Increasing pollution, over-fishing and climate change are only a fraction of the threats our oceans are currently facing worldwide. This documentary follows us on our journey as we film devastating consequences of these harsh realities.
At the World Ocean Summit, we talk to key players in the field of politics, environmental research and commerce to fully understand the urgency of the situation, and what you and I, businesses and politicians can do to save our fragile eco-system. We intersperse these interviews with visits to local change-makers who are actively fighting to ensure the livelihood of millions of people around the world who depend on the ocean for their survival. Our film is for them… and for you.
Artifishal is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.
The Beaver Believers shares the urgent yet whimsical story of an unlikely cadre of activists - a biologist, a hydrologist, a botanist, an ecologist, a psychologist, and a hairdresser - who share a common goal: restoring the North American Beaver, that most industrious, ingenious, furry little bucktoothed engineer, to the watersheds of the American West. The Beaver Believers encourage us to embrace a new paradigm for managing our western lands, one that seeks to partner with the natural world rather than overpower it.
Eighty-two-year-old Firouzeh is not afraid of hard work. From dawn to dusk, the fiercely independent herder takes care of her beloved cows in the mountains of Northern Iran, without any access to electricity, gas or phone. Married at a young age to an older man, she's long been a widow, and none of her 11 children ever come to visit. But she enjoys her solitary life in harmony with nature, and won't hear the well-meaning advice from nearby villagers that it's maybe time to retire. No matter the difficulties, this indomitable woman will always choose her hard-won freedom over comfort among people.
The response to a horrendous oil blowout fifty years ago in Santa Barbara sparked the modern environmental movement, creating a culture that continues to inspire local solutions to global problems.
The 1969 Union Oil blowout mobilized the Santa Barbara community to fight for the environment, inspiring nonprofit organizations into existence, as well as Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and the first interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program, at UCSB. The legacy of the oil spill continues to inform this community, which keeps coming together, providing local solutions to global environmental problems; such as when over 3,000 volunteers joined the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to dig the mud from homes after the deadly 2018 debris flow.
We are in Northeastern Brazil, in Pará, in the heart of the Amazon forest. But the landscape in front of us is quite different from our expectations. There are no trees. There are no exotic animals, jumping from tree to tree. There is only a red clearing, crossed by a dirty road, where dozens of trucks are travelling, transporting commodities.
It is from this desolate place that the timber, illegally logged in the forest, leaves for its long trip to Europe. The same trip made by other commodities, responsible of the fast deforestation that is destroying this region. We follow the big cargo ships that cross the Ocean, transporting illegal timber, beef, leather and soy to Europe and to Italy. Here these commodities are used to produce most of the Italian specialties, such as furniture, fashion and food. But can we really call “specialty” a product that is entirely based on tropical deforestation?
Directed by Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen (USA), 75 min.
“Microplastic Madness - Brooklyn kids take on plastic pollution” is an inspirational and optimistic take on the local and global plastic pollution crisis as told through a refreshing urban youth point of view with a powerful take action message. With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in the most cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming, yet charming narrative, conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms with a take action message to spark youth-led plastic free action in schools everywhere.
Directed by Radu Sava, Rebekah Hood-Sava (USA), 37 min.
Wildfires are becoming a global issue, and California is one of the places that is hit the hardest because of its dry climate. We discovered that in the face of the imminent danger, communities, and organizations that were opponents in the past are coming together to find innovative solutions. They are forming large scale unprecedented partnerships that have adopted cutting edge solutions implementing the latest data models along with Native American ecological knowledge. If they are successful, this can influence work around the world. However, it will take every one of us to solve the wildfire issue. Be informed, Be involved, Be part of the conversation and part of the solution. This film is based on interviews with leading experts from state, federal, and grassroots organizations, water agencies, community partnerships, and more.
Directed by Emmanuel Cappellin and Anne-Marie Sangla (USA), 104 min.
ONCE YOU KNOW is the intimate journey of director Emmanuel Cappellin across the abyss of a world at the edge of climate-induced collapse. His voyage into this uncharted territory is that of a whole generation turning to climate scientists, local democracy, grassroots initiatives, and mass rebellion in a desperate search for an exit.
Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has become one of Africa’s most celebrated wildlife restoration stories. After a decade of renewed protection, Gorongosa’s large mammal population has increased 10-fold to over 100,000 animals. But the Park must also find a way to co-exist with the 200,000 people living in surrounding communities.
Dominique Gonçalves, a young African elephant ecologist shares the inspiring story of how Gorongosa is becoming a new model for wildlife conservation and community development. By bringing large-scale, long-term health care, agriculture support, and girls’ education to surrounding communities, Gorongosa is redefining the identity and purpose of this national park.
If everybody works together, great things can be achieved!" – 37 inhabitants of Ferraria de São João follow this principle. The small Portuguese village lies hidden amidst an enormous expanse of eucalyptus forest. Eucalyptus, although lucrative for the booming paper industry, is easily inflammable and is therefore an uncontrollable threat to the rural population. In 2017, the region was hit by one of the most devastating forest fires in Portugal, killing 66 people. The German filmmaker is unexpectedly affected by this disaster and, with her family, has to flee the village to escape danger.
The residents stay and fight to save their homes. A small community, sticking together in the face of their biggest crisis. Together they initiate a groundbreaking project that aims to protect them from the consequences of climate change and globalisation. A film that encourages us to act.
Prison Without Bars
Directed by Nicole Giguère, Isabelle Hayeur (CAN), 77 min.
Our environment is saturated with chemicals and electromagnetic fields. The adverse effects of these massive exposures affect a growing number of individuals, including Isabelle, Kathya, Jean-François, Sylvain and Jayden. A glimpse into the little-known world of environmental illness.
This is a true story on the meeting between Frost, a beautiful polar bear mother, and Asgeir Helgestad, a Norwegian wildlife filmmaker. It is a four-year journey on Svalbard. Rising temperatures, are responsible for dramatic changes in Frost’s ecosystem as the ice is melting at record speed. From complete darkness to the absolute light of the midnight sun, Svalbard transforms from a cold and inhospitable place to the most joyous and lively scenery for ice algae, fish, birds and animals. But alongside these seasonal transformations, the disappearing sea ice forces life to new limits. Fjords that were once full of ice and seals, get abandoned pushing Frost further away. Asgeir is determined to find her and document all that is being lost, but his task is far from easy. This film explores the question “this planet is home to all of us, can we afford to ignore it?”
US and European astronauts team up with Danish green energy company Ørsted, to create the Space Safari project that sends earthlings on a virtual reality space mission. The aim is to help speed up climate action by changing our perception of ourselves and our planet.
Journey to the Maskelyne Islands in Vanuatu, a tropical paradise on in the Pacific Ocean. Through this immersive experience learn first hand the devastating effects that climate change is having on this community, and reflect on our deeper responsibility to our fellow human beings.
The Red Wolf Project is a 360 video that takes you inside a pack of critically endangered red wolves. Be immersed in their habitat and get a sense of their personalities and dynamics as the family interacts with one another, and the camera, during feeding time. Housed under a Species Survival Plan (SSP) at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, red wolves are vanishingly rare and subject increasing environmental and political pressures: Their survival is far from assured.
Directed by Anton Zhdanov (RUS),
Russia’s Wilderness is part of a series of VR projects about the Russian Reserves. Inside the city walls, we usually don’t think about the way everything works in nature. There are pristine islets with mind-blowing living creatures all over Russia. This 360 film carries the viewers away to the most wonderful places in our country. An innovative style of shooting creates an immersive experience.
Directed by Thomas Freundlich, Valtteri Raekallio (FI), 28 min.
How far would you go to pursue an idea? Why do we do incredibly difficult things that have no practical application? Is there a parallel between geographic and artistic exploration? Fram is a documentary and travel film about two friends journeying to the end of the earth, in order to make a dance film in the polar wilderness of Svalbard. En route, they explore the history of our ideas of the Arctic, along with the grand questions of life, art and our place in the world. Sharing their love of discovering new geographic and artistic frontiers, choreographer-dancer-filmmakers and outdoor enthusiasts Thomas Freundlich and Valtteri Raekallio take the viewer on a unique and engaging journey to a place where few have been – and even fewer have danced.
Directed by Per Bifrost, Alexander Rynéus (SWD), 29 min.
Every year during June, police officer Mimmi and nature guard Håkan patrol Sweden's windiest place, the valley of Stekenjokk. Eggs thieves’ ravages the area where rare bird eggs are laid during the breeding season. Thousands of eggs have been stolen over the years and sold between collectors and threatened several species to be extinct, a crime that has now been unfolded. But this period, spring never seems to arrive at Stekenjokk and the birds have their toughest year so far. The place is incredibly important for the birds, but also for Håkan who lives for the nature and wildlife. A film about the place, the conversations that appear along the winding road that crosses the valley and the strange situation where the birds are constantly threatened and where everyone is a suspect.
Directed byJordan Osmond, Antoinette Wilson (NZ), 30 min.
"Fools & Dreamers" is a 30-minute documentary telling the story of Hinewai Nature Reserve and its manager of 30 years, botanist Dr Hugh Wilson. We learn about the commitment to regenerate marginal, hilly farmland into native forest, using a minimal interference method that allows nature to do the work, giving life to over 1500 hectares of native forest, waterways, and the creatures that live within them.
America's Shopping Addiction
Directed by Jackie Lay, 7 min.
Consumerism in the U.S. has reached an all-time high. In 2017, we spent $240 billion on goods such as jewelry, watches, luggage, books, and phones—twice as much as in 2002, even though our population grew by only 13 percent during that time. This is not to mention the 81 pounds of clothes and textiles that each American throws away annually, or the 26 million tons of plastics we collectively dispose of each year.
This partially animated video describes why shopping is so addictive and emphasizes the urgency in finding an encompassing solution to the problem of wasteful consumerism.
This short documentary shares the story of Molokaʻi homesteader Bobby Alcain, his views on growing food, and his hopes for Molokai's future. This film was created by ʻOhana Learning Alliance (OLA Molokaʻi) students who frequently visit Uncle Bobby's farm for their papa mahiʻai (farming class).
Directed by Palmer Morse, Matt Mikkelsen (USA) 14 min.
When the traditional methods of coping with trauma don’t work, what options do you have left? Brandon Kuehn, an Iraq War veteran, believes the best way to face a range of trauma is to reach for literal, physical summits and he isn’t alone. Outdoor therapy is a growing field that is helping people like Brandon who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. Constant Thought is an intimate portrayal of Brandon and his attempt to walk the 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. It also underscores how stress, of any kind, can be soothed by both using and preserving the lands Brandon fought to protect.
Directed by Fanny Texier, Martin Loper (USA) 14 min.
A few residents in Anniston have decided to stay in this environmentally toxic town that could very much be the epicenter of a worldwide contamination.
Directed by Palmer Morse, Rachel Weinberg (USA), 5 min.
Detroit Hives follows Tim Paule and Nicole Lindsey, a young couple from East Detroit, who are working hard to bring diversity to the field of beekeeping and create opportunities for young Detroit natives to overcome adversity. It is estimated that Detroit has with well over 90,000 empty housing lots to date. In an effort to address this issue, Tim and Nicole have been purchasing vacant lots and converting them into bee farms. Detroit Hives explores the importance of bringing diversity to beekeeping and rebuilding inner-city communities one hive at a time.
As sea levels continue to rise, coastal communities are trapped between the reality of climate change and the antiquated political policies that threaten their future. Battered by stronger, more frequent storms, residents are faced with an impossible decision: rebuild their home in place to collect flood insurance payments or abandon their property—along with any equity they've accrued—and find a way to start again somewhere else. The timely, 12-minute film takes the conversation about climate crisis out of the future and into the present, to the practical reality of lives already in the balance. How are communities at risk adapting? What can they teach us about the challenges to come?
Directed by Austen McCowan, Will Hewitt (UK), 13 min.
Pianos are being thrown away at a tremendous rate – hauled away, set on fire and their valuable heavy metal sold for scrap. Tim, Leon and their team of inspired artists, musicians and volunteers have reclaimed these unloved instruments to build the world’s first 100-seater amphitheatre made entirely from up-cycled pianos. Balancing the artistic integrity of Tim’s vision with Leon’s practicality and realism tests the strength of their relationship as they race to complete the Pianodrome for its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
One Word Sawalmem
Directed by Natasha Deganello Giraudie, Michael "Pom" Preston (USA), 17 min.
One word ripples outward, vibrating with healing power.
Sawalmem, meaning Sacred Water. For Winnemem Wintu young man Michael "Pom" Preston Sawalmem represents an entire worldview, a vital vision for healing the world and for healing from the legacy of the Shasta Dam that, since the 1940s, has harmed salmon and the Sacramento River and the Winnemem Wintu people of Shasta Mountain, California.
(Stop The Ocean Plastic)
Directed by Daria Kashcheeva (CZE), 2 min
A stop-motion film from award-winning animator Daria Kashcheeva. What role can you play in helping to solve the plastic pollution crisis? S.T.O.P. very creatively shows what life would be like in our polluted oceans and provides 8 tips for how you can be part of the global solution to the problem.
Every winter, hardy volunteers flock to beaches in the Salish Sea late at night. The all-ages group leans into the bitter cold low-tide with their headlamps and waterproof layers. Their work is shining light on how intertidal communities are changing in the face of climate change and other human impacts.
“Salish Sea After Dark” chronicles one winter of community scientists’ night time work and the unique lessons that can be learned from the south Puget Sound's intertidal zone.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS explores the concept of cohousing, as expressed through first-hand observations of residents of four cohousing communities, including the first one in the United States, and observations by architect Charles Durrett, who brought the concept to the US from Denmark.
Directed by Ben Sturgulewski, Zack Giffin (USA), 24 min.
Two best friends with very different views on life embark on a search for a mythical unskied mountain.
"The Response" explores how mutual aid centers (Centros de Apoyo Mutuo) sprung up across the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria with the ultimate goal to restore power — both electric and civic — to the people.
The film centers both the voices of those involved in these bold grassroots relief efforts and the movement for popular power that is continuing to emerge. Acting as an excellent example of what community-led disaster response and recovery can look like, the CAMs focus on the needs and abilities of the people and provide an avenue for the general public to participate in mutual aid, not charity.
Initiated by Mexican immigrant students, the film highlights the story of a school-based garden movement’s extraordinary passion and fight for food justice in urban Los Angeles and how this grassroots program transformed their neighborhoods and schools into healthier communities becoming the first of its kind in the United States.
Directed by Kiana Liu, Taylor Redman (USA), 9 min.
Featuring interviews with local experts, this short film documents a study of marine plastics being conducted in remote areas of Maui's northeast coast, and what it may tell us about the sources of plastic pollution, and potential solutions.
The current administration is rolling back crucial protections for streams and wetlands across the country in a direct assault on the Clean Water Act. This incredibly beautiful film tells the story of the rivers, streams, and wetlands of Alabama to illustrate the dangers of the proposed regulation. By doing so, it shows the economic benefits, ecological health, and cultural way of life that hang in the balance.
Along the Arctic Coast, at the northmost point on American soil, we explore the inseparable bond between mother and child, the sacred and fragile moments after birth and the importance of protecting the place "Where Life Begins".
A high-rise roof somewhere in Berlin. From the rooftop you can see the whole city. It is summer. On the roof is a group of refugees from Syria. The depth below reminds them of the depth of the sea. Above them is only sky. On this roof, they feel like they are back on their journey across the Mediterranean - lost on a small rubber boat. They begin to reenact the most dramatic situation they have survived during their flight: crossing the Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece. They try several times but the Turkish Coast Guard prevents them. During an attempt, water begins to swamp the boat - the refugees save themselves by swimming for hours.
from the Future
Directed by Allen Myers (USA), 7 min
On November 8th 2018 A massive wildfire destroyed my home town of Paradise, California in a single day. The fire jumped from canyon to canyon incinerating 19,000 structures, displacing nearly 50,000 people and ultimately taking 86 lives. Without any warning, the residents of Paradise and neighboring communities were engulfed in what one could only liken to Hell.
This film takes place 50 years in the future when I am 85 years old and we look back on our road to recovery and how we created a true Paradise.
Directed by Keanu Frith, Tess Moretti-Hill, Gabriel Jeffers, Māhea Dunn (USA), 3 min
This infomercial parody pokes fun at the overuse of pesticides and herbicides and the psychology used to market them. This short film was directed and produced by students with the Maui Huliau Foundation's youth filmmaking program.
Marisol is a young mother striving to make a life for herself and her young daughter, María. She poses as her friend, Luisa, and borrows her car to take fares on a ride-sharing app. But her last passenger of the day, a young white man named Frederick, acts increasingly suspicious. When he accuses Marisol of being undocumented, her worst nightmare comes to life.
Directed by Chloe Chin, Tessa Chin Ka'imi Kaleleiki (USA), 7 min
In this short theatrical film, three generations of women reflect on the beauty of their island home and the changes they see taking place in their natural environment. This short film was directed and produced by students with the Maui Huliau Foundation's youth filmmaking program.
Inspired by true events, THE WIND PHONE intimately follows the emotional journeys of seven strangers. Each is drawn to the same remote and eerie phone booth on a Japanese cliffside, although their conversations couldn’t seem more different. Whereas one caller seeks forgiveness for a fatal transgression and another grapples with a twisted betrayal, others’ motivations are not clear at first. It is not until one of the callers extends a consoling hand to another, that we begin to understand that they are all connected by one harrowing reality.
How a Song
Saved a Species
Directed by Rémi Cans (FRN), 2 min.
In the 60’s, The commercial whale hunting caused the whale population to fall by an estimated 90% from what it used to be in the XIX century. The discovery of Roger Payne and his team, that whales are intelligent animals and who play a crucial role in maintaining the ocean healthy, contributed a to a creation of a global movement which led, years later, to a moratorium on industrial whaling.
Directed by Natasha Deganello Giraudie (USA), 5 min
Filmed in Cuba by rainforest child and luminary auteur Pedro Ruiz (Havana, from on High, Hot Docs 2019), Inmanencia is a poetic sensory ecologically and spiritually charged artwork that slowly unfolds in a series of stunningly filmed oblique cinematic moments that fill the screen with pastoral calm.
Directed by Muhammad Asif Islam (USA), 4 min.
The Art of Night, a short film showcasing the beauty of the night sky: from moon, stars, milky way, galaxies to the aurora borealis.
Night sky reminds us that we are a small part of a huge Cosmos and provides us an opportunity to reconnect with that. We are losing our connection with the night sky, which provided us with wonders like Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza and the Mayan calendar. It also keeps our overworked, politicized lives simple, and resets our ego, and makes us kind, thoughtful.
Directed by Brian Canning, Sam Johnson (USA), 19 min.
A look below the surface at one of the most feared and ancient creatures on Earth. They are peaceful creature by nature, yet are at risk for extinction. How can we change our view of the natural world, understanding our survival depends on its survival?
Time and the Seashell
Directed by Itandehui Jansen (MEX),
Past, present and future engage with each other in a conversation through a seashell found in childhood. A man recalls finding a seashell as a small boy, and remembers how the boy he once was, tried to imagine his future self.
EMBRACES & the touch of skin
Directed by Sara Koppel (DNK), 3 min.
“EMBRACES & the touch of skin”
is an animated poem about the vital need for embraces and contact with other beings.
A Way of Seeing
By Riley Quarles (USA), 15 min.
A Way of Seeing is a seamless compilation of slow-motion videos of nature in which the moving imagery has been manipulated in a painterly fashion in an attempt to reflect the way that energy flows in, around, and through all things.
By Caryn Cline (USA), 7 min.
“What looks like agricultural success, purging bean and corn fields of milkweed (among other weeds), turns out to be a butterfly disaster.” –Verlyn Klinkenborg, “Monarchs Fight for Their Lives,” New York Times, Oct. 12, 2013. Inspired by Klinkenborg’s article, using found footage from four different sources, I edited, optically-printed, superimposed, scratched on, bleached and otherwise altered the film to highlight, lament and challenge the monarch butterflies’ dilemma. Shot on 16mm converted to digital.
Directed by Jeremy Bible (USA), 55 min.
"Human Savagery" pairs Bible’s powerful & moving, symphonic ambient compositions with his vivid ultra-HD aerial cinematography – which contrast the alien beauty of untouched mountains and desert landscapes with the chemical violence of EPA Superfund sites ravaged by industry. Bible has visited sites across the United States to create this footage, capturing a gripping snapshot of humanity’s often unseen footprint on this planet.
This is a hand-painted film from the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is an artist’s response to the last wild six mile stretch of the Bear River that is under threat of inundation from a new dam planned for the river (Centennial Dam). There is a movement in the local community to stop the dam being built to protect this last bit of wilderness along its banks. The film is an artist’s response to this beautiful place, and is dedicated to all who strive to protect the remaining wild places of our world. The film is an oil painting animation.
Directed by Gianluca Abbate (ITL), 8 min.
A voice says "I would like to make you feel nice and comfortable, and to empty your mind of every single thought..." Thus begins the story, with an invitation to make you fall asleep, in a calm, deep, and peaceful rest, while a chaotic landscape, crowded with people, sets up on the screen. The crowd doesn't seem to have anywhere to go, but they are actually sleeping and they need to dream.
Directed by Michelle Brand (UK), 4 min.
People come, people go - Yet everyone is moving in the same direction. We all are sharing something that we are unaware of, creating one big picture we are unable to see.
The film explores the idea of how everyone is connected in a way we may not realise. By sharing time, space and movement, we overlap and create a bigger picture.
Directed by Petra de Nijs (INLD), 3 min.
letters made of ice form the word TIME:
slowly melting and fading away..
Directed by Nina Rath (IAUT), 3 min.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE is encouraging all people who are working for a better world and reminding them that they are part of the bigger picture. This poetry short film is made to boost the self-esteem of communities and individuals in order to take action on a global scale with joy, inspiration and love.