The Story of Stuff (Mariel Rothman)


The Story of Stuff was released in 2007. It is a 20 minute long movie that is stuffed with facts and animation, teaching viewers about over consumption and the importance of recycling. Annie Leonard wrote and narrated the short film and the film is divided into seven different chapters, connecting present day environmental and social issues.

The movie’s animation was made to look very simple and clear. I feel that the message is supposed to play the largest role in the film and the animation is there just for support and to keep the viewer interested. Also, the simple figures allows people from all cultures to relate to the movie’s message and to imagine their “stuff” as the materials discussed in the film. 

The movie was funded by the Tides Foundations, Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, Free Range Studios, and a few other foundations.

The film’s website,, explains more about the movie and the organization behind it. According to the website, the film has been shown in schools, religious buildings, public libraries, and in other educational settings. If one is interested, there is a map on the website that represents the screenings all over the world (the film has been translated into over 15 languages in 2010). The website also provides information on how to set up a screening in your local community!

I saw The Story of Stuff for the first time in 2008 at my town’s public library while I was in high school. There was a free screening that my friend’s mother, who was very involved in my town’s sustainability efforts, asked me to attend. I grudgingly went and, although I was reluctant to admit it, I really felt the film made an impact on me. Weeks after watching the film, I definitely recycled more and turned down a few purchases at the mall. However, about a month later, I slowly went back to my old habits and forgot about the message behind The Story of Stuff.

Luckily, I have watched the film to help me write this post and, again, I feel the impact of the film. I am hoping that I continue to feel this impact for a longer amount of time because I am older and I understand the importance of sustainability better.


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