Martin Scorsese may be most well known for his gangster films, but the prolific director is no stranger to the non-fiction side of things. He's got a number of documentaries under his directorial belt, most recently George Harrison: Living in the Material World, with even more under his producer's hat. The latest is Surviving Progress, written and directed by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, and instead of focusing on bands or influential filmmakers, it's a sobering examination of how far we've come as a species, and whether our collective accomplishments are forecasting our own limits.
First Run Features have begun rolling the film out on a limited release basis (it's currently playing in New York), and have recently released a trailer for the film, which is based on Ronald Wright's book A Short History of Progress. Here's the official synopsis:
Technological advancement, economic development, population increase - are they signs of a thriving society? Or too much of a good thing? Based on the best-selling book A Short History of Progress, this provocative documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through a sweeping but detailed survey of the major "progress traps" facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption, and the environment.
Featuring powerful arguments from such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Hawking, Craig Venter, Robert Wright, Michael Hudson, and Ronald Wright, this enlightening and visually spectacular film invites us to contemplate the progress traps that destroyed past civilizations and that lie treacherously embedded in our own. Leading critics of Wall Street, cognitive psychologists, and ecologists lay bare the consequences of progress-as-usual as the film travels around the world - from a burgeoning China to the disappearing rainforests of Brazil to a chimp research lab in New Iberia, Louisiana - to construct a shocking overview of the way our global economic system is eating away at our planet's resources and shackling entire populations with poverty.
Providing an honest look at the risks and pitfalls of running 21st Century "software" (our accumulated knowledge) on 50,000-year-old "hardware" (our primate brains), Surviving Progress offers a challenge: to prove making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead end.
Looks pretty fascinating, no? For a list of theaters and expansion dates, check out Surviving Progress' official site.