I’m going to do this review in the reverse order I normally do. SlingShot screens once more, Sunday, March 16th, 2:30pm at the San Jose Rep. You’re going to need to see this film. It scored entirely off the review tiara charts. It got an 11. The chances that you WILL see this documentary film at some point in your life is, I feel, very likely. You’re being given an opportunity to see it sooner rather than later though. Thanks to Cinequest I was able to be in the 2nd audience to ever watch this film, a film which took 7 years to complete and was done so this past Wednesday. This film is the first chapter of a greater story that we will all be a part of, whether we choose to or not. I happen to think we want to.
When you’re in the presence of greatness, or introduced to it through the magic of a well-made film, it’s a bit overwhelming. Your mind starts to fire all its synapses at once and if you’re me (which would be weird) you sort of lose all your words (Well all the good ones anyway). When exposed to someone with true intelligence and creativity, selflessness, whimsical childlike curiosity and such a high ethical and moral compass and who is successful in assembling and leading a team of also brilliant people to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, it kind of makes me feel like words are an inadequate way to express ones awe and respect. And, it makes me feel like breeding. Okay, that’s not exactly what I mean. It’s just that these problem solvers, THESE are the people we need, the people who should be passing along their genes. They are the hope of generations to come and more importantly, the hope ensuring THIS generation survives and thrives. Innovation is a turn on, people. There I said it. Problem solving is a ridiculously sexy beast and when it comes to this film where I’m concerned, it might as well be Jason Statham. It’s that exciting. It’s that hot.
While, SlingShot doesn’t glorify a single man, that’s not its point at all, at the center of the film is the genuine, warm, articulate, spirited, determined, very, very, very, very, very smart Dean Kamen. The film follows his journey to solve the world clean water crisis effecting billions of people. It outlines a problem and highlights the possibilities for solution, the achievements already made, and the critical call to action for the next steps we as a species need to take. As with everything one solution leads to the discovery of a new problem, and another and so on and nothing is ever as easy as we think it ought to be. One of the things this film does so well is chronicle the fascinating and frustrating process of getting a technological solution to market and all the pitfalls and phases and different approaches you need to get someone to “bite” as it were. Even with a solution to a HUGE problem being handed to any number of organizations, the execution of mass production and distribution is a challenge we are still coping with globally. (By the way, the entrepreneurs and business savvy folks are going to LOVE this movie on a whole different level).
It’s a beautiful and important film, one that is pivotal to us living better lives. It tells what could easily be a preachy, depressing, angst-ridden, hot mess of a story into one of true hope, encouragement, inspiration and action. It does so with facts, heart, humor and the same innovation that our scientists are using to solve these big world problems.
This film did a lot of things in 90 minutes, but one of my favorite was bridging the gap between Science and Art. Often times Science and Art are described as being at the opposite ends of the mental spectrum. Often there is a perceived wall separating scientists from artists. To me, it’s all just creativity and critical thinking. It’s asking questions and looking at something differently. It’s finding the root of problems, expressing solutions, trying to just sleep at night and unearthing ways to shine a little light on as many people as you can for as long as you are able. At the core of SlingShot we have an individual. A human and his story. But, we also have a human problem, a huge one, one that affects millions of people across our globe and a problem that happens to have a solution in reach.
Seeing this film may change you and you may feel compelled to learn more and even contribute. Through word of mouth, the film can spread, the problem can be communicated and the ENTIRE solution arrived at. This year there seems to be a recurring theme at Cinquest in the vein of “don’t waste time.” For the little or the big, the day-to-day goals and the life long pursuits, the micro ambitions and the reaching for the stars kind of dream-sized accomplishments, the message is act, don’t wait. Life is far, far too short not to be living it. One very easy way is to start HERE. Whether it be educating yourself more completely on the water crisis and the crisis solution, or to donate, or to socially connect and help get the word out about this film you can help insure we are not too late.
In closing, if ever I happen across a Tardis, a DeLorean or a time machine of any kind, in my path, Dean Kamen, you will be my first stop. Have a bag packed.