The Living is a film about human isolation and, specifically, how shifts in the frequency and quality of human interaction might shape the American future. For many of my fellow Gen Y-ers, the notion that we’re traveling down a path of increased human isolation probably seems far-fetched and alarmist, or, at best, a non-issue. After all, we’re children of the Information Age, the first generation born into a world of mass media and wireless technology that allows us to stay in constant contact with both close friends and strangers who live thousands of miles away. Although I recognize and enjoy the technological advances that continue to bring us closer in the virtual sense and satisfy an array of social longings, I’ve also wondered what culture shifts these innovations might encourage in the long run. As I developed the script for The Living, I pondered a host of moral quandaries that might arise in a society where human desire has been reduced at accelerated rates – where the population has normalized the practice of communicating with both strangers and loved ones at mainly a physical distance. Ultimately, I wanted to know how this continuing ethos might inform the way Americans value human life.
The story of The Living reaches 22 years into the future, where we find America in a state of reconstruction following a series of earthquakes that leveled the East Coast and left millions crippled, indigent, or both. I injected this complication because I wanted to imagine how America, the “mightiest nation in the world,” might conduct itself when unexpectedly brought to its knees. In light of the country’s vulnerable position, I wondered whose lives might be privileged in the name and process of nation-(re)building, and which lives might be considered unproductive or expendable. Similarly I asked myself, in a society where interpersonal connection is increasingly indirect and theoretical, what might be the resultant shifts in our collective morality? And how would those shifts inform our decision-making in the face of cataclysmic circumstance? The Living zeros in on a narrative microcosm of these conversations, following two people, from different sides of privilege, as they enter into a complex and emotionally charged dialogue on the value of human life in an America where life has a price tag.
Julian Breece's The Living is currently streaming here.
From our blog
November 8, 2021
ITVS is pleased to welcome Antonia Carew-Watts as our new Vice President of Business Affairs. In her new role, she will lead a team focusing on strategic deals and relationships with the San Francisco nonprofit’s partners and oversee business and legal affairs across ITVS units, brands, multiplatform assets and events. In addition, Carew-Watts will…
November 2, 2021
Belly of the Beast, which premiered on Independent Lens in November 2020, exposes illegal sterilizations and reproductive injustices in California prisons. The film follows Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the age of 24 while incarcerated, as she teams up with human rights lawyer Cynthia Chandler to fight for reproductive…
October 29, 2021
Remembering the life and impact of longtime ITVS Controller Michael Shiro, who died age 59 on October 22, 2021.