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Two weeks later, Hurricane Iota did the same.
In the months that followed, Alvaro Cantillano filmed residents as they decided whether to rebuild their homes from the rubble despite the increasing risk of extreme weather, or to relocate and restart their lives elsewhere.
The final shots of Haulover: Separated are gut-wrenching. Those who stayed behind silently congregate on the beach as towering dark clouds gather and a new storm approaches.
To Calm the Pig Inside deserves accolades for its title alone. In the Philippines, ‘buwa’ is a giant, mythological subterranean swine.
“When angry, they say the earth trembles,” says the young narrator of the film by Joanna Vasquez Arong, that reconciles legends and memories with the devastation wreaked by monsoons, exploring how people cope with historical – or sudden – trauma.
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We can all hear the sea while holding a shell to our ear, but in Time and the Seashell characters can also connect to the past and the future. Mexican director Itandehui Jansen’s film sees a young boy imagining his future, and
an older man recalling his past while they listen to the same shell.
The top prize, winning the Ocean Bottle Film Award, was awarded to Hawaiian Soul, about the musician George Helm, who became a pioneering environmental activist in the 1970s.
For decades, the American military used the island of Kaho‘olawe for bombing practice. The film focuses on the moment Helm found his voice. In 1977 Helm disappeared while travelling to the island. Circumstances are still unexplained.
Director Āina Paikai, beaming in from Hawaii, said: “We want to follow his lead, using the love we have in our culture to show and share with other folks what it means to have appreciation for a place.”
After the event, the audience checked their phones to see if, across the river, any deal had been struck. It would take another 24 hours for delegates to decide whether coal should be phased down or out.
Their time would have been better spent watching these films. Setting targets for decades away won’t help. For millions around the world, the climate emergency is not a hypothetical future but a reality right now.
The solutions aren’t secret, their implementation not impossible. So what’s the problem? Mark Decena, a filmmaker and activist from the US, perhaps summed up best the role and responsibility art has.
“We need all these forms of storytelling to make the change we need to see,” he said. “Not just a cart full of facts – a parade wagon of facts dressed as poetry and music and narrative drama and plays and podcasts. We need it all to create that emotional shift in consciousness.”
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