The Zeitgeist Film Series is about examining the world we share, the values we hold, the problems we face, along with what we can do to make it better.
As the word “Zeitgeist” implies, we are dealing with the “intellectual, spiritual, cultural awareness of the time” and the goal of this project is to explore what makes us who we are, how we relate, what we are doing and what we should be doing if we wish to live in a peaceful, humane, sustainable and healthy global society.
The Zeitgeist Film Series is also a media project designed for public consumption without the inhibition of most copyright limitations. All films, while technically copyright to combat financial abuse and exploitation, are universally available for duplication, private screenings and digital distribution without the need for permission – just as long as there is no money involved in those actions. Of course, such projects by Peter Joseph are only made possible if people do purchase such media or show support the via Donation, so please understand that support is critically needed to keep future projects going. This work is difficult enough to maintain with the free distribution model and the inherent loss of revenue because of it.
As far as history, the premise of “Zeitgeist: The Movie” is not what many assume. The original Zeitgeist was not a film, but a performance piece, which consisted of a vaudevillian style multi-media event using recorded music, live instruments and video. [The only known (camera phone) recording is posted here.] The event was given over a 6-night period in New York City and then, without any interest to professionally release or produce the work, was “tossed” up on the Internet arbitrarily. The work was never designed as a film or even a documentary in a traditional sense – it was designed as a creative, provoking, emotionally driven expression, full of artistic extremity and heavily stylized gestures. (For more about the evolution of “Zeitgeist, The Movie” please see the Q & A at http://www.zeitgeistthefilm.com )
However, once online, an unexpected flood of interest began to generate. Within 6 months over 50 Million views were recorded on Google Video counters (before they were reset for some reason). Suddenly “Zeitgeist” the event, became “Zeitgeist: The Movie”.The current combined estimates put the number of Internet views at over 300 million as of 2013.
In turn, the decision was made to make a follow up in 2008 entitled “Zeitgeist: Addendum”. (www.zeitgeistaddendum.com) Originally this was going to conclude the Series, introducing ideas of resolve for some of our ongoing social problems. Yet, this work succeeded in sparking a mass shift of attention, inspiring the development of an activist organization now called The Zeitgeist Movement. This Movement, founded by Peter Joseph, now works globally to spread information about a new social reform ideas. However, this is an aside for the Zeitgeist Film Series, while an inspiration for The Movement which shares the term “Zeitgeist”, is not to be confused with the content / views of the films in detail, which are personal to Peter Joseph alone. The Zeitgeist Movement is an economic/sustainability movement at its core and its relationship to the Film Series content is not in tandem.
On January 15, 2011, the third of the series, “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward”, was released independently in over 60 countries and in over 30 languages with over 340 screenings worldwide. Likely the largest independent documentary release of it kind in history. This more traditional, interview based documentary focuses on the very fabric of the social order: Monetary-Market Economics.
While the majority of the world today have slowly come to see some basic flaws in the economic system we share, as large scale debt defaults, inflation, industrial pollution, resource depletion, rising cancer rates and other signposts emerge to bring the concern into the realm of “public health” overall, very few however consider the economic paradigm as a whole as the source. The tendency is to demand reform in one area or another, avoiding the possibility that perhaps the entire system is intrinsically flawed at the foundational level. ZMF presents the case that it is, indeed, the very foundational mechanics of this system that generates the patterns of behavior and unsustainable methods of conduct that are leading to the vast spectrum of detrimental consequences both personal, social, and environmental and the longer they go on, the worse things will become.
In 2011, it was announced that a 4th film of the series would be create in the future, called “Zeitgeist: Beyond The Pale” However, this has been reconsidered due to newer ideas for the project and it was decided that The Zeitgeist Film Series as a form would close as a Trilogy, with Beyond The Pale turning into the beginning of a New Series in the same light, but in a different manner. This is now called Interreflections.
In 2012, Peter also began to host his own free, online, satirical Web series called “Culture In Decline”. This Bimonthly show features interesting personality and comedic commentary which has received critical acclaim.
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