We are living in a time that has been described as the age of loneliness. But how have we become so disconnected?  And what can we do to change the status quo and fulfill our potential for health and well-being?

[NOTE: Due to copyrights, the full film will be removed on November 29.]

Director’s Statement

By Tamer Soliman

Before making this film, I had been aware of the concept of community wellbeing, but I never really thought too much about it, and I definitely didn’t think it was a key factor in achieving optimal health. Working as a health and wellness professional for over a decade, I advised my clients that health was defined by two things: what we ate and how much we exercised.

But all of that changed after a trip to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Rob, my good friend and Director of Photography, and I stayed a few nights in a small mountain camp, outfitted with just the basics for simple village life. The purpose of the trip was to learn from the local population about food, nutrition and sustainable living, but what really overwhelmed us was the profound sense of community. Despite lacking (many possessions and material things), the people of this village seemed happy, healthy and connected to one another. This made me wonder – how do people in North America feel about their sense of community and connectedness? And what, if any, effect does this have on our health and overall wellbeing?

These questions inspired me to direct and produce The Great Disconnect. As I met with experts in economic, social and urban design, I discovered how multifaceted this idea of community wellbeing is, and the ill effects that happen as a result of community breakdown. These issues not only impact personal health and wellbeing but the health and wellbeing of communities on a much larger scale. Loneliness and social isolation are being labeled as epidemics - epidemics that may become one of society’s biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Making this film has changed my definition of what it really means to be healthy - physically, emotionally, and socially.  My hope is that by watching this film people will reflect on the idea that to be well, we need to find ways to come together. The health of society as a whole depends on it.


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