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Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid

Published on Written by Adam Bearup , Adam Bearup Posted in Greenbuild
A still from "Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid," the chronicles of an underground, off-the-grid farm

Join me for an hour of excitement and adventure at the Greenbuild Film Festival and view “Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid.”

The earth shelter project, an underground, off-the-grid farm, shown in our documentary, was delayed several months due to a scheduling conflict. I remember getting a phone call on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving in 2009 telling me that the earth shelter kit had arrived and that we needed to begin construction immediately to try to beat the winter weather which was just a month away. Our crews drove several hours from our homes to the project site to start filming and constructing this project that Friday.

What we found when we arrived were piles of steel for the dome-style earth shelter complex that we were about to begin building. The cameras rolled for nearly three years and the incredible footage that was shot on site by one of the nation’s top sustainable green builders became not only an Internet video sensation, but also a documentary that will be airing at the Greenbuild Film Festival.

“Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid” is a chronicling of the adventures of a group of modern day explorers who helped to clear the path for others in not just earth shelter construction, but for anyone who has ever dared to think outside the box.

Filming the building of the largest underground and off-the-grid farm in the world was more for record-keeping than for a documentary. The idea of making the raw footage into a documentary developed as the project started to take shape. I would take the raw footage back home with me each week and upload it onto one of our computers. It was amazing to see what the cameras caught each week. We recognized that it was more than blood, sweat, and tears; it was an amazing journey of a group of people coming together to build the most incredible project of its kind. I made the raw footage that I uploaded each week into videos that I would post online.

Those videos caught fire virally and suddenly the “Earth Shelter Project Michigan” was a household name around the world. People were tuning in each time there was a new video, because the videos showed this amazing, incredibly crazy looking structure going up and the real-life people who were working on it. Each week, we hit roadblocks that made it seem nearly impossible that we could finish this behemoth of a project. “Sheltered: Underground and Off the Grid” was created using the raw footage that we shot onsite during the construction of the earth shelter project.

To be part of a project like this is very rewarding. To witness other people watching the videos with their jaws dropped open and saying, “No way,” let’s those of us who worked on the project realize that our work was for something special.

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