The Story of Kate Maloney and a Documentary to Do Something
What will people do when faced with adversity? This is the fundamental question behind Kate Maloney’s documentary film and social venture of the same name, WeRiseUP.
Kate, a longtime entrepreneurial titan in Boulder, believes real change occurs when individuals evolve in their way of thinking: About themselves, about their potential and about their place in the world.
Directed by Michael Shaun Conway, WeRiseUP the documentary doubles down on Kate’s philosophy by hoping to redefine “success” in a way that empowers individuals to see the current state of the world as an opportunity ripe for change.
“WeRiseUP is about opening up dialogue into the great opportunity that we are in right now as a civilization as a planet,” says Kate.
But before WeRiseUP ever made it to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, or was even a documentary, it began as a mindset shared among many during a summit held in November 2015 that Kate organized at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder called Success 3.0.
The summit began with a simple idea: Talking about the world and people’s places in it with some of the brightest minds will inevitably result in something special. The results were conversations worth making an entire film out of.
“It’s such an exciting time to be alive,” says CEO and Founder of Whole Foods Market and WeRiseUP contributor John Mackey. “You can always go into fear. There are many things to be afraid of, but there are so many things to be excited about. We live in this awesome world. We are alive. It’s incredibly beautiful. There are so many things to know, so many things to experience, so much love to be shared.”
Kate adds, “As your consciousness expands, you become aware of so many possibilities, so many potentials, so many reasons, so many opportunities to love and so many opportunities to create. This film is about unleashing that possibility and that entrepreneurial spirit in all of us.”
Throughout the summit, the conversation posited the idea that if the right questions are asked, perhaps the right answers will reveal themselves. Making a documentary centered around asking questions and inviting the audience to inquire into the answers for themselves would be unusual, but it would offer the unique opportunity for viewers to see their potential place in a movement that had found real momentum in the Boulder community.
“For documentaries, usually it’s experts talking about what they’re experts in. Telling you about a problem, how to think about a problem and what you should do about a problem,” says Kate. “In our film, it’s not that at all. We have a lot of people that could be seen as ‘experts,’ but they’re not coming from the perspective of an expert.”
“They’re actually coming from the place of curiosity and inquiry about their own journey and about their grapplings with what is the future of humanity and what do we need to be thinking about.”
Kate adds, “At the most basic level, some of the tools [in the film] are the questions. I know that sounds simplistic, but I think that’s really important: The framework of the questions being embedded inside of a narrative of the film, invites the individual not to be entertained and be taken out of themselves, but to be entertained and taken further within themselves.”
WeRiseUP pushes people to question what they can and will do to make their world—the Earth, their communities, their lives—a better place. WeRiseUP offers the questions, but each individual has to answer for themselves.
“You have to find where you fit, where your uniqueness has something to offer that somebody else might need,” says Evolutionary Philosopher, author, WeRiseUP contributor and Boulder area local Barbara Marx Hubbard. “By carrying this message out into the world, you will be joining a moment; you will be meeting others that can make a difference in your life and in the life of the world.”
The change Kate and the rest of WeRiseUP are after is a mindset, not necessarily a to-do list.
“That’s one of the themes of the film as well: ‘How do we actually work together?’ And how that is the next evolutionary move,” says Kate. “Going from competition into collaboration—including both, they both have their place—but where is it that we can begin to work together in ways that maybe we haven’t in the past?”
An astonishing number of star-studded names from seemingly any number of backgrounds and industries were involved with the summit and film: The Dalai Lama, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Arianna Huffington, Mackey, artist Alanis Morissette, and even actor Ed Begley Jr.
Yet at its core, WeRiseUP The Movie & Movement is about challenging all individuals to make small-scale decisions that eventually lead to something larger. The big names involved were already in a similar mindset, coming together with other participants of the platform to get the message out.
“I think the whole notion of redefining success was enticing. The leverage of that idea was really, really wide,” says Director Michael Shaun Conway. “I think a lot of times when we go to make documentaries to change people’s minds, we start at looking at something that’s wrong—this is something bad in the world, let’s show you what’s wrong, that’ll get you inspired to do something else.
“But I think that leaves people in an overwhelmed state, not feeling like they can do anything about anything.“
“I think the project [pulled us in],” Executive Producer Alex Melnyk adds with a laugh. “Walking away from the summit, and hearing similar themes come out of all those interviews, it was after that when we really felt like there’s a big story to tell here.”
According to Helix CEO and summit participant Dan Richardson, whose technology is built around evolving people’s perception of time and is used in WeRiseUP, changing the world does not first begin with something like a new technology for perceiving time, but a collective decision to first value time as the scarcest of resources.
“Our belief is if we upgrade our sense of time, it will allow us to upgrade our long-term planning and long-term horizons and be able to address something like climate change,” says Dan. “We built Kate a specific model of [the Helix] dimensional view of time to help her tell the story of the evolution of consciousness and how it’s really an extension of life in general.”
Even after the summit, the film and countless questions asked by many of the smartest people and key influencers alive today, everything still points back to the original things Kate has been grappling with: What will people do when faced with adversity? How can we inspire people to change their life in a lasting way that could eventually lead to changing the world? How can We Rise Up together?
Don’t expect Kate to stop trying to find those answers anytime soon.
WeRiseUP will be having a FREE community screening of its culture-shifting documentary film at the Boulder Theater on May 3rd. Reception and live music begin at 6 p.m., screening and doors close at 7 p.m.The film screening will include Director and Producer Q&A, Influencer Panel Discussion, live performances and more. The event will be sponsored by Truth Treatment Systems.
While the event is free, ticket contributions go to support There With Care, a Boulder-based non-profit that provides support for families during the critical phase of a medical crisis. For more information please visit WeRiseUP.com.