Last Thursday I attended a first of its kind event: The world premiere of SunCommon’s Climate Action Film Festival. My friends and colleagues working the event buzzed with excitement. They had spent the better part of 2019 working towards this moment. And I’d never seen a movie theatre lobby so charged with activist energy. I felt and observed in people’s eyes a seeking look. The films inspired in many of us a desire to go out and do more—for our communities and the world.
“We recognize that the crisis that we’re facing with the climate right now is sort of beyond our individual voice, and so the goal was to bring together a lot of other voices to inspire others to get involved with the movement.”
— Patrick McCormack, CAFF Creative Director
The curation team did a phenomenal job of selecting a diverse group of films showing many different ways of taking action. Each one is important, because there isn’t a single silver bullet for solving climate change. We need each kind of activism displayed in the nine films, and more! We need people researching how to keep carbon in the soil, and farmers willing to adopt new practices. We need people in communities across the world rallying together to say “No”tonew fossil fuel infrastructure.
Today, visual storytelling—be it on TV or social media—is key to communicating one’s message across the far reaches of the media landscape. In a crowded infinite scrolling feed and endless streaming, all this content can feel ephemeral. The potency and urgency of issues we ought to care about gets lost in the shuffle.
When you’re sitting in a theater with two hundred other people, however, something is different. There is an energy that instills in one a feeling that you want to start doing. Even as someone already working for a local solar company, I had to ask myself, am I actually doing enough?
I was humbled by the quiet intensity of older climate activistsmore than anything, throughout these nine films, single-handedly halting the flow of Alberta tar sands into the United States. Even though they knew it meant a prison sentence, the “climate emergency” felt more important to them.
The pure solidarity demonstrated in Water Warriors by New Brunswick activists and native tribes fighting a natural gas company pricked tears and roused cheers from the audience.
But more than anything, throughout these nine films, I was struck by the willingness of people to dedicate their bodies, time, and resources to the greater good.
So when we gathered in the lobby after the lights came up, the question on everybody’s lips was, “Now what?”
Tickets are still available for CAFF Screenings in Vermont and New York!