The Promise, a film about hope and regeneration by Daniel James Baldwin & We Dream Films Impact

Daniel James Baldwin, Filmmaker at We Dream Films, shares his inspiration for the beautiful new film The Promise.

Cast your mind back to October 2020. It was bleak. The first wave of the pandemic was giving way to the second. New variants. No vaccines. Days were drawing in as we approached a strange Christmas and the footsteps of the climate crisis we’re getting louder. For me, it had been a professionally and creatively stifling year, which is why I reacted to a new brief with a burst of energy. The project was for the Bach Choir; a virtual lockdown performance of a piece written by Gabriel Jackson, based on text by playwright and choir-member Laura-Jane Foley that spoke of hope. A concept that raises the question of our own agency and the conditions we create for our collective future.

I work closely with two old friends at We Dream Films. I felt we should do something ambitious and creative to try and inspire people to make a difference in their personal response to the climate crisis. After a month of research and interviews with experts (from climate campaign strategists to market researchers), I settled on the idea of composing a love letter to nature. A story designed to encourage people to notice, fall in love with and care for it. My research helped identify ways to do this while appealing to a broad audience. It also highlighted the need for the film to show action to inspire it in others. In the current climate, many of us feel paralysed by the fear of the imperfect act. Many of us are concerned about being accused of hypocrisy (i.e. “what good is it to wash your clothes at 30 degrees if you still drive a car?”). I came to appreciate that our collective and individual behaviour will always be imperfect in the face of such a complex issue. So, I wrote a story that ends with a simple act, presented as a metaphor for trying ‘something’. Because that is better than doing nothing and in action there is hope.

In June 2021, encouraged by an interview given by Mark Rylance calling for filmmakers to do this very thing, my collaborators and I threw ourselves at a challenging shoot schedule. COVID-related issues had delayed production multiple times. Filming safely with an amateur choir in a church and then with a crew in a wild location in a pandemic was risky and hard. While stunning, a forest is a difficult place to work with half-ton theatre projectors, media-servers, film equipment, cast and crew. We are grateful to everyone who was with us for that week in Puzzlewood. We fought through thunderstorms and made it to the other side: post-production.

It has now been a year and the film is about to see the light of day. It’s a modern fairy-tale for the child in all of us that I hope you identify with and enjoy. But more importantly I hope you are inspired by it to get behind the message. Look around, marvel at the miracle planet we live on, make a promise to do something better and get on with it. Shake off a bad habit. Do something new. Share what you are doing with others. If you need a little bit of help, visit the Count Us In website.

The Promise is a small budget Indie film. There is no distributor on board. It needs your support to find the biggest audience it can. So please share the film far and wide and help it make the difference it was designed to.

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
wedreamfilms.com