Davis Huber and Tyler Schiffman, the MPI filmmakers and directors behind the film, have been shooting in Mexico, where they have been documenting the construction of the world’s first 3D printed community. The film follows the social entrepreneurs behind this innovative project and the families set to receive these groundbreaking 3D printed homes. Project Home showcases how this innovation could soon provide disadvantaged individuals around the world with safe, affordable housing, setting their communities on a new trajectory.
Project Home will be both you and Davis’s first collaboration with MPI, and it’s an MPI Original Film. How did you first learn about the innovation of 3D printing homes and further, how did you hear about the small community in Nacajuca, Mexico where they planned to 3D print an entire neighborhood? Roughly three years ago, Davis was introduced to Brett Hagler, one of the co-founders of New Story. Brett told him about their plans to 3D print a community of homes with their construction tech partner, ICON. At the time we were both freshly out of college and wanted to tell stories that would make a true impact on the world, so we immediately dove into the research. We were blown away by their audacious plans for this groundbreaking technology and the potential impact it could have on curbing global homelessness. We knew we had to tell this story but when we started, New Story didn’t know where the community would be built. We followed them from El Salvador to Mexico City until Nacajuca became the finalized destination. Little did we know at the time, but we were about to embark on over a three-year journey that would change our perspectives on the world. We immersed ourselves in the local community and have truly met the most amazing people along the way.
What’s been most rewarding to you, as a filmmaker, so far in this journey of shooting Project Home? As we have followed along on this project and immersed ourselves in the worlds of our characters, we’ve witnessed many highs but we’ve also definitely seen the lows. When the team printed the final layer, tears rolled down the technicians’ faces. Years of hard work had finally paid off, and after being there from start to finish, it was fulfilling knowing that we can share this moment with the world. And, as you’ll see when you watch the film, there has been no shortage of tear-jerking moments throughout the past three years as our characters in Nacajuca await their new home. We are nearing the end but far from finished. Davis and I both know when we finally see the families move in and we can tell their story, it will pull on our hearts and be the most rewarding part of making this film.
The team has been filming throughout the last year and just finished up on location, coordinating final interviews and grabbing final footage. How has the pandemic changed your process, if at all? When the pandemic began, we had to shut down production in Nacajuca for half a year until the border opened again between Mexico and the US. We had to find creative ways over Zoom to conduct interviews with our characters. It was a hard time to continue the doc, but it allowed us time to review the footage we had, develop new perspectives on the story, and come back more prepared than ever to continue production down in Mexico.
What’s the most memorable thing you’d want to share about making this film with MPI? Since the start of our film, MPI has believed in our vision. With such an experienced team behind us, we’ve been provided all the resources we could need. We could not have asked for a better partner and, if we could, we would want to work with MPI for all of our films.
Why do you think it’s important to tell this story now? With over a billion people throughout the world still living without adequate shelter, and with global population levels on the rise, it is imperative that new innovations and promising technologies are highlighted. We feel it’s critical we share these stories with the world so others may be inspired to take action to help solve some of the most challenging issues humanity faces. This technology has the ability to build homes faster than ever and at a fraction of the cost. With a global pandemic spreading around the world and more people feeling the impacts of housing insecurity, there is no more pressing time than now to tell this story.
What do you hope audiences ultimately take away from the film? When audiences go on this visual journey, we hope they can sympathize with our subjects Michaela and Carmen and see their journey as a case study for people throughout the world living in extreme poverty. Beyond that, we hope viewers will relate with their struggles on a human level and foster a more understanding, sympathetic view of the world. We also intend for the film to provide audiences a sense of hope that when people come together for a common goal, anything is possible and the many issues facing the world today are addressable. We hope audiences can see this technology as one of many tools that serve as a viable solution to end global homlessness.
Project Home is on track to premiere at a film festival next year.