Known for showcasing captivating independent documentary films which explore the whole spectrum of environmental causes, concerns and debates, the annual UK Green Film Festival returns for its fifth year. Taking place in a network of cinemas across the country, from the Scottish Highlands to London, Wales and Northern Ireland, the festival aims to inspire and entertain a nationwide audience. Sponsored by Friends Of The Earth, the festival programme consists of seven feature length documentaries from all over the world, including one European premiere and five UK premieres.
Bikes vs Cars from Swedish director Fredrik Gertten, makes its European debut direct from SXSW, and looks at the power of the humble bicycle to be a driving force of change in our traffic-choked cities. It investigates the work of activists and citizens in urban areas across the world to bring about a revolution on our daily commute – from the battle for safe bike lanes in Sao Paulo and Los Angeles to Copenhagen, where 40 per cent of the population cycle to work daily.
In Good Things Await from Denmark’s Phie Ambo, idealistic farmer Niels Stokholm, who is fast approaching 80, and his wife Rita have always run their farm in accordance with strict biodynamic principles, which means that not only is their produce sought out by the best restaurants in the world, but that their unorthodox methods bring them in to regular conflict with the authorities.
The crisis of a growing mega-city of 22 million people which is not water-sustainable is the subject of H20mx from Jose Cohen and Lorenzo Hagerman. Mexico City relies on supplies being brought in from other states. The film is a case study of the city’s struggle to meet the demands of its population and raises the question of whether the citizens can be mobilised to transform their environment.
Divide in Concord from US director Kris Kaczor follows another fiery senior citizen, octogenarian Jean Hill who, concerned about the vast dumping ground of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has led a campaign since 2010 to slash the usage of plastic water bottles in her home town. The film follows a crunch meeting and nail-biting vote in the teeth of opposition from the bottled water industry.
A French/Chinese collaboration directed by Antoine Boutet, Sud Eau Nord Déplacer is an epic journey along the world’s largest water transfer project, the Nan Shui Bei Diao, an audacious attempt by the Chinese authorities to re-route nature by constructing a vast pipeline from the South to the North of the country, displacing and impacting communities along the way.
In Seeds Of Time from the USA’s Sandy McLeod, agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food, as crops around the world fail and varieties threaten to die out as the effects of climate change take hold. Fowler embarks on a journey to save a resource we cannot live without: our seeds.
Finally, in Above All Else, one man risks everything to stop a tar sands oil pipeline from crossing his land in rural East Texas, becoming a national rallying point for climate protesters as David Daniel stands up to corporate power and embarks on a tree-top blockade.
UK Green Film Festival, 3 – 10 May, various cinemas across the UK.
For more, visit www.ukgreenfilmfestival.org.
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