An award-winning filmmaker explores the connections between who we are and our relationship to the eco-world around us
In his powerful new film, Rooted in Peace, director and award-winning filmmaker Greg Reitman tackles the meaning of peace, by shining his lens on our nation at war: with our environment, and with ourselves.
In case you think you can tear yourself away from the message of this film, Reitman features compelling luminaries like Deepak Chopra, Donovan, David Lynch, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Ted Turner and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to make sure that you can’t. Launching in 20 cities around the country on International Day of Peace, September 21, Rooted in Peace will keep you riveted.
OSM: How did you start making documentary films?
GR: In 1995, I was hiking in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and I came upon lush waterfalls and stunning cascades. It was here, under the most spectacular Blue Mountains waterfall, that I envisioned the idea of creating a production company called Blue Water Entertainment. Though my purpose was undefined, I was highly inspired to learn the craft of filmmaking. I returned stateside to continue my master’s in film and television at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA. For the next two years, I immersed myself in mastering storytelling, animation, lighting, writing, producing, directing, marketing and distribution.
What motivates you in your work?
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and working in corporate America for 15 years, I redefined my aspirations to become a successful producer, writer and director. My time in the corporate world provided my desire and commitment to produce content with a purpose; intentional, transformative social-impact films that have become my company’s motto. For me, there’s nothing more fulfilling than creating social-impact films and observing the overall impact on a civil society.
My motivation is fueled from prior screenings where I learn firsthand that someone’s life has fully transformed. Receiving countless emails from individuals telling me they have a new perspective on organic, locally grown food or have changed their diets or even integrated a meditation practice, are inspirational. Some tell stories of how they wake up in the morning inspired by nature and hike. Or, in the context of family or personal relationships, have begun healthier dialogue with loved ones. To be able to help heal or transform a life brings me great enjoyment and motivation.
What inspired you to make this film?
The inspiration for Rooted in Peace came from a deep desire to change the world around me. 9/11 had a tremendous impact on me, my family and my country. It reminded me of living in a ‘fear state” during the first Gulf War when I lived in Israel. No one trusted anyone. Local Israeli security teams would constantly be patting civilians down or probing into women’s pocket before entering local coffee shops.
The same “fear state” has now permeated America, though on a much grander scale. Racial profiling and the Bush doctrine allowed fear and government to infiltrate our democratic nation.
For me, it was time to tell the story of Rooted in Peace, so society could learn from history and not fall into the same mousetrap as the current Middle Eastern crisis. I am convinced that world peace is something worth pursuing to the end.
What's wellness got to do with it?
The journey of Rooted in Peace begins from within. A healthy mind, a healthy heart and a healthy body equal a healthy planet. As Dr. Mark Hyman says so eloquently, “You vote three times a day with our forks: You vote for your health, you vote for the environment, and you vote for what's happening globally in our world. What most people don't get is that sustainability of their health is connected to the sustainability of the planet. You damage your health, you're damaging the planet.”
The film’s journey of Rooted in Peace reconfirms the interconnectedness of our humanity from the inside to the outside. It’s all about wellness.