Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to get snuck in to the Premiere Screening of Documentary Playing With FIRE, after the tickets sold out in just a few hours. My kind friends Pete & Carl, co-owners of the MMM Headquarters in Longmont, were hosting the event. Although I had a feeling it would packed like most of their meetups are, I had no idea that so many of the big name bloggers who were in the film, the entire cast and much of the crew would also be there. It was a truly a treat.
I don’t know how this incredible of a project was off my radar and yet it was, until a few weeks prior when Carl casually mentioned that I should join in on the fun. When I saw the invite on Friday, there was a link to the official trailer that I’ve embed above. I’m a bit of a sap and even the trailer brought me to tears.
What is the Documentary about?
This documentary follows a young family’s journey from discovering FIRE to their rapid course correction from big spenders to big savers, working towards Financial Independence. It highlights the popular FIRE movement which is near and dear to my heart, since I used some of the common practices combined with Airbnb to hit my Financial Independence number at 28!
Wait! What is FIRE?
Here is a blurb about the movement from the Playing With Fire Website (I think they did a rather snazzy job at explaining it):
Financial Independence Retire Early
F.I.R.E. is an acronym. It stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. There's a growing movement of people who are practicing FIRE principles and retiring decades earlier than expected as a result. Smart, often middle-income earners are using a simple formula of high savings rates (50-70% of their incomes) + frugal living (minimalism) + low-cost stock index fund investing (Warren Buffett’s standard investment advice) in order to reach financial independence within short, usually around 10-year periods of time. For obvious reasons, FIRE is sometimes referred to as “the ultimate life hack.”
SO what’s my review?
The film was beautifully shot, produced and edited, with some well captured tender movements and rich interviews. The cast was goofy, relatable, and vulnerable. They opened their lives in such a wholehearted way letting you see the true experience of a young family’s journey to Financial Independence. It was very touching and inspiring. I highly recommend it.
The most exciting part for me about this film is how mainstream it is. You don’t have to be a financial nerd like me to enjoy it, this is the kind of simply enjoyable documentary that someone who has never heard of FIRE can relate to. In fact, during the Q&A the Director spoke about how everyone working on the film was affected and changed by working on this project. By having conversations with their partners, starting to invest or beginning their own FI countdown, they are all leaving this experience with a new financial lease on life. It was powerful to hear.
Ben, my skeptical partner (who is not yet FI), joined me at the event. The best part for me was seeing and hearing his reactions at the end. He wanted to stay through the entire Q&A with the cast and even pulled aside the Director to thank him before we left. Sometimes people need to see or hear something from an objective 3rd party for the information to really sink in. I think he finally began to see how this path could be true for him too, how he can build a life of freedom for himself.
… I giggled to myself this morning when he asked to set a date to optimize our bank accounts this weekend.
Where can you see the film? / How can you help?
This film is a completely grassroots movement. It was funded by a kickstarter campaign, meaning many of the people who worked on the film donated their time and worked at cost just to get the message out there. In time they hope to shop it around to Film Festivals, Individual Streaming Sales & Netflix to recoup some expenses but in the meantime, they could use some help from the community.
If you are the community organizing type and would like to host a screening, you can search for the film on Tugg.com (at the time of this publishing it was not there yet, but check back to see). Tugg helps you find a theater near you where you can schedule a screening, and they give you a custom site to sell tickets for the event. I believe you need to sell 70 for it to be green lighted (otherwise it is cancelled and the money is returned to those who purchased tickets).
If you live in Colorado, I know Carl is planning another showing. You can email him through his website to get an invite. I will also be planning a Boulder screening when Tugg has the film up, so if you would like to be included on that list, please comment on this post.
Lastly, on the documentary’s website, there is a sign up list to get notifications of the release date of when they will start selling the online streaming version of the film.