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Each month we’ll be webcasting a short film from 2-20 minutes long that relates in some way to Design, Architecture or Sustainability. And I have a feeling we’ll find common ground with art and science as well. In fact, I hope, over time, the films taken together will offer a kind of serendipity that is not always present in the on-line world. The design blog will have a similar spirit of curiosity.

As far as the movies themselves go, the presentation format will be 1) a brief introduction by me on camera, 2) the screening of the film, and then 3) usually some further comments in a kind of afterword.

Why DASFilmFest at all?

First, it started because there are alot of good short movies out there on these topics that don’t see the light of day. No one rents short movies, but people really enjoy the good ones. New technologies invite new ways of seeing them. This can be such a venue. As we build an audience, we’ll be able to make new films too on appropriate topics.

Second, as it evolved, it was clear that despite the mounting environmental challenges mankind faces, and despite the unique appropriateness of the skills of designers and architects for the challenge of sustainability, there was a gap. Could this site, by telling different kinds of stories from different angles, ultimately be a kind of bridge?

Third, we saw that we could give both designers and people-who-do-not-think-of-themselves-as-designers a place, even just once a week, for 2-20 minutes of wonder, provocation, reflection, information, fascination, revelation, observation, whimsy, fun, experience, or, best of all, some combination of all of those things. Could this in a small way make us better citizens of the world?

Last, we want to encourage a re-connection with design in the broadest sense.

What’s the big deal about Design?

Basically, until the world is perfect, we will always need design.

But, unfortunately, these days, especially in the media, when people say “design,” they mean “style.” Now, there is nothing wrong with style, but it may not be the most valuable thing Design has to offer. Design in its deepest sense is not style for its own sake. It is process for solving problems. In fact, it is a way of thinking available to all and it is a process that actually requires a certain element of surrender to fully succeed. One hope with this site is to make some small advance in the cause of helping people see design as a life skill, not simply a professional skill.

Why architecture?

Separating architecture and design is like distinguishing between an ocean and the water that’s in it – you can probably do it, but you’d be better off swimming.

Why sustainability?

Because today, on the whole, considering “green” issues is discretionary. But, I believe that in 10 years, sustainability concerns will be a factor in design decisions in exactly the same way as price, size and liability are now. Think about it: if you hire an architect to design a new house, they will understand you when you say it is too expensive; they will understand you when you say a 40×50 foundation cannot fit in a 30×25 lot; and they will understand you if you say that a masonry cornice might fall off in an earthquake; but if you say it simply has to have a greywater system, you might get it, but you will be challenged. It is not always going to be that way.

Sounds serious. Is this going to be boring?


What films?

At first, quite frankly, it is going to be mostly my films as we get underway. I’ve done quite a few and am quite excited by this new outlet. We’ll also do new films especially for DASFilmFest, including interviews that convey useful ideas. But the bigger plan is to share films from around the world by other contemporary filmmakers as well as revisit classics of filmmaking. Furthermore, I hope we’ll be able to excerpt key ideas from important documentaries. Whatever it is, every week, you’ll have something cool to look at and share.

This will only work with your help. So tell your friends and support our sponsors. We look forward to hearing what you think.