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Home (2009)

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Home is a 2009 documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The film is almost entirely composed of aerial shots of various places on Earth. It shows the diversity of life on Earth and how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. The movie was released simultaneously on June 5, 2009 in cinemas across the globe, on DVD, Blu-ray, television, and on YouTube, opening in 181 countries.

The film was financed by PPR, a French multinational holding company specializing in retail shops and luxury brands, as part of their PR strategy

Overview

The documentary chronicles the present day state of the Earth, its climate and how we as the dominant species have long-term repercussions on its future. A theme expressed throughout the documentary is that of linkage—how all organisms and the Earth are linked in a "delicate but crucial" natural balance with each other, and how no organism can be self-sufficient.

The first 15 minutes include footage of the beginning of the natural world, starting with single-celled algae developing at the edges of volcanic springs. By showing algae's essential role in the evolution of photosynthesis, it also explores the innumerable species of plants which all have their origins in this one-celled life form.

In the rest of the first hour of the film, the documentary takes on a more human-oriented focus, showing the agricultural revolution and its impacts, before moving on to talk about the harnessing of oil, leading to fire, industry, cities and inequality gaps like never before. It portrays the current predicament regarding cattle ranches, deforestation, food and water shortages, the use of non-renewable "fossil water", the over-quarrying crisis and the shortage of energy, namely electricity. Cities such as New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Shenzhen, Mumbai, Tokyo and Dubai are used as examples of the mismanagement and wastage of energy, water and food. The recession of marshlands and glaciers are shown in vast aerial shots of Antarctica, The North Pole and Africa, while mass emigration and refugee counts are shown currently and forecast in the event that these events remains unchanged.

It is at this point that the film begins to focus on global warming and the carbon crisis. Home shows how melting glaciers, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns are ravaging the people who have least to do with climate change, but also how it soon will affect rich populous areas.

Here, about three minutes of film is given to displaying harsh facts in large white text on a black background followed by a video representation of the fact. This is followed by a positive conclusion. The documentary claims to show the "awful truths" regarding our impact on the Earth, but also what we are now doing to combat and reverse it: including renewable energy, the creation of more and more national parks, international co-operation between various nations on environmental issues and the extra education and reform being had across the globe in response to the current problems facing the earth.
[edit] Production
File:Cineflex cam.jpg
A Cineflex camera used in the filming of Home

Home was filmed in various stages due to the expanse of the areas portrayed. Taking over eighteen months to complete, director Yann Arthus-Bertrand and a camera man, a camera engineer and a pilot flew in a small helicopter through various regions in over fifty countries. The filming was done using high-definition "Cineflex" cameras which were suspended from a gyro-stabilized sphere from rails on the base of the helicopter. These cameras, originally manufactured for army firing equipment, reduce vibrations helping to capture smooth images, which appear as if they had been filmed from crane arms or dollies. After almost every flight, recordings were immediately checked to ensure they were usable. After filming was complete, Besson and his crew had over 488 hours of footage to edit.

Distribution and promotion
Director Yann Arthus-Bertrand (left) and Co-Producer Luc Besson at the Home press-conference on March 9, 2009

To promote the documentary online, a YouTube channel known as "HomeProject" was created. Uploaded to this were various short clips of filming which took place in different parts of the world including the Arctic Circle, Africa and the large metropolises featured.

On March 9, 2009, a press-conference was held in Paris, France, where Yann Arthus-Bertrand and various producers talked to the media about the issues raised in the film, as well as confirming that Home would be the first film ever to be simultaneously released in theaters, on television, on DVD and on the Internet in five continents

On May 5, 2009, a second press-conference was held again in Paris, where the same crew members announced that the film's release date would be June 5, 2009, World Environment Day. Here, they also announced that Home would be 100% free for everyone to view, as "The benefits of this film cannot be counted in dollars, but in audience figures." They also revealed that PPR was going to sponsor the film in order to facilitate unavoidable costs.

The film, which was available for free release until June 14, has been broadcast in 14 languages. The Blu-ray edition was released by 20th Century Fox and features both the English and French versions. It is expected to sell in excess of 100,000 copies. When production costs are met, all proceeds sale takings will go to the Good Planet Company.

Although the movie is formally under a Creative Commons license[citation needed], it has no official copyright. Yann Arthus-Bertrand emphasized in a TED talk [10] that the movie has no copyright: "This film have [sic] no copyright. On the fifth of June, the environmental day, everyone can download the movie on Internet. The film is given for free to the distributor for TV and theater to show it the five of June. There is no business on this movie. It is available for schools, cities, NGOs and you." This means the film can be distributed, copied, uploaded, burned to DVD, etc., without restrictions if not altered or edited. ClearBits, an online digital media community, provides a torrent of the 93-minute version in high-definition mp4 format.