A Missouri filmmaker has assembled an eclectic mix of gardeners, natural builders, homesteaders, preppers and farmers who have at least one thing in common – they are not preparing to survive one calamity, but developing self-reliant skills to last a lifetime.
Producer Sophek “Sean” Tounn said the film, “Beyond Off-Grid,” is intended to wake folks up to the precarious nature of society’s modern grid and to motivate all of us to take direct action to reduce our dependency on the modern system.
Citing Hurricane Sandy as an example, Tounn said the contemporary way of living is not conducive to health or longevity. Many people have become too dependent on the government and others to help them outlive a calamity.
“This film is about living in such a way that we’re less dependent on outside entities,” Tounn said.
A 150-page work of fiction, “Henry and the Great Society,” spurred Tounn’s interest in simple, off-grid living about eight years ago. The story illustrates how a family’s happy, self-sufficient life is shattered after connecting to the grid and becoming consumers – unhappy, unhealthy, debt-ridden, overworked and dependent.
Sean filming Darren with the WaterBuck Pump here in May
Never forgetting what he read years earlier, Tounn contacted agrarian author Michael Bunker about the possibility of a documentary that would include aspects of Bunker’s book, “Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind.” Bunker was skeptical at first because he is approached often by producers who are solely looking for new or unusual material. When Bunker realized Tounn was genuinely interested in the lifestyle, he agreed to participate in the project.
Last year, Tounn began traveling the country to videotape specialists in a range of homesteading topics for “Beyond Off-Grid,” a documentary to inspire people to become self-reliant and return to the old paths. The film encompasses five major sections – family, food, history, natural building and water.
“People think of water as an unlimited resource, but they don’t realize how it is controlled by only about 10 major corporations,” Tounn said on a recent Preparedness Radio Network Secrets of a Survivalist program with host Rick Austin, author of the “Secret Garden of Survival.” Austin is featured in the film as an off-grid, permaculture expert, now in his third year of camouflaged forest gardening.
To be truly free, Tounn said, people must live completely independent of the grid – including the water, food and electrical grids.