Shaping Our Future:
Redefining the ‘Good Life’ and Creating ‘The Millennial Dream’

A little over a year ago, I was having a conversation about ‘brain drain’ with three change-makers in my community. We were debating what could reverse the brain drain of young people from smaller cities, towns and rural regions. Could we find out what other non-metropolitan regions are doing to keep their brightest talents in their hometowns to help their communities grow and thrive? We also questioned what an attractive and livable community looks like in the 21st century, in the age of connectivity, globalization and social enlightenment.

As a filmmaker who has been focusing on producing films that follow social movements, this conversation excited me and my team at Hemmings House Pictures to produce a social impact film campaign that explores the ‘new worldview’ of the connected economy. This worldview has evolved from what we knew as the “American Dream” in the last century, to a more socially conscious, community-minded worldview that we have been calling The Millennial Dream:

The Millennial Dream is now complete and available on Amazon and iTunes. I would like to share some of the insights and raw footage we gathering while making the film – I see this content being timely and relevant to the Sustainable Brands community, particularly with its theme this year of “Redefining the Good Life.”

We filmed in Boston, Lowell, and Lawrence, Massachusetts; Hubli, India; Atlantic Canada; New York City; Toronto and Montreal to gain perspective of what is at the heart of the Millennial Dream. Much of this footage didn’t make the final cut for the film, but it is all valuable in helping us continue the dialogue of how we, as owners of companies and leaders of communities, can transition into the new economy.

As a team of storytellers and change-makers, The Millennial Dream is a very special project for Hemmings House. We have decided to build a globally relevant film production company in a faraway, beautiful place in the Maritimes called Saint John, New Brunswick. Our city is not unlike so many other small cities and rural areas that are struggling economically, despite the energy and tenacity of its citizens. If we can start a conversation that inspires our region to actively become a ‘Millennial Dream’ place to live, then I feel our efforts have been well worth it.

The question this project is asking is universal despite its regional context: “If [insert your town here] became a Millennial Dream place to live (by promoting and supporting entrepreneurs; innovators; social ventures; triple-bottom-line corporations; arts and culture; new innovations and technologies; digital society; STEM education; livable, breathable communities, etc), could we not only stop brain drain, but attract young talent from all over the world to live, work and play here?

As we approach Sustainable Brands’ next global gathering – in Detroit – this year, let’s think about how our companies, institutions and communities can help ‘redefine the good life’ and help create the new dream. A dream that is based on universal prosperity, sustainability and inclusion. What values will replace the American Dream? Let’s find out.

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