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Arthus –Bertrand says “Free distribution doesn’t work” and launches Appeal to World Leaders at MIPCOM











French filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand chose MIPCOM to show excerpts from his latest warning on climate change, an offshoot of his project titled ‘6 Billion Others.”

The umbrella project is a compilation of 5000 interviews shot in 74 countries over four years where ordinary people testify as to what it is to be part of the human race. It was first presented at the Grand Palais in Paris in January 2009.

Using the same technique of direct-to-camera interviews, the filmmaker has shot another 500 interviews where people were able to express their fears about climate change. Their comments will be edited into an hour-long documentary and will be given free to all the world media covering the UN sponsored Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen this coming December.
Arthus-Bertrand says that while “the Summit will generate an enormous amount of scientific proof warning about the dangers of climate catastrophe, the average person still thinks that this impending disaster doesn’t affect their life. We need to convince them that climate change is not something happening in the future in some distant place. It is happening now, and it is happening in their backyards.”

The filmmaker continued, “Everyone’s eyes glaze over when they hear scientists debate if a degree of warming here or a melting glacier there are the results of sunspots or carbon footprints. Most of us are not scientists. We can’t follow these arguments. But we can relate to our fellow humans who look directly into the camera and tell us that the weather has changed enough in their lifetimes to make them lose their farms, their homes, and their livelihoods.”

The excerpt that was screened is the first 15 minutes of this work in progress. It was powerful enough to leave a normally skeptical and jaded group of journalists speechless – it took a full couple minutes for the room to recover and start asking questions.

Arthus-Bertrand spoke about the difficulties he had in reaching a mass audience. His earlier “Home,” an amazing film that he calls “A Hymn to the Planet and Humanity,” had been distributed for free and had still not been broadcast in many countries. Like “6 Billion Others, it can be screened for free on YouTube where it has had over 3 million views.

He explained, “The problem comes from trying to break out of the traditional distribution mold. When you give something away for free, no one is making any money on it. Distributors wouldn’t help us as there was no profit for them, and many broadcasters couldn’t figure out how they should handle the film. Some told me that they felt guilty about selling advertising spots, so to show it without any revenue would represent a big loss to them. They aren’t charities. So we have to find a way to help the broadcasters make money by showing this film. We’re been talking to sponsors who will pay for this free film. We’re still trying to figure our the best way to handle this.”

The Mipcom Opening:

Asked why he had chosen MIPCOM to show his latest project, Athus-
Bertrand responded, “We are looking for new ways to distribute my films. What better place to come than this huge media market? I can meet more international broadcasters and distributors in one day then I could meet in a month of travel. I’m very grateful for France 2 for their support, but my “Home’ experience taught me that I have to talk directly to the global media to find new ways to get my message out. And here is where I’m sure I’ll be finding solutions to this problem.”

When asked why he was distributing the film for free after the problems he’d experienced with ‘Home,' he replied, “This is tied to an event that the world will be watching. If it weren’t for Copenhagen, I would definitely use a different model to distribute it.”

For more information on this and other Arthus-Bertrand projects, go to or contact Christophe Bochnacki at UP Side Television at

By Edward Flaherty


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