I AM: Inspirational Documentary Explores Human Connectedness
“What’s wrong with the world?” “What can we do to make it better?” These were the two questions that led Hollywood filmmaker Tom Shadyac on a path to create a film unlike the blockbusters for which he’s known.
I AM (Shady Acres Entertainment) is a documentary about the quest for understanding universal truths. What Shadyac discovered was simple: we are all connected to each other and to everything around us.
This extraordinary film features Shadyac in discussion with philosophers, academics, scientists, and spiritual leaders on the nature of humanity. I AM thoroughly explores this subject, and offers scientific measurements of humanity’s interconnectedness.
The Path for Truth
Experiencing a dramatic life shift following a near death experience, Shadyac found himself in pursuit of universal truths. The filmmaker—who has credits including Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor—lived a prominent and affluent lifestyle, but realized:
[t]he accumulation of material wealth was a neutral phenomenon, neither good or bad, and certainly did not buy happiness.
After failed attempts with traditional, contemporary, and alternative medicines to treat his severe post-concussion syndrome following a cycling accident, Shadyac was resigned to death. He asked himself what mark he wanted to leave on the world. So began his path for truth and the creation of I AM. Coincidentally, as Shadyac began his journey, his life-threatening symptoms miraculously disappeared.
Compelled to discuss the world and the reality in which we live, Shadyac sought out the people who could shed light on ideas for making the world “right.” Interviewing prominent and esteemed thinkers from across many disciplines—including David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu—Shadyac was able to create I AM, a film about changing our global preconceptions about human behavior.
Philosophical & Scientific Truths
I AM is a film that suggests members of our society inflict on others and themselves unhappiness when material wealth is favored over the natural inclination humans have of cooperation and compassion for others. This is not made as a “political” argument, rather an idea backed by scientific and anthropological evidence. For example, Shadyac discusses the belief many ancient and traditional cultures have on materialism: it’s a form of mental illness.
Shadyac made many other realizations during the filming of I AM. For instance, he discovered intelligence comes from the heart, not just the brain. He also came to notice how the physical world can be impacted through human consciousness and emotions, and how nature operates best using cooperation and not competition.
Science is uncovering more and more information about our “humanness.” Examples cited by Shadyac include the release of oxytocin in the body when a person witnesses an act of compassion, or the research done on the mirror nerve and our physical response to “feeling one’s pain.”
I AM a Transformative Film
I AM isn’t as much about what you can do, as who you can be. And from that transformation of being, action will naturally follow.
No longer on the pursuit of material goods, Shadyac has long since released his excess possessions and wealth. In fact, 100% of the profits made through I AM is donated to The Foundation for I AM, a non-profit organization with the purpose of meeting the “physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those impoverished in our society.”
I AM is a film emphasizing the positive aspects of the human race. Drawing on ancient wisdom and lessons from both the natural world and human sciences, Shadyac’s I AM shows viewers how all humans can live better together.
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