the world’s first short film about Open Government, Open Data and Open Source (excluding documentary and editorial films). When my good friend Richard Pietro invited me to join the project, I was happy to share in the journey. First, he asked me to help as script supervisor – work with him to finalize the script and on shooting day, help coach the actors with their lines. Sure, I’d done similar work before on small projects.
From there, I joined in the casting process, the choice of locations, props, storyboarding, shot lists, and all. While Richard continued to make the phone calls and do the leg-work in coordinating things, it became clear that my creative input was touching every aspect of the film. He upgraded my title to Producer as we headed into the film shoot.
Now, this was my and Richard’s first time producing a film project like this. We’d both tinkered with video in our own ways, but not to this degree. With the support of Make Web Not War, I think I can safely speak for us when I say we’re amazed with what we produced as a team. Everyone involved did their best to make this film as good as it could be, given our constraints.
The film has been live since Monday, and I’ve been amazed watching it spread around the Twitter-sphere and the world.
— Open Knowledge DK (@okfnDK) September 29, 2015
We don’t expect that you’ll finish watching the film and suddenly get it – Whoah! – like “Old School”.
Rather, we hope that it will inspire curiosity to learn more about the philosophy of the Open movement as it applies to #OpenGov, #OpenData and #OpenSource. After all, big-G Government is a made by us and for us. It is fluid and ever-evolving, and that evolution should be open and collaborative.
Please enjoy the film, and share it with your friends.
You’ve watched it? Good. You’ll notice there’s a gag inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That was an honest mistake – it was a 16-hour day and we forgot to capture a panning shot of the room. It would have been a challenging shot, to be honest. As Richard and I learned through this project, lighting a film is not simple. At. All. We discussed it, and decided to take our lumps, roll with the punches and inject some humour. We can’t be afraid of our mistakes, right? We learn and move on.
I hope the gag didn’t distract you from the story of Old School and New School – we kept it as short as we could. I also think by not showing you our version of the Open Workplace, your mind will remain open to every possibility.
Be sure to watch the credits at the end. A lot of amazing people were involved, and the music is good too!