Writer, director, innovator and public speaker Tiffany Shlain is perhaps best known as the founder of The Webby Awards. Establishing an organization devoted to honoring the “best of the Internet” back in 1996, when CompuServe and AOL were still the major internet players and the majority of Americans had yet to get online, was an optimistic move and Shlain continues to exude optimism. It’s no surprise then that AOL asked her to create a series of films about the future of technology. The resulting series, “The Future Starts Here,” which went live early this morning, explores the role that technology plays in our lives and how it has changed the way we relate to each other.
“These eight episodes are all subjects that I’m super interested in,” Shlain told Indiewire. “I wanted to explore, the past, the present and the future. Everyone is looking so far into the distance, but to me, the future is now and it’s very interesting right now. We need perspective of the past to be able to mindfully look forward.”
All eight episodes went online at the same time and since they’re only 3-6 minutes each, the films can be watched separately or together. “It was interesting creating the eight episodes knowing that someone could watch them all at once,” said Shlain. “I know everyone talks about binge watching, but I like to think of it as feasting.”
Shlain said that a lot of the ideas for the AOL series came out of her feature documentary, “Connected,” which had its world premiere at Sundance, and which explored what the world looks like when everyone is connected. She’s currently working on a film series which involves what she calls “Cloud Filmmaking.” The series, “Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change,” will include 10 short films over the next 4 years made collaboratively from people around the world who shoot videos on their mobile devices. You can read Shlain’s “Cloud Filmmaking Manifesto” here.
Her latest cloud filmmaking project is “The Science of Character,” which will be released this winter (Shlain said she’ll have exciting news to announce soon). You can see a trailer for it here:
The eight films that comprise “The Future Starts Here” are: “Technology Shabbat,” “Motherhood Remixed,” “Tech Etiquette,” “Why We Love Robots,” “Participatory Revolution,” “The Creative Process in 10 Acts,” “Idea Porn” and “A Case for Optimism.” In “Technology Shabbat,” Shlain talks about her family’s practice of unplugging from technology one day a week. You can see the film below and the entire series here.