The debate on cinema and climate change closes the roundtable discussion programme and highlights the responsibility of the seventh art in raising awareness of this serious problem
10/27/2017.- The 62nd edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival celebrated the Cinema and Climate Change Day on the eve of the closing of the festival, Friday, October 27, with a discussion on how cinema can raise awareness of the problem.
The debate, moderated by María Sánchez, Councilor for the Environment of the Valladolid City Council, was attended by experts Iván Trujillo, biologist and film director from Guadalajara (Mexico); the former president of Greenpeace Spain and a member of the Federal Executive Council of EQUO (the Spanish political green party), Juantxo López de Uralde, and Álvaro Longoria, producer and film director who focuses on documentaries about environmental and human rights issues.
Seminci’s commitment to the environment, which in recent years has manifested as a day dedicated to film and climate change, remains evident in 2017. Javier Angulo, director of the Valladolid Film Week, wanted to emphasize that young people have the power to change the situation and announced a new award, the Green Spike, which will be given in honor of environment-conscious cinema in the next edition of Seminci.
Encouraging environmentally conscious documentaries and fiction features, good practices at festivals, and that the administrations lead by example are the conclusions that should be taken away from the debate. “We have to dismantle the theory that sustainable practices are an expensive luxury,” said moderator María Sánchez. She added that “the problem is that it is not usually perceived as a problem, because climate change is not seen immediately, but as an apocalyptic vision. That’s why we have to resist, the processes are very long”.
All the speakers agreed that cinema has a wide impact on the environment, and that although it may have harmful side effects, it must be treated as a tool with which to reach the general public. Trujillo says that “there are still people who do not believe in climate change. We must train future directors, producers and screenwriters to be consistent and responsible with the repercussions of their works and thus to raise awareness,” and reinforce the idea of “appealing to the creativity of the filmmakers to achieve it”.
Additionally, director and film producer Álvaro Longoria noted a series of measures for the shootings in order to be able to carry them out in the future to promote sustainable film production such as: sharing cars among team members, recycling props, using renewable energy in offices and using local products that do not contain plastic.
One of the proposals that has been most welcomed by the guests of the debate was to try to bring legislative measures to Parliament and implement economic aid or punishment if the sustainable stimuli are not fulfilled in the shootings.
“That people get used to the best practices through films is fundamental. Cinema can make these sustainable solutions become popular culture,” Longoria said. In addition, he proposed the idea of creating a distinguished emblem, the Green Shooting Card, to certify which audiovisual projects carry out their productions in “an environmentally friendly way”.
Juantxo López affirmed that there is no longer a debate as to whether or not climate change is real, “that is why the future in cinema is painted dark and arid. What I believe is that when you think about how the cinema projects how the future is going to be, I see it as a desert where the protagonists live in caves.” Also, the former director of Greenpeace pointed out that “cinema projects what will be and what we are, but we lack knowing how to avoid it and how we got here”.
The Day of Cinema and Climate Change, in addition to this debate, screened two documentaries inspired by this theme. Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas, by Swedish director Joakim Demmer, which investigates land grabbing in Ethiopia and analyzes its impact on the people, and Thank You For The Rain, in which filmmaker Julia Dahr reflects the effects of climate change on families and places in Kenya.