Inspire Friday Issue No. 41

The pandemic’s positive impact on nature, how birds make us happier, nature photography awards, and more…

How a footbridge changes lives in Haiti. Sometimes something as simple as a footbridge can change lives forever.  In this behind-the-scenes video, we travel to Haiti where the MFF production team is filming a sequence with Avery Bang, a civil engineer with Bridges for Prosperity.  Avery builds bridges to give Haitian villagers safe passage across dangerous rivers so they can go to school and get medical treatment. This inspiring story is featured in Dream Big: Engineering Our World (streaming here), a joyful look at the human side of engineering. Watch here.

The pandemic’s positive impact on nature. In the new Apple+ documentary The Year Earth Changed, BBC filmmakers offer uplifting stories on the positive effects 2020’s global lockdown had on the environment. Narrated by David Attenborough, this one-hour special serves as an unintentional study of human impact on nature and illustrates how we as humans can continue these positive trends once the world opens up again. Watch trailer here.

Nature photography award winners announced. What we love about the World Nature Photography Awards is the chance to travel the world through spectacular images.  This year’s winners do not disappoint.  Take a look and appreciate the impressive efforts these photographers made to give us a new perspective on the world. Read more.

Our avian friends make us happier. A recent study in Germany revealed that those who experience different bird species in their daily lives are generally happier than those who don’t. Now that spring is upon us, it may be the perfect time to hit the trails and listen to the calming sounds of our tiny friends. Read more.

Climate change news you can celebrate. As Earth Week comes to a close, we’re reminded how much work is left to do to combat climate change but also how many exciting sustainability developments are happening all over the globe. Like the world’s first solar-powered public transportation system in the city of Adelaide, Las Vegas’ commitment to remove 8 square miles of water-sucking ornamental lawns, and “decarbonized travel itineraries” in Asia. Every step counts so let’s recognize some amazing wins for the climate. Read more.


Every week, MFF president Shaun MacGillivray shares what is inspiring him now, his favorite book recommendations, podcasts, articles, short films, docs, quotes, trends, innovative companies, people, and entrepreneurial stories.

Remembering an American Legend. “I have been watching Hemingway, the new Ken Burns film on the PBS streaming app. I’ve always loved his writing and Burns and Lynn Novick do a great job of telling his story. The PBS app is very easy to download and use on any smart TV.” Available here.

Find Stocks That Return 100-To-1. “In this practical book of investment tips, 100 Baggers, author Christopher Mayer looks at the patterns behind those elite stocks that went on to return $100 for every dollar invested, and how to find them.  Amazon, Netflix, and Domino’s Pizza are a few more recent companies that have had such returns, to name a few.” Available here.

And for further inspiring reading recommendations…
Visit Shaun’s “Never Stop Learning” reading list.

Searching for Surf in Ecuador. “In 1966, when Jim and I started making films together, one of our first steps was to tell the story of a traveling surfer, Mark Martinson, aged 19, who had an adventure throughout Central and South America, meeting people, surfing, and finding ways to get out of scrapes and live on $6 a day. Here I am filming a scene where Mark meets an Ecuadorian named Eduardo.  Mark agrees to teach Eduardo how to surf in exchange for Eduardo driving Mark around the beaches of Ecuador hunting for better surfing spots. These steps at creating stories through film were the first for Jim and me together, and they helped us hone our storytelling skills. We taught each other how to create drama, build comedy sequences and tell emotional human stories. I was 20 at the time, and Jim was 21. By the time we finished the film, Free and Easy, we had a film that was far better than either of us could have made on our own.” — Greg MacGillivray

Coming soon!
Greg MacGillivray’s memoir, Five Hundred Summer Stories, will be released later this year. A fascinating story chronicling Greg’s journey as an artist, self-made filmmaker, entrepreneur, father and conservationist.
We’ll keep you posted!

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