Documentary on the first French Earthship

The dream to life independent, off-grid and even grow its own food can become possible by building an Earthship as the French documentary La Maison Magique by Dyssia Hayat is going to show. Produced by Laurence Lafiteau, Roméo Cirone and Kevin Hamon from Paris-based Sertis Production, the ambitious project implemented the best practices of an environmental friendly film production. The crew generated hardly any carbon emissions for transportation or accommodation since the team stayed in the tent camp during the four weeks of shooting the building of this smart house.


Inspired by the innovative American innovator Michael Reynolds, the house was build with recycled materials such as tires, glass bottles and cans. By following smart architecture principles, the self-sufficient house is heated in the winer, cooled in summer and comes with a greenhouse where fruits and vegetables can be grown all year long. The electric energy can be generated by solar panels or wind turbines.


Since 1979 when Reynolds built the first Earthship in Taos, New Mexico, the alternative experiment has been successfully proved and inspired an entire movement. More than 2,000 Earthships were kicked off the ground by people who wanted to break with consumerism. In 2011, the former architect student created an Academy where people from all across the world can learn how to set up a self-sufficient home.


About 40 percent of the construction material consists of waste such as old tires, cans and glass bottles. Thanks to the principle of thermal mass, the Earthship is accumulate heat in winter and coolness in summer. The passive heating and cooling effects are maximized by putting the facade towards sounth while the north facade is locate underground so that the heat won’t be lost. Solar panels and wind turbines provide the Earthship with renewable energy so that it can stay off grid.


For a French couple that has been living in Los Angeles for a few years, the visit of the Earthships in New Mexico has a deep impact. They decided to build the first Earthship in France and settled in the village of Biras which is located about 150 kilometers northeast from Bordeaux. About hundred people from all across the world came to Dordogne region where they were trained by the Earthship Academy for the work on the construction site.



In summer 2017, French filmmaker Dyssia Hayat and the film graduate Benoit Prigent were shooting the development of the first French Earthship for four weeks. The director decided to tell the emergence of the “Magic House” through the eyes of the little daughter of the French family. Vincent Valluet edited the teaser with Guillaume Meurice, wile Nicolas Gazeau did the editing of the trailer which is used to collect financing of the film project at the crowd funding platform Kiss Kiss Bank Ban.


It is still possible to invest €5 or more in the green film project so that the financing can be completed . “We are an eco-responsible film production and we do this project with respect for the environment”, underlines the producer Laurence Lafiteau. “From carbon evaluation to actions to achieve through the check-list of good practices in the office, we commit ourselves to this virtuous approach for a sustainable film with good gestures on a daily basis on the set and during the whole production!”


Photos:© Diego/Benjamin Adler/Earthship Biotecture

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