Prize for the first person to screen these films during the 2015 Paris talks
Thank you so much for all your responses to Franny's downbeat email last week, perhaps best summarised by “Bill in Bristol”, who said he was "moved, demoralised, inspired and humanised”.
Speaking of being moved, demoralised, inspired and humanised, I hope everyone was out in person or spirit on the global climate marches yesterday. The Guardian have a fantastic photo gallery of images and stories from all round the world, but our favourite is this image from Paris, where 10,000 pairs of shoes “marched” after the authorities cancelled all public protests.
Speaking of which, I urge you all to read this article by Naomi Klein which caused me to completely u-turn my opinion from saying it was “understandable” the authorities cancelled the protest in last week’s mailing list message: "Some say this is all fair game against the backdrop of terror. But a UN climate summit is not like a meeting of the G8 or the World Trade Organisation, where the powerful meet and the powerless try to crash their party. Parallel “civil society” events are not an addendum to, or distractions from, the main event. They are integral to the process. Which is why the French government should never have been allowed to decide which parts of the summit it would cancel and which it would still hold.
Rather, after the horrific attacks of 13 November, it needed to determine whether it had the will and capacity to host the whole summit – with full participation from civil society, including in the streets. If it could not, it should have delayed and asked another country to step in. Instead the Hollande government has made a series of decisions that reflect a very particular set of values and priorities about who and what will get the full security protection of the state. Yes to world leaders, football matches and Christmas markets; no to climate marches and protests pointing out that the negotiations, with the current level of emission targets, endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions if not billions of people.
It is worth thinking about what the decision to cancel marches and protests means in real, as well as symbolic, terms. Climate change is a moral crisis because every time governments of wealthy nations fail to act, it sends a message that we in the global north are putting our immediate comfort and economic security ahead of the suffering and survival of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on Earth. The decision to ban the most important spaces where the voices of climate-impacted people would have been heard is a dramatic expression of this profoundly unethical abuse of power: once again, a wealthy western country is putting security for elites ahead of the interests of those fighting for survival. Once again, the message is: our security is non-negotiable, yours is up for grabs."
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Good news: last week the Metropolitan Police apologised to the women who were deceived into having long-term relationships - and even children - with the #spycops. The full apology is well worth reading - or watching - the police couldn't have grovelled any more if they’d tried - and Helen Steel’s heart-wrenching interview on Radio 4 is a must-listen. It is such an incredible story, someone really should make a TV drama about it…
Below is a joint message from the filmmakers behind, well, all the best eco films of recent years: The Yes Men Are Revolting, This Changes Everything, Merchants of Doubt, How To Change The World, Chasing Ice, Unearthed, Frackman and something called The Age of Stupid.
Can you organise a screening of one (or all !?!) of these films to raise awareness in your community whilst the leaders are debating all our futures in Paris?
Actually, that’s given us an idea: the first person or group to screen all the films will win either a vegan meal (up to £125 inc alcohol) for four at Time Out’s “most loved restaurant in London” - Kabaret in Wood Green - or receive a generous package (£125 worth) of deliciousness in the post from us. To enter, just send photos of at least six people watching all the films. The winner can choose either prize, but needs to cover their own travel costs if they choose the meal at Kabaret.
Onwards and upwards,
Franny & Lizzie
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Joint Message from Eco Filmmakers
As world leaders and civil society converge on Paris for the UNFCCC COP21, a group of award winning international filmmakers have come together to share urgent, funny, engaging and provocative stories that you could use in your community to kick off conversations about climate and social justice. Our desire to connect, to find ways to work together to reimagine a sustainable future is even more urgent after the tragic attack in Paris. Feel free to pass on this list far and wide.
For the last 20 years, notorious activists The Yes Men have staged outrageous and hilarious hoaxes to draw international attention to corporate crimes against humanity and the environment. In their third cinematic outing The Yes Men Are Revolting (after The Yes Men and The Yes Men Fix the World), they are now well into their 40s, and their mid-life crises are threatening to drive them out of activism forever – even as they prepare to take on the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced: climate change. Revealing the real people behind the ruses, at its heart lies a hopeful message about fighting for change. Watch the film now on itunes and Vimeo On Demand
Celebrating solutions and resistance from frontline communities around the world and asking “What if global warming isn’t only a crisis? What if it’s the best chance we’re ever going to get to build a better world?”the release of This Changes Everything was timed to to assist grassroots groups with their organising ahead of - and beyond - the Paris COP21. The documentary from Avi Lewis & Naomi Klein is now available worldwide for theatrical, community and home screenings. If you are in Paris during the COP21 you can join a special presentation about the The Leap Manifesto and screening with the filmmakers on December 2nd in Paris. And we encourage you to read Naomi’s od-ed ‘What’s really at stake now that marches are banned’.
Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. Watch the film now at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Starz, VUDU, or YouTube.
In 1971, a group of friends sailed into a nuclear test zone and their protest captured the world’s imagination, inspiring the creation of the global organisation that became Greenpeace. How To Change The World from director Jerry Rothwell is a thrilling and sometimes terrifying look at these pioneering activists and their struggles and dilemmas as an international movement grew around them. Their experiences serve up some essential lessons for any activist. If you are in Paris during COP21 then join Sea-Shepherd founder Paul Watson and activist Emily Hunter (daughter of Greenpeace’s first president Bob Hunter) at a special screening on the 10th December. For details of this and how to watch the film or organise a screening go to http://howtochangetheworldmovie.com/.
Franny Armstrong & Lizzie Gillett’s The Age of Stupid stars Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching “archive" footage from the early 2000s and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance? Stupid was released in cinemas and on TV worldwide in 2009, won lots of awards, got tonnes of press coverage (everything from the front cover of New York Times to a full-on fashion shoot in Vogue) and also inspired the formation of the 10:10 climate campaign in 41 countries. Watch the film on the Spanner Films website or buy a license to hold your own screening from Indie Screenings.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. James Balog, an acclaimed environmental photographer, conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.The film is available to view on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
From the fracking frontlines there are two brilliant, urgent films to watch:
Unearthed from South Africa Investigates fracking from an international perspective and what this method of gas extraction could mean for the rural Karoo region of South Africa. Unearthed makes an urgent call for active citizenship, community-driven development plans and a responsible, renewable energy future. Visit the film website to find out more about how to screen the movie.
Frackman shot in Australia, tells the story of accidental activist Dayne Pratzky and his struggle against international gas companies. Australia will soon become the world’s biggest gas exporters, as more than 30,000 wells are sunk in the state of Queensland where Dayne lives with many requiring controversial ‘fracking’. He and his neighbours have unwittingly become the centre of a massive industrial landscape and they have little power to fight the wishes of the $200 billion industry. Dayne embarks on a journey that transforms him from conservative pig-shooter to sophisticated global activist as the Frackman. On digital release in Australia from Dec 9th at Frackmanthemovie.
Dreaming of a just world.
Best wishes from all the filmmakers,
This Changes Everything, How To Change The World, The Yes Men, Frackman, Merchants of Doubt, Unearthed, Chasing Ice, and Age of Stupid, Working Films & BRITDOC Foundation