(Image: Solutions film, 2021)

Will the 21st century be humanity’s greatest, or our worst? According to the award-winning new documentary “Solutions,” which was filmed on location at the Santa Fe Institute, the answer depends on the decisions we make in the next couple of decades, and on our ability to work across disciplines and continents to find revolutionary solutions. 

Making its U.S. debut at this year’s United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) in Palo Alto, CA on October 31, “Solutions” captures a gathering of some of the world’s leading thinkers at SFI. Over 10 days, 20 visionary scientists and innovators examined the growing gap between physical technologies like automation and AI, and social institutions like governments and healthcare systems. Warning that “When society is detached from reality, bad things happen,” the film serves as an urgent call to action.

The SFI workshop gave rise to a global research project that aims to sketch out solutions for humanity to survive some of its most pressing challenges. Climate change, democracy in decline, economic inequality, and weaponized narratives transmitted through social media are just a few of the clear indicators that technological advances are pushing us to the brink of a major societal transition. With perspectives from luminaries in economics, public policy, history, law, biology, engineering, business, and beyond, “Solutions” presents citizens and societal decision-makers with what SFI External Professor Steen Rasmussen calls "a laundry list" of takeaways that highlight the power of complex-systems thinking to address the challenges of the 21st century. 

“Solutions” brings viewers into the room with complexity scientists, offering the opportunity to experience how people with diverse areas of expertise can come together to diagnose global problems and search for answers. These conversations are complicated and sometimes uncomfortable, but always riveting.

"We all believe we want to change the world," says participant Doyne Farmer, an economist and SFI External Professor. "It's not just an empty academic exercise."

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Pernille Rose Grønkjær, “Solutions was selected for UNAFF by a 24-member jury for its relevance and potential to captivate audiences. The documentary has already been lauded as a “must-see” in academic circles and won the Grand Prize at the 2021 Prague Science Film Festival. It has also been accepted to film festivals in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Russia, and is in the running for several more awards.

The UNAFF film festival is an in-person event and is not affiliated with SFI. For UNAFF schedule, ticketing information, and COVID-19 protocols, visit unaff.org


STEEN RASMUSSEN, physicist (University of Southern Denmark, SFI) — ERIC BEINHOCKER, director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET, SFI) — DOYNE FARMER, complex systems scientist (INET, SFI) — FOTINI MARKOPOULOU, theoretical physicist — NICK HANAUER, social entrepreneur and venture capitalist — LAWRENCE LESSIG, law professor(Harvard Law School) — LARRY KRAMER, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation — JOHAN BOLLEN, professor of informatics — JENNA BEDNAR, professor of political science and public policy (University of Michigan, SFI) — MOLLY CROCKETT psychology professor (Yale University) — CARL BENEDIKT FREY, economist and economic historian (University of Oxford) — PIPER LOUNSBURY STOVER, entrepreneur — ESTHER DYSON, angel investor and health activist — DAVID CHRISTIAN, history professor (Macquarie University) — KLAUS LACKNER,  director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (Arizona State University).



PERNILLE ROSE GRØNKJÆR — director and producer — PER SANDHOLT, PERNILLE ROSE GRØNKJÆR — writers — BEN BERNHARD cinematographer — PER SANDHOLT — editor — JACQUES BUE PEDERSEN — sound designer — JONAS STRUCK — composer —  ANDERS HUULGAARD — graphic designer — KRISTINA KORSHOLM — associate producer and co-writer — NINA LEIDERSDORFF, ALONSO MAYO, KARINA BERNAUER — line producers — SIGRID JONSSON DYEKJÆR, EVA MULVAD, MIKALA KROGH, PERNILLE ROSE GRØNKJÆR — executive producers