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Trading the Future

Written, directed & produced by b.h. Yael, 2008

Video length 59:00 min


Premiered at the Mumbai International Film Festival, India

Closing Night Gala, Images Festival, 2008

Trading the Future is a video essay that questions the inevitability of apocalypse and its repercussions on environmental urgencies.  Starting with a personal memory, the fear of the rapture, the video addresses the Christian narrative for the end of times, and draws connections to secular apocalypticism and our ready acceptance of a cataclysmic end.  The video also challenges the philosophical and practical underpinnings of the symbolic of death, the desirability of the growth of the market place, and the politics of apocalypse, while proposing possible alternatives in the idea of natality, the productivity of biodiversity and the agency of everyday activism.

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Decidedly un-heroic, or non-messianic, Trading the Future refuses to reproduce the apocalyptic images that we have been inundated with in media and movies. Instead everyday and contextual images from the locations of travel, cities and the natural world, are combined into experimental and impressionistic montages, integrated with interviews and voice over narration. Twelve chapters create a complex weave of ideas, combining street interviews and dialogues with academics and activists: Grace Jantzen, Valerie Langer, David Noble, Lee Quinby, and Vandana Shiva.

b.h. Yael traveled from Toronto to Patmos Island in Greece (where John wrote the book of Revelation), from Tofino, B.C. to New York, from England to Megiddo in northern Israel.  The question of why we have not done more to allay environmental degradation and the desire to challenge our readings and assumptions of ‘the end of time’ has fueled this quest.

2009 Ecofilms, Rodos International Films & Visual Arts Festival, Greece

Awarded ‘Audience Award’

2008 Rivers Edge International Film Festival, Paducah, Kentucky

Awarded ‘Best Humanitarian Observation’: Media that Matters

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Now Toronto, Apr. 3, 2008

“The closing-night gala, b.h. Yael’s Trading The Future (April 13, 8 pm; Rating: NNN), wraps things up efficiently enough, calmly exploring North America’s unchecked consumption of natural resources through the lens of evangelical end-times theory. Are we not trying hard enough to save the planet, it asks, because Jesus will just show up eventually to rapture us away to heaven?

Considering this continent’s current heads of state and their environmental policies, that’s not a bad question – though it collapses as soon as you acknowledge that plenty of North Americans put no stock whatsoever in the Christian Apocalypse. Yael never gets around to doing that, which is awfully convenient – although, since this is a personal essay rather than a documentary, I guess that’s the artist’s prerogative.”

Lollipops and the Future: Two feature films at Images look to lure...

by Jessica Padykula

Jewish Tribune, Apr. 11, 2008

A short article on B.H. Yael's Trading the Future which ran at the 21st Image Festival. The Israeli born - Toronto based video artist investigates in her new work the relationship between God and environmental issues. The film draws parallels between the religious and the secular regarding issues of death, human comodification and politics. Ultimately, the film questionS how one should and could have a quality relationship with the environment.

Video Essay questions religious apocalypse

by Barbara Shainbaum, Apr. 7, 2008, v. 8, no. 2, p. 1

Two reviews from which take a look at movies (The Lollipop Generation and Trading the Future) that involve the topic of apocalypse. Both films were featured in the 21st annual Images festival and are made by Canadian film makers.

The first part of the article discusses the film, 'The Lollipop Generation' by G.B. Jones and is described as being a "rollercoaster of a road trip" as it follows a young girl running away from home.

The second part of the article reviews B.H. Yael's film, 'Trading the Future' which describes her upbringing, proposes questions regarding a supposed 'rapture' within our society, and how these have shaped the world we live in.

No Where Near the End, or, Notes Towards Trading the Future (2002)

by b.h. Yael. Fuse, Nov. 2002, v. 25, no. 4.


Available in Writing By section.

A meditation by the author, during the course of making a video, on the apocalypse vs. personal death, the apocalypse as political struggle, religion vs. spiritualism.

Apocalypse is inevitable. Through b.h. Yael ‘s work, Trading the Future, apocalypse is a paucity of vision, “it is the possibility that God gives up, rather than a god that values abundant life.” We believe in the end more than other things we believe, maybe it is because everything has its beginning and end, its rise and fall, it is a question of choosing life over death.