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5 Films for Earth Day

Today we’re celebrating Earth Day – an annual event dedicated to environmental protection. First started in 1970, this environmental movement annually mobilises over 1 billion people from over 190 countries towards undertaking positive action for our planet. We dig into the Aesthetica Film Library to share five thought-provoking films that explore our relationship with the Earth, from poetic animations on the bonds between people and animals to powerful documentaries on change-makers.


Time-lapse photography and CGI animation evocatively combine to show Mother Nature at work. Directed by Florian Wittmann, Falko Paeper and Roman Kaelin, this stunning 2015 experimental film begins as moss grows on a dead rodent lying prone on a busy city street. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, foliage creeps across the pavements and roads until the natural world blends with the urban metropolis. A symbolic look at the delicate balance between mankind and nature.

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Danger Overhead Powerlines

Directed by Mia Mullarkey, this 2013 documentary is a call-to-arms following the plight of Teresa Treacy. In 2016, the ESB contacted her to say it would be erecting pylons across her land, cutting down several acres of forest. She refused, requesting that the power lines be run underground. In 2011, she went to prison for this, during which time the ESB felled nearly 1800 trees on her land.

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Nature House Inc.

Multidisciplinary artist Nick Jordan’s work explores the interconnections between cultural, social and natural ecologies. In 2013, he unveiled Nature House Inc., looking at the proliferation of bird houses, built to attract “America’s most wanted bird” – the Purple Martin. Jordan’s extraordinary film offers a glimpse of how over one million Americans have installed these Purple Martin boxes. As a result, these migratory birds are now entirely dependent on man-made shelters during their breeding season.

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Tears of Inge

Alisi Telengut works in the animation field, using hand-made and painterly visuals to create her worlds. This poetic, lyrical 2013 short is based on a real Mongolian nomadic story, offering a profound look at the relationship between humans and animals. Hauntingly scored, it tells of how some camels reject their young at childbirth, due to the pain, and how camel herders play music and sing songs to help the animals accept their young.

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Starring the brilliant BAFTA-winning actress Monica Dolan (Appropriate Adult), 2017’s Fern is a gentle comedy from writer-director Johnny Kelly (Procrastination). After losing her husband, a woman finds comfort and friendship from an everyday houseplant. It can paint, feed you sushi or even hand you a loo role! Still, this communion has its downsides, as jealousy takes hold and things start to get ugly. The Day of the Triffids had nothing on this, a clever mix of humour and human drama.

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Earth Day is an annual event held on 22 April. Find out more.

Stream these independent shorts and more in the Aesthetica Film Library.

Words: James Mottram