Film Can Change The World
Last night I organised a film screening of Chasing Ice. It's a feature length documentary about a renowned photographer by the name of James Balog, who has dedicated much of his life to photographing glaciers all over the world. The film demonstrated in no uncertain terms the scope of the melting and retreating glaciers that we all know about. It was hard-hitting. When the film finished the audience sat through the credits without stirring. There was an uncomfortable pause for a few seconds and then a spontaneous round of applause - that doesn't happen very often. Then Jenny from the National Trust, where the event was being held, jumped in before anybody got out of their seats and opened a bit of discussion about the film, what it meant, and most importantly, what we can do. It was an interesting discussion that went on for about 15 minutes or so. Good though the film was I think I drew more from the discussion afterwards than I had from the footage. That's not to say that the film wasn't any good - it must have been to have prompted the applause and the discussion, but that talking things through with like-minded people helps to galvanise things. The one theme that kept comping up in the discussion was what can we do about it? Somebody pointed out that it needs government to enact major change and government won't enact that change until the enough of the people tell them to. Sounds obvious when somebody else says it out loud. Smoking and the Ozone layer were used as examples to prove that such change can happen, despite it looking for all the world like it can't. The other thread that came through loud and clear was that it is important for our kids to be watching films like this, not just because they will be more affected than us, but that they have more time to do something about it.
At the start of the film was a trailer for Popupcinema who I had rented the film from. It was a montage of lots of hard hitting documentaries and finished with the slogan 'Film Can Change The World'. Watching the trailer, then the film, then the discussion, this hit home. I'll be suggesting to my kids' school that they get the older kids to watch the film and have sown the seeds in my own mind for a much bigger project. After all, I organise events and put on film screenings for the public. If film can change the world, then maybe I am in a strong position to help hurry that change along.
I'd recommend that you watch the film. And also another: The Age Of Stupid. And get your kids to watch them too. They are depressing on the one hand, but with a little discussion and reflection, turn out to be quite the opposite!