A little over a year ago I was having a conversation about ‘brain drain’ with three good friends of mine; David Alston, Karina Leblanc and Marcel Lebrun. We were questioning why it was that Maritime Canadians have experienced the exodus of young talent for so many generations. Could we find out what other non-metropolitan regions like ours are doing to keep their brightest change-makers in their hometowns to help their communities grow and thrive? We also questioned what an attractive and livable community looks like in the 21st century, in the age of connectivity, globalization and social enlightenment.
As a filmmaker who has been focusing on producing films that follow social movements, this conversation excited me to produce a social impact film campaign that explores the ‘new world-view’ of the connected economy. This world-view has evolved from what we knew as the American Dream in the last century, to a more impact-oriented, community-minded world-view that we have been calling the ‘Millennial Dream’.
A few community stakeholders agreed that this story should be explored, not only for the benefit of New Brunswick, but also for all jurisdictions in North America that are struggling with a similar exodus of young people. Between the support of my friends mentioned earlier, along with Kathryn McCain, the University of New Brunswick (Bob Skillen), ACOA and the Pond Deshpande Center, we were able to secure a budget in order to produce this campaign. The Millennial Dream project will include videos, blogs and podcasts, all of which will lead up to the release of the feature documentary film which we hope to release late Fall.
To date we have filmed in Boston, Lowell, and Lawrence Massachusetts, Hubli India, Atlantic Canada, New York City, Toronto and Montreal to gain perspective of what is at the heart of the Millennial Dream. Not all of the research footage that we have filmed in these areas will be used in the final documentary, but we will be releasing select interviews, panels and short films that will help us start a conversation.
The Millennial Dream project is a very special project for Hemmings House as a team of storytellers and change-makers. We have decided to build a globally relevant film production company in the heart of Saint John, New Brunswick. Our city is not unlike so many other small cities and rural areas that are struggling economically, despite the energy and tenacity of its citizens. If we can start a conversation that inspires our region to actively become a ‘Millennial Dream’ place to live, then I feel our efforts have been well worth it.
The question this project is asking is universal despite it’s regional context.
“If New Brunswick became a Millennial Dream place to live (by promoting and supporting entrepreneurs, innovators, social ventures, triple bottom line corporations, arts, culture, innovations, new technologies, digital society, STEAM education and livable, breathable communities) could we not only stop the brain drain, but attract young talent from all over the world to live, work and play here?”
Lets find out.