“The Bubble” is a documentary about The Villages from writer/director Valerie Blankenbyl that was released in 2021.
I was able to see it when it was featured at the 2021 Sarasota Film Festival. In part because the film's director and production companies are based in Europe, it has not been widely shown here in the U.S., until now!
Vice Media Group posted it as part of “The Short List”, a collection of some of the world’s best documentaries, curated by VICE founder Suroosh Alvi.
You can watch the full-length documentary right here:
This documentary is quite different from the other recent film about The Villages, “Some Kind of Heaven“.
Where “Some Kind of Heaven” fell short for a lot of viewers was the fact that it focused on a handful of characters that I think most people would struggle to call “typical Villagers”. Instead of focusing so much on the lives of the characters in the film, “The Bubble” focuses more on the concept of The Villages, and the impacts it has on the people, the economy, and the environment both inside and outside the community.
In my opinion, the best part of the video above is the interview with the director at the end of the film, so be sure to stay for that.
While the film's name is similar to that of my website and book about The Villages, Inside the Bubble, it also shares the same name as a 2013 documentary about Celebration, the town built by Disney located near Walt Disney World in the Orlando area.
“The Bubble” is definitely not a commercial for The Villages. The film sheds light on issues such as political divisiveness, control of the developer, environmental concerns like excessive water use and sinkholes, as well as the seemingly endless growth the community is experiencing.
Most of these topics are not news to residents of The Villages or people who have done even a little bit of research about the community, but they can be off-putting to some.
Luckily there are a lot of other great Florida communities to consider.
After you watch the video, let me know what you thought of it in the comments down below!