Drying For Freedom
Drying for Freedom
Drying for Freedom
Item#: DFF-1065
Choose License:  Format: 

Running Time: 53 minutes
Grades 6 – Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A Film by Steven Lake and Adam Merrifield


"Recommended.This compelling film about electric drying examines the unseen costs of consumer appliances. Modern consumer societies tend to disconnect personal action, driving gas-guzzling cars, for instance, or using excessive packaging, from social and environmental consequences. The result is guilt-free consumption, along with the unnoticed exhaustion of non-renewable resources and environmental degradation."
–Educational Media Reviews Online

"Drying for Freedom is nominally about laundry, and really about bigger issues like freedom, consumerism, and the environment—or, as the filmmakers put it, our right to protect the planet. In the film, we hear from members of communities that have banned clotheslines, and from the advocates who are fighting against those bans. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn something, but mostly you’ll see your laundry in a new light.”
– Reviewed.com

Drying For Freedom explores why, in a county that boasts the most about freedom and democracy, US citizens do not have the right to line dry their clothes and save electricity.”
– GreenMuze.com


Best Environmental Feature, Costa Rica Intl Film Festival
Best Artistic Response, UK Climate Week Award


American Conservation Film Festival, USA
Eco Focus Environmental Film Festival Cambridge Film Festival, UK
Southampton Film Festival, UK
Purbeck Film Festival, UK
Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival


All prices include DVD and PPR

• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $79
• Colleges, Government, Businesses: $195
• Colleges, Government, Businesses (with DSL): $495

Drying For Freedom travels from America’s clothesline-free yards to India’s open-air laundromats to explore how the electric dream was marketed, without regard for its environmental and other impacts.

In post-war America, the push to “Live Better Electrically”, with Ronald Reagan as spokesman, was symbolized by the selling of energy hungry clothes dryers to replace the centuries-old zero energy outdoor clothesline. With archival TV ads and commentary, the film looks at how consumer demand was created for an electric utopia, where the dryer became a necessity and the clothesline became an ugly thing of the past.

Convenience trumped consequence, as energy consumption rose rapidly, with significant impacts on the environment – and personal freedom. Sixty years later, more than 50 million Americans live in communities where energy efficient clotheslines are banned as unsightly. But line-drying activist Alexander Lee has campaigned since 1997 across America for the “Right to Dry”, turning the age-old clothesline into a powerful symbol for efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Drying For Freedom begins with the symbolic battle over the clothesline, but expands to the bigger potential global consequences of increasing energy usage in developing countries.

In India, we witness how the electric dream is now being marketed there, with the goal of bringing electricity to the 400 million Indian citizens now living without it. But will it be done in India, and in other countries, in a way that contributes to climate change, or will it be done in a different way? The future of our planet may hang in the balance.