Take Back Your Power: Eye-opening documentary sheds light on corporate/government control of energy, dragnet surveillance, and dangers of electromagnetic radiation.
by Alex A. Kecskes
Each year, Indie Fest bestows its Humanitarian Award on a film dedicated to social justice, humanitarian causes or environmental issues. The Humanitarian Award winner for 2013 goes to Josh del Sol and his important documentary, Take Back Your Power.
Through exhaustive research, insightful interviews and scientific documentation, the film exposes the insidious tactics energy utilities and governments are using to deploy potentially harmful smart meters onto homes and schools.
Directed and produced by Josh del Sol, the film addresses a nefarious connection between technology, government and corporatism. It shines a bright light on the ways smart meters can be used to perform in-home surveillance and raise utility charges. It also alerts us to the systemic vulnerability of this technology to hackers, who could shut down electric grids, leaving us literally “powerless.”
Take Back Your Power is at once unsettling and empowering; for it underscores the message of Edmund Burke who noted that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
In this interview, filmmaker Josh del Sol provides some insights into this important subject and reveals the many challenges in bringing Take Back Your Power to the screen.
Q. Why do you think you were selected to receive the Humanitarian Award?
A. Josh del Sol: I think it’s the humanitarian qualities in our viewers that Take Back Your Power appeals to; their desire for a thriving, harmonious life. It encourages them to challenge apparent authoritative organizations, some of which now inflict harm to people and the environment on an unprecedented scale.
Q. How has receiving this award helped you?
A. Josh del Sol: Receiving this award has helped boost Take Back Your Power’s visibility and credibility as an important social awareness film. The award will enable the film to reach more viewers and open doors for greater distribution. The subject matter affects everyone, and the conversation deserves to be squarely in the mainstream.
A. Josh del Sol: In the summer of 2011, after hearing how thousands of people, in California alone, were saying that ‘smart’ utility meters were negatively affecting their health, I was shocked that this wasn’t a central discussion in the media. So I wanted to separate fact from fiction. When a friend in Vancouver informed me that she was experiencing debilitating symptoms after having the meter on her home upgraded, I videotaped my friend and several others who were having health issues from this type of radiation. The project just continued to gain momentum and organically evolved into a feature-length doc, which has so far screened in over one hundred venues worldwide. We thought at first it was going to be a short YouTube video!
Q. Why is this subject important to you?
A. Josh del Sol: It engaged me on a deep level. It affects the basic, fundamental rights of human beings all over the planet. Should we allow technology designed for surveillance to be deployed on us, in our homes, trampling the Fourth Amendment and other laws worldwide? Should untested, unproven technology that produces radiation linked to cancer and other diseases be forced upon people everywhere? Should individual rights take a back seat to the collective, a goal stated by a globalist working group tied in with this agenda? Should energy be an unaffordable privilege, instead of a basic affordable right? And how can corrupt corporatized government systems be held accountable? I feel that these are some of the most profound questions of our time.
Q. How were you able to interview so many people in so many diverse locales?
A. Josh del Sol: I traveled to many regions throughout British Columbia, California and Colorado, with a couple of camera operators. But since we were crowd-funding in stages with a limited shooting budget for travel, about a dozen interviews were Skyped in remotely using offsite crews.
Q. Daryl Bennett did a great job in editing, sound and music. What where you going after in terms of mood, impact, etc.?
A. Josh del Sol: Daryl was my ‘significant other,’ creatively, during post-production. His expertise, support and even prayers made the film possible. We wanted a fast-paced film to hold a viewer’s attention without hitting them over the head so hard they’d go unconscious. The job was to achieve this and streamline an effective film from over one hundred hours of raw footage. We also wanted the film to connect with viewers on a personal, emotional level to overcome cognitive dissonance. It’s this heartfelt emotion that helps viewers out of the denial phase and move toward a solution. Daryl’s original score helped us realize this intention in a massive way.
Q. Who funded the film? Was it difficult getting funding?
A. Josh del Sol: We had help from over five hundred participants worldwide in our crowd-funding campaigns. We still needed significant help from several private investors. I’m working on securing dividends to our investors to thank them for their belief in this project.
Q. What was the most challenging part of making the film?
A. Josh del Sol: The subject matter and its implications. While many said the film took them on a journey, and skeptics noted that it did often transform and expand their perspective, there was resistance to the film. Some were simply not ready to make a perspective shift, others still benefited from the “control” agenda. And that is ok. I felt this resistance as “heavy energy,” a burden that I had to bring to the light of day, as part of a cathartic process, you could say.
Q. What was the most enjoyable part?
A. Josh del Sol: At times, I thought the film would take forever, wondering how the pieces were going to come together. So the most enjoyable aspect of making the film was getting it done, and meeting so many others who also wanted to contribute to a change for the better.
Q. What permits and permissions did you need to get to make the film?
A. Josh del Sol: We worked with an extraordinary law firm in Los Angeles, one of the leaders in the area of film copyright.
Q. What advice would you give other filmmakers interested in making a film like this?
A. Josh del Sol: Do what you can to get funding before shooting. But if you can’t, shoot anyway. Use your intention like a “go-to” tool, and don’t let your message become watered down by anyone.
Q. How has the film impacted the general public, municipalities and energy companies?
A. Josh del Sol: Since the film released in September 2013, a number of municipalities have banned the deployment of ‘smart’ meters in their cities. People even in places like Denmark are sending DVDs of Take Back Your Power to their parliament. We believe every public official needs to see this film, at the very least so they’ll see what they’ll be held individually liable for, if they take the path of least resistance or a pay-off. We still need more elected officials to take a stand. Some energy companies, like Northeast Utilities, are starting to break ranks and actually admit that there’s no rational basis to deploy this technology. But for the most part, it’s still a functional cartel. Aside from attempting a rebuttal in USA Today (after our August coverage) without even having seen the film, the utilities have made a conscious decision to stay silent. They know they can’t win against the facts and evidence we’re unearthing in the film. I say, stay silent, because I couldn’t find a single utility executive to go on camera for our film. Not one. So I had to use third party footage for the several utility executive segments. I made the mistake of putting our first trailer out before the majority of shooting, as part of our crowd-funding campaign. So they saw that we were getting to the core of the issues, and put up walls. Next time maybe I’ll do it incognito.
Q. How can people help this cause?
A. Josh del Sol: One: watch the film. I’ve heard from activists who have been tirelessly pioneering the resistance to this ‘smart’ tyranny that Take Back Your Power is now the most effective tool there is. Two: get active where you live. Send your utility a notice via registered mail, saying that being irradiated and being under surveillance was not part of your service contract with them, which was altered without your consent. Demand a non-transmitting analog meter. Then get this conversation on the table at your city council. Use the resources on our website (www.takebackyourpower.net) called Take Action and Connect, which list hundreds of grassroots organizations around the world who are taking a stand against the ‘smart’ meter agenda. Three: Share the film with others. Anyone can request to host a screening and bring the film to your neighborhood. We also need funding sponsors to help to get subsidized DVDs into the hands of elected officials across the country. So we’re paying people partial credits (via ordering discounts) that can help fund, canvas or facilitate this.
Q. Your passion is evident. Why is this cause unique?
A. This cause is unique because it involves a contract directly between each of us and a company that’s violating our rights. Since this service contract involving each of us is direct, unlike most other profound activist issues, we can greatly influence how it unfolds. With those who have been active in this fight, we are seeing the opportunity to ignite an unprecedented shift in momentum, beyond just the movement to stop this technology. To succeed, we need to get to the core of how the corporate game of contract and tacit acceptance is played. Then, with our full rights intact, directly assert what we, as the people want to have happen. Every stand we take and new solution we develop for protecting our rights will help facilitate a better way.
Q. What’s your next project?
A. Josh del Sol: I’m not sure what direction to go yet in terms of subject matter. Two elements would be required at the outset, a feeling of clear inspiration, and funding.