In Progress: The Greener Grass

"The grass is always greener on the other side", suggests both our better nature as well as our darker impulses. Inspired by a chain of characters seeking ever-greater horizons, we plunge into a flow of human yearning and aspiration.

6 X 50 min

What is this human desire to want more? Why do we always strive and need? And what does the striving, wanting, needing have to do with the conditions that we live in, our desire to conquer, our capacity for dreaming, creation and invention - or our inevitable death? These questions are the foundation for a project that will culminate in a 6-part TV and web series which daisy-chains the lives of distinct characters into an exploration of human yearning and aspiration.

"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" is a proverb which we rarely consider deeply. But a version of it exists in languages and cultures around the world, speaking to the universality of our impulse.

The proverb makes use of fundamentals of Nature – nourishment, growth and survival. As powerful as those drives are, they can also be destructive. The grass is always greener suggests both our better nature as well as our darker impulses. We are highly social creatures, also susceptible to envy, greed, or blindness to what we already have.

The series mechanism of The Greener Grass is simple – a daisy-chain. Each episode will explore the particular world and characteristics of two intriguing individuals. During each portrait we will ask the subjects, “What other life would you like to live?” Or, “Where would you like to be?” Or, “What does the grass is always greener suggest to you?”

If they say an African hunter gatherer living in a society without violence, an astrophysicist exploring interstellar space, a Buddhist monk meditating in a mountain cave, even a member of the opposite sex, or in the case of Peter Mettler’s 90 year-old mother, a California surfer, we will travel to visit that surfer or monk, explore their life, and ask them the same questions. As the chain grows, an associative network evoking the human condition emerges.

Now in development, we are establishing themes, teams, strategies and possible trajectories. The series production will be strategized but not scripted. It will be shot in cinema verité style, catching people’s lives as they unfold, graced with insightful observation and deft, poetic qualities.

It is our goal that this daisy-chain of yearning and aspiration, will generate an awareness of human commonality. The question: Is the grass really greener on the other side? will never be far from the viewer’s mind, along with the possibility that while dreams power the human imagination, we also flourish when we open our eyes to the present moment.

  Peter Mettler

Peter Mettler

From the very beginning of his career Peter Mettler has created films deemed impossible to make, yet readily appreciated once they exist. A key figure in the critical wave of 80's Canadian filmmakers, Mettler produces works which elude categorization. Melding intuitive processes with drama, essay, experiment or documentation, his films hold a unique and influential position in creative expression not only in film but also in new art forms where cinema and other disciplines merge.


Additional artistic activities include a wide range of ongoing engagements in music, dance and photography. Over the years Mettler has presented photographic gallery exhibitions in Europe and Canada. More recently he has been experimenting with live sound and image mixing performances with a diversity of musical artists in an extremity of locales ranging from radio theatres to dance clubs and wilderness locations. An interview with Mettler on these activities is included in the 2005 publication “The VJ Book” by Paul Spinrad.


Based both in Switzerland and Canada, Mettler is a strong supporter of independent creativity, having collaborated with numerous filmmakers, artists and musicians such as Werner Penzel, Michael Ondaatje, Atom Egoyan, Peter Weber, Fred Frith, Jim O'Rourke, Tom Kuo, Alexandra Rockingham Gill, Robert Lepage, Andreas Züst, Bruce McDonald, Patricia Rozema, Andrea Nann, Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and many others.


He is active in the development of community networks which foster and share the growth of innovative creative forms and new means of production and distribution which will allow the independent artist to reach his or her particular audience while lightening the financial and ideological pressures of the commercial market.


A book on his work entitled Making the Invisible Visible was published in 1995 and another entitled Of This Place and Elsewhere: The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler by Jerry White was published in 2006 as a retrospective film and photography edition by the Toronto International Film Festival.


Meditations on our world, rooted in personal experience, his works reflect the visions and wonder of their characters and audiences alike. Mettler’s films have garnered many prizes and been the focus of several retrospectives internationally.

  Stephanie Barbey

Stephanie Barbey

Après sa formation de réalisation aux Ateliers Varan de Paris (école du documentariste Jean Rouch), Stéphanie Barbey réalise des films documentaires, dont deux longs métrages cinéma et plusieurs courts métrages TV. Elle rejoint la société de production Intermezzo Films en 2004 avec qui elle collabore sur le choix éditorial, la lecture de dossiers de production, ainsi que le suivi artistique de montages.


Avant de passer à la réalisation de documentaires, Stéphanie a obtenu une licence en Relations Internationales de l'Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales (IUHEI) de Genève, et un master en science politique de la London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Puis elle a travaillé comme rédactrice pour des organisations internationales et non gouvernementales: World Economic Forum (Genève, 1996-1998), Soho Partnership (New York, 1998-2000), World Bank (Washington et Paris, 2000-2002).

 Isabella Salas

Isabella Salas

Born and raised in Mexico City, Isabella moved to Montreal, Canada in 2001.

Curiosity and method in her work developed an organic relationship between storytelling, philantrophy, filmmaking and technology. As one of the 18 National candidates for the New Canadian Media Prodcution Association she earned the  Producer Mentorship Award twice, in 2008 & 2011, where she was alligned with visionary creators to develop grand escale multimedia and multiplatform projects within the entertainment and technology industries: Vice, Cirque du Soleil, Moment Factory, Hexagram research facility  are some of the producing partners.

Currently she is  developing the series Greener Grass with Pater Mettler and developing a 360  immersive live show Human Instrument as Artist in residence for the Labodome at the Societe des Arts et Technologies.

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