In 2011, filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, founder of the production company Blacklight Studios, gave a presentation through TEDx about the importance of gratitude to a happy life. The short film has since gone viral, receiving well over 5 million views on YouTube alone and drawing thousands of gracious, thoughtful comments.
Schwartzberg explains that when he started his filmmaking career he had little money, but he had time. He utilized this time to shoot time-lapse videos that would take a month to fill a four-minute film-reel — the largest reel he could afford. The beauty of these films helped launch his career.
While taking incredible close-up videos of flowers opening and the ever-changing nature, he began to notice that he was viewing the world differently.:
“I’ve been shooting time-lapse flowers continuously, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 30 years and to see them move is a dance I never get tired of. Their beauty immerses us with color, taste, touch, and it also provides a third of the food we eat. Beauty and seduction are nature’s tools for survival, because we protect what we fall in love with. It opens our hearts and makes us realize that we are a part of nature and not separate from it. When we see ourselves in nature, it also connects us to every single one of us, because it’s clear that it’s all connected and one.”
Schwarzberg then presented a short film, titled Gratitude Revealed, which opens up with a little girl explaining the importance of imagination. She notes that she understands that the television shows she watches are fun, but they’re not real. “But, when you explore,” the little girl says, “You get more imagination than you already had and when you get more imagination it makes you want to go deeper in so you can get more and see more beautifuler [sic] things. ”
The video then changes narration from the youthful innocence of a child to the voice of a wise old Benedictine monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast. Brother Steindl-Rast reads a freeform poem of his own design titled, “A Good Day,” which urges the listener to take notice of the present and all the good things that each day has to offer. He says:
This day, right now, with its unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again..The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now…Open your eyes. Look at that.Look at the faces of people whom you meet.Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom.Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors.
Gratitude Revealed is a beautiful short film that beams hope and beauty through breathtaking footage taken from around the world. It is the perfect remedy for melancholy and it can touch deep enough to change our entire outlook on a given day.
The success of Gratitude Revealed has inspired Schwartzberg to create a whole series of videos exploring the theme of gratitude. The collection now includes 15 short films which have been viewed over 50 million times. Visit their website to see them all.
Brother Steindl-Rast has also given his own TEDx talk, in which he explains the three things that we can all do to make the world a better place. Take a look below.