Sheltered: Underground and Off-the-Grid Farm (Full-Length Documentary)



Man Interviewing For Documentary

Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid is a full-length documentary that chronicles the building of the largest underground and off-the-grid farm on the planet. The rumors are true, I turned the job down four times and on the fifth request from the homeowner, I chose to build the project. The owner told me that if I took the project, it would change my life. It did.

Preparing to Film a Green Building Documentary

On the day that I chose to be the project leader on the Earth Shelter Project Michigan, I got an idea in my head to film the project. I immediately went to Best Buy and asked them how much credit I had on my Best Buy Card and they said $2,000. I spent $1,989 that day on video equipment, including a Sony HD video camera, a large sturdy tri-pod, extra batteries, a bag to hold everything and the extended warranty. My plan was to film every single day of the project without ever knowing that I would be on that project for just under three years.

After the project started, I set up the camera every day. Sometimes to film exact sequences and scenes and other times to just let the camera run for a few hours to capture what we were doing. This project started in 2009, which was still a bit before many other people were uploading videos online for viewing.

That is what I did. I chose Vimeo as the host site for my weekly to bi-weekly videos and had great viewership from all over the world. Those videos are still available on Vimeo.

Putting the Earth Sheltered Documentary Together

As I filmed the process of building the Earth Shelter Project Michigan, and made a weekly video of what I filmed, I started to think about making a documentary. Viewers of the online videos would tell me about being way ahead of the curve in building and that they had never seen anything like what we were building. I would read the comments each week to the crew and it seemed to be a motivator for them as I lead them through the most extreme weather conditions.

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