As play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith wrote, ”The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.” And the statistics on depression are astonishing! Over 18 million people in the U.S. alone are suffering from it. The rate of increase of depression in children is over 23%, and in 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death in young people. In the meantime, schools are slashing funds for arts programs and eliminating recesses while adults are working longer hours with shorter vacations than ever before.
Overwork and depression are really just the tip of the ice berg. The cost of chronic play-deprivation also includes an obesity epidemic, increased violence, disparities between rich and poor, lack of innovation and creativity, even our ecological crisis. We stop playing at our peril.
But when we do play, all the research indicates that our health, happiness, intelligence, creativity, adaptability, resilience, our relationships, work, test scores, our sex lives…let’s just say EVERYTHING improves. Why? Because spontaneous, free play goes with the grain of the whole universe.
SERIOUSLY! is a creative documentary about the power of play to generate and restore health and sanity to our world. It reveals how foundational play is to every area of life through stories of…
- A virtually indestructible ball that helps turn refugee camps into temporary playgrounds
- The trickster antics of activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement that help make social change irresistible
- Leaders like Antanas Mockus, the two-term mayor of Bogota, Colombia who reduced traffic fatalities by 50% by hiring mimes
- Video-game players who solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years and could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS.
…among many others. The film also showcases perspectives from psychologists, neuroscientists, cosmologists, biologists, artists, healers, activists, spiritual teachers, clowns, business leaders, a qigong master, a Yoruba priestess, and a talking parrot, making a serious case for the value of play.
Featuring (these are just the playmates we’ve interviewed so far):
- Wavy Gravy – ’60′s icon, clown, ice cream flavor, founder of The Seva Foundation
- Brian Swimme Ph.D – Evolutionary Cosmologist, author The Universe Story
- Caroline Casey – Stand up Coyote, Coyote Network News, the mythological news service
- Luisah Teish – Yoruba Priestess, Storyteller, Author
- John de Graaf Ph.D – Executive Director, Take Back Your Time
- Toni Yancey MD, MPH – Professor ,UCLA School of Public Health
- Mingtong Gu – Medical Qigong Master
- Levana Saxon – Founder, Practicing Freedom
- Gordon Burghardt Ph.D – Comparative Ethologist, Professor of Psychology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, author The Genesis of Animal Play
- Sergio Pellis Ph.D – Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, author The Playful Brain
- Barry Sanders Ph.D – Founding Co-Chair, MA in Critical Theory/Creative Research, Pacific Northwest College of
Art, Pulitzer prize-nominated author of Sudden Glory: Laughter’ subversive history
- Kerrie Lewis Graham, Ph.D – Professor of Biological Anthropology
- Barbara Smuts, Ph.D – Professor of Biopsychology
- Elisabetta Palagi, Ph.D – Professor of Sociobiology
- Marek Spinka, Ph.D – Senior Researcher at Institute of Animal Science in Prague
- Edgard Gouvela Jr. – Director, Play The Call
- Stuart Brown, M.D. – Director, The National Institute for Play
- Fran Mainella, Ph.D. – Director, U.S. Coalition on the Value of Play
- Joe Frost, Ph.D. – Author, Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
- Steven Hoskinson, SEP – Instructor and practitioner, Somatic Experience Training
- Isabel Behncke, Ph.D – Primatologist, TED Fellow
- Beau Lotto, Ph.D – Director, Lotto Labs, neuroscientist studying perception
- Phillip Prager, Ph.D – Art historian, Lecturer at University of Copenhagen
- Christopher Hobbs – Production Designer
- Scott Eberle – Editor The American Journal of Play, Vice President for Play Studies, The Strong – National Museum of Play
- Marc Beckoff, Ph.D – Animal Biolotist, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado
- Shakti Belway, JD – Human Rights Lawyer, Southern Poverty Law Center