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No Impact Man


Author Colin Beavan and his family were a perfect example of SUV driving, fast food eating New Yorkers who would assuage their guilt with the rest of us at the mall for some good old American retail therapy. Then Colin turned things upside down—he came home and announced that for his next book he would become No Impact Man. For starters that would mean no trash, no electricity, no cars, no toilet paper, no TV, and no buying anything new for an entire year. The hitch was that he wanted his wife and their two-year-old daughter Isabella to join him for this year-long experiment.

NO IMPACT MAN presents an intimate emotional portrait of a couple struggling through a severe and protracted change in their way of life. The filmmakers document what happens to a couple's emotional life when they alter their entire lifestyle over the course of a year. How do they cope with the constant stress and intermittent crises of such a rigorous way of living? Or, perhaps, when life is pared down, do some things become unexpectedly better and even easier?


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The Filmmakers

Justin Schein Director/ Cinematographer

Justin Schein is a documentary film director and cinematographer who has shot over 60 films internationally for broadcasters including HBO, National Geographic, The BBC, The Discovery Channel and PBS. Along side NO IMPACT MAN: THE DOCUMENTARY, Justin is currently in production on several other documentary projects. He is shooting and co-directing UPSIDE-DOWN AND BACKWARDS, a hybrid documentary and animated film about dyslexia with Academy Award winning producer Peggy Stern. He recently finished shooting IMAGINING PEACE, where he and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Lisa Gossels spent 5 years documenting the lives of six Israeli and Palestinian teenaged girls. He also served as co-director of photography with Albert Maysles last summer on THE FOUR SEASONS, a film about a group of Holocaust survivor's final year together in the Catskills. Justin received his Masters in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University and went on to found Shadowbox Films with fellow graduate David Mehlman in 1998. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, filmmaker Eden Wurmfeld, and their son Micah.

Laura Gabbert Director/Producer

Laura Gabbert produced and directed the documentary, THE HEALERS OF 400 PARNASSUS while in graduate school at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. HEALERS aired on PBS, was distributed worldwide by Films Transit and won a 1997 National Educational Media Silver Apple Award. Laura associate produced the ITVS feature TARANTELLA starring Mira Sorvino. Gabbert produced the critically acclaimed Sundance Competition feature GETTING TO KNOW YOU, which had its European premiere as the opening night film for critic's week at the Venice Film Festival.

Most recently she directed and produced the critically acclaimed feature length documentary SUNSET STORY, which premiered at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival (Special Jury Prize) and won the Audience Award at the 2003 IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival. SUNSET STORY opened theatrically in 2005 and aired nationally on PBS in March 2005. She is currently co-writing and producing the film adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel Starr Bright Will Be With You Soon. Laura earned her MFA from UCLA's School of Film, Theater and Television and was honored with the 2004 UCLA Producers Program Distinguished Alumni Award.

Eden Wurmfeld Producer

Wurmfeld began her producing career in 1994 on her brother's experimental feature FANCI'S PERSUASION. Since then she has worked with Doug Liman on SWINGERS, SEE JANE RUN, and others. She produced the award-winning indie feature KISSING JESSICA STEIN, which was acquired by Fox Searchlight to hit success at the box office.

In 2006 Eden produced Gideon Raff's feature debut, THE KILLING FLOOR, followed by Adam Carolla's big-screen debut, THE HAMMER, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and will be distributed by The Weinstein Company.

Wurmfeld co-authored The IFP/Los Angeles Independent Filmmaker's Manual (Focal Press), a 'cookbook' on indie filmmaking, which is used in film studies courses across the country. The second edition is currently in bookstores. Wurmfeld earned her MFA from UCLA's Film School from which she received an alumni award last year. She was named one of Variety's "10 Producers to Watch for 2002" and she was a finalist for the 2003 Indie Spirit Motorola Producers Award.


December 31, 1969

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Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival 2009

Official Selection

Silverdocs Film Festival 2009

Official Selection


Proof that "eco" and "entertainment" aren't mutually exclusive, NO IMPACT MAN may be a socially progressive, environmentally conscious film, but it goes down far easier than, say, an all-natural, fiber-enriched peanut butter sandwich without a glass of soy milk.”


With subject matter this interesting it becomes difficult to critique the film and not the people being filmed. That being said, Gabbert and Schein have done an impressive job at documenting the No Impact project.”

-Film Threat

You'll appreciate and enjoy the Beavans' struggles from the cloth diapers to the traditional refrigerator that wasn't meant to be, and, perhaps, be moved to embrace similar changes. That's an impact Beavan would be happy to leave.”

-Creative Threat

Walking out of directors Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's terrifically entertaining new documentary, NO IMPACT MAN, which followed writer Colin Beavan and his family as they sought to transform their lives into ones that would have no harmful ecological impact on the world, I felt energized -- if we all just did a little, imagine...”

-LA Times Blog


The multi-tiered outreach plan for this film, called the No Impact Project, has employed a wide variety of strategies to inspire action. In partnership with nonprofit environmental organizations and media outlets, the team has taken advantage of the significant press attention the film has received and used it to generate wide participation in the campaign, with the web as the driver for outreach activities. They have created a five lesson curriculum plan for high school teachers, available for free on their website. They have facilitated hundreds of community screenings, including 65 “Holiday Spectacular” screenings that took place all over the world.

One of the most creative elements of the campaign has been No Impact Week, for which The Huffington Post was the original partner. Readers of the Huff Post and others were encouraged to participate in their own personal No Impact Week, where they had the opportunity to examine and reduce their own ecological footprint by taking part in an intense period of conscious consumption. They were offered a detailed guide on how to do it, along with a platform to share their experiences through blog and video posts. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with thousands participating. The No Impact Week was such a success, it’s become an ongoing feature on the No Impact Project website, where people from all over the world continue to share their thoughts and experiences.

Outreach Resources

The No Impact Project

The No Impact Project is an international, environmental, nonprofit project, founded in the spring of 2009. It was inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog. The No Impact Project uses entertainment, education and group action to engage new people in the quest for ways of living that connect individual happiness with service to community and habitat.


Redraw the Line

Our goal is to mobilize a ‘critical mass’ of people, communities and cities to take up positive actions that address the main drivers, and impacts, of climate change. As part of the campaign, we will highlight women and youth as leaders and the first line of defense in the battle to contain climate impacts.


The Media Alliance

The Asia-Pacific Media Alliance for Social Awareness (‘The Media Alliance’) is a media and advertising industry led initiative for building public awareness on social development issues and achieving behaviour change.


Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system.  We reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.  We inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices and market forces so that they ensure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.


The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club works to explore, enjoy, and protect wild places, practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources, and educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.


What's Your Tree

What’s your tree is building an international movement of people who are meaningfully engaged in social change projects. Through a series of small group meetings, individuals create a life with purpose and meet people who share their vision of a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable future.


Center for a New American Dream

New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice.