Much Admired: The New Era Artistry of 1 Giant Leap

I’m rolling the tomb lid off this blog to let a little fresh air in, and some new ideas out.  When I started this blog, I didn’t really have a firm grasp on what I wanted the blog to “be”.  In a perfect world, it would be a diary of the copious projects that I was in the middle of undertaking.

In reality, I am like so many other filmmakers from all backgrounds and experiences these days, looking for the next opportunity to get the next project off the ground.  And really, many of us who consider ourselves “Indie Filmmakers” are trying to figure out how to bring our projects to life and paying the bills.

In the meantime, as I continue moving forward toward those projects, I’ll be sharing a number of things that inspire and move me, other creators who fascinate me, and who knows what else.

Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman

Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman

First up is the 1 Giant Leap project. The multi-media project created back in 2001 by musician/filmmakers Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman.  The double-Grammy nominated project started coming to light in the States right about the time I was exploring Brazil in the hopes of getting a similar project of my own off the ground.  I mention this not so much to draw attention to my own adventures, but more to illustrate a level of kinship that I feel with these guys.

The original 1 Giant Leap project consisted of a CD and DVD release which chronicled a six month journey in which they recorded music, filmed talks with writers, teachers and every day people.  The result is a multi-part filmed reflection on the human experience.

Catto (one of the original members of English Trip-Hop band, Faithless) and Bridgeman had the opportunity to create a work in which a diversity of talent such as Faithless band mate Maxi Jazz, Michael Franti, Ram Dass, U. Srinivas, Cosi Fabian, Asha Bhosle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Brian Eno to name just a very few.

But really, it’s best to let the work speak for itself:

“Music to me, is proof of the existence of God.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Now in 2009, 1 Giant Leap has released its long anticipated follow up What About Me? I have yet to hear either the new d0uble CD album, nor see any more than bits and pieces of the new DVD, but both are most definitely in my future.  One very cool little toy that I have been playing with quite a bit on my iPod Touch is the iKlax “re-mixable” version of “How Can I Be A Better Friend to You?” It’s a free app available from iTunes, and is definitely a shiny and fun toy, and the song featuring Maxi Jazz and Jhelisa Anderson is definitely as good as anything on the 2002 album.

That song’s companion chapter “Bombardment” can be seen here:

I have such respect for what these guys have set out to do, and have accomplished. . . This typifies New Era Artistry perfectly.  The work uses music, imagery and ideas to explore themes of culture, spirituality and the human experience in all of its diversity.  It does so not by illustrating our differences, but shining a light on our similarities as a global culture.

As someone who believes firmly that art of all sorts not only can, but will help to launch humanity into its next phase, I believe 1 Giant Leap serves as a model and inspiration for more work like it, and the artists that create it.  It’s also worth pointing out that the music and films do so without an air of “New Age” crunch, and you never feel as if you are being preached to.  This is music at it’s infectious best, and cultural exploration at it’s most inspiring.  I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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