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Inside The Climate Crisis Film Festival

Roar writer Bianca Jituboh on the Climate Crisis Film Festival 2021, and its importance in raising awareness and making change.

The Climate Crisis Film Festival is an annual film festival in the UK that highlights and showcases short films on climate change. This year was the third edition. The festival ran from November 1st to November 12th, in light of the COP26 conference. The aim of it is to portray “stunning, diverse, and eye-opening cinema, providing a systemic perspective behind the raw human stories of climate change”. It holds over 70+ films in over 30+ countries. The festival’s opening statements were delivered by Lily Cole, an environmental activist; Bill McKibben, an author; and Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, U.N Messenger of Peace.

The lack of proper climate change storytelling was one of the main arguments at the start of the festival, said Lily Cole, adding that it has played a critical part in enabling the crisis. Using storytelling as a means to curate change is a strategic approach, as it does a good job at opening people’s minds to complex issues and challenges, as well as bringing awareness and finding solutions. The festival also held its first-ever award for climate film by BIPOC and non-western filmmakers, in hopes to amplify underrepresented climate stories. The nominees for this year’s competition were: “Haulover: Separated” by Alvaro Cantillano; “Hawaiian Soul” by ‘Āina PaiKai; “To Calm the Pig Inside” by Joanna Vasquez Arong; and “Time and the Seashell” by Itandehui Jansen. The 2021 winner is “Hawaiian Soul”. The films originate from all corners of the world, including Nigeria, Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia, amongst many others.

A few of the Jurys for this year’s competition included: Marie Hélène Ndiaye, an artistic activism project coordinator; Gustavo García Solares, a filmmaker, musician, activist; and Sabine Matsheka, a communications expert, amongst many others. The festival also incorporated several speakers from all backgrounds to talk about their stories and involvements in climate change. A few of them included Abena Awuku-Labri, a lawyer, writer, artistic activist; June Gunluckiinimul Mills, an indigenous anti-fracking activist; and Kevin Aipopo, co-coordinator of the Pacific climate warriors Portland chapter, amongst many others.

The team behind the festival is the same as the one behind the Climate Crisis Hub, which is a digital platform for climate action and content. The event doesn’t only showcase films, but also holds Q&A sessions, VR experiences, and many more. Their website states that in 2020 85% felt more empowered to act and 72% thought it was inspiring.

The festival works with a handful of partners, with Doconomy as the presenting sponsor, Ocean Bottle as the award sponsor, Parley as the impact partner, and the British Council, Ethos, and Finisterre, along side many others, as media sponsors.

Volunteers are also welcomed, as the festival encourages people to apply and work by their side. In addition to raising awareness, there is also a donation section where people can feel free to donate any amount they want, which will go towards delivering the festival in person and online.

You can read more about the festival here.

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