Be inspired for sustainable and positive change



This blog post was originally published on Weekend Notes. 

Environmental Film Festival Australia (EFFA) is more than just a film festival; it is a catalyst for positive and sustainable change. EFFA has searched the world to bring inspiring environmental films and perspectives to Melbourne screens, and is also showcasing some outstanding Australian environmental short films.

It's on from October 12th – 19th, and this year is looking to be the most impressive and diverse program yet, with 16 feature films which are all screening with an Australian short film. The films have been selected to get viewers thinking and questioning, and this year there will be panel discussions and debates to get audiences asking and talking, with selected films. There are also interactive virtual reality screenings which take you on a fully immersive environmental expedition under the canopy, into the air or beneath the ice.

And if that isn't enough, for the first time at EFFA, a new initiative launching this year is the Reel Impact Filmmakers Industry Day. This is a full day of events for established and emerging practitioners to learn from leading figures in the world of environmental film about how they can be a part of the change.

Whether you enjoy documentaries about nature, you're an environmental activist or an enthusiastic film producer, this film festival has something for everyone. So mark it in your diary and book tickets now, so you don't miss out. You can also follow on facebook for any updates.

Opening night

Opening night is Thursday October 12th from 6:30 pm. This year's line-up begins with the Australian premiere of Carnage, which is a horror-comedy mockumentary about a dystopian all-vegan future by Director Simon Amstell. Set in the year 2067 in Britain where everyone is now vegan. This part mockumentary, part quirky sci-fi is a brilliant satirical look at what a vegan future might look like. This hilarious comedy also gives an intelligent provocation that will provide food for thought for even the most ardent carnivores.

Tickets to Carnage are $49 (plus booking fee) which includes free food and drinks and a celebration in conjunction to the film. Ticket details are here.

Feature films

Wild Plants explores the lives of people who've chosen to abandon consumer society and return to nature. Set in Switzerland, Wild Plants offers a glimpse into an entirely different way of living in the world. Would learning that plants possess consciousness, sentience, and memory change the way we interact with the world around us?

Let there be Light, is a thought-provoking glimpse into an exciting renewable energy technology that just might save the world. The screening will be introduced by the director, and followed by a panel discussion: "Powering a changing world - the great energy debate".

The Swirl is set in Mexico. A flooding disaster occurs which heighten peoples interest in discovering more about the wild weather of the region and what that means for the people who live within it. Looking at social and ecological impact, the transgender female main character helps make this film a winner!

Connection to Country, Indigenous people in the Pilbara fight to protect Australia's 40,000 year-old rock art site. The traditional landowners are fighting back to save this heritage sight from destruction. This screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Drokpa, set in Tibet, this film portrays a nomadic family dealing with drying up of soil. Drokpa is an illustrative of the universal issues of gender, freedom, adaptation to a changing climate and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Borneo Case, follows an unlikely group of activists investigating illegal logging and money laundering in Malaysia's Borneo rainforest in this eye-opening documentary. This screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Michael Pescott, The Forest Trust (TFT) and Julia Mylne, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Honey, Rain & Dust, three of the best honeybee trackers in Ras al-Khaimah face a series of challenges as bees begin to die off, and collecting honey becomes harder than ever before. 

Dead Donkeys Fear no Hyenas, a gripping investigative documentary into the shocking all-out war over Ethiopia's immensely valuable farmland. This screening will be followed by a panel discussion: "Whose land is it anyway?"

I stand: The Guardians of the Water, the Rock Sioux a tribe of Dakota fight for the protection of their sacred land and water against the U.S. government's plan to construct an oil pipeline through their land.

Remote Sense, is a special event screening in the dome at Scienceworks (Spotswood) which will give an AV experience from visual artist Jonny Knox and audio from collaborator and Ecuadorian sound designer, Darien Brito. Visuals have drawm inspiration from prehistoric artists who painted in 360 degrees. The work follows artistic process of entoptic phenomena which inspired mysterious yet familiar geometric and abstract Neolithic art.

Voices from Chernobyl is a portrait of the wandering spirits that roam the desolate ruins of Ukraine's most historically controversial milieu. It is based on the book by Svetlana Alexievich, who is the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Food Coop, is about the Park Slope Food Coop which is a cooperative supermarket where all 16,000 members work 3 hours per month to earn the right to buy the best food in New York at incredibly low prices.

Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival. Haraway outlines some of her boldest ideas to date. Her work has inspired feminists, academics, and environmentalists to challenge normative structures and boundaries.

Brasilia: Life After Design, tells the story of a city in conflict between its environment and its people. A true modernist experiment, Brasilia is considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and so despite population growth, the city plan
itself cannot change.

Tickets are between $12-20 (plus booking fee), concessions and member discounts also apply. There are also mulit-passes which offer discounts if you see a number of the films, which is good because there are so many great films to choose from!

Industry Day

Industry Day is Saturday October 14th, 11.30 am to 6.30 pm. This is a full day of events for established and emerging practitioners to learn from leading figures in the world of environmental film. A number of expert question and answer panels will also be held in conjunction with featured film screenings, giving the audience an open and direct avenue to finding out more about the environmental issues on screen, and how they can be a part of the change.

  • In conversation with Mila Aung-Thwin will talk about his filmmaking process, his thoughts on making environmentally themed productions and how he chooses his subjects.
  • Making a Splash (and how to keep swimming), join the conversation with established environmental filmmakers reflecting on what they've learnt since their first enviro film, their experiences, making an impact with their work, and their thoughts on the current state of the industry.
  • Catalysing Change with Environmental Films, many environmental films are made with a mind to generate awareness that leads to improved environmental outcomes. But how effective can enviro-films be, and are we making the most of film's potential?
  • Communicating Environmental Issues, will look at how we can communicate environmental and sustainability issues with video to generate more empathy and create change.
  • Funding in a Changing Climate, these days most significant productions start with a crowd-funding campaign. What makes a successful campaign and what does a fundraising plan for an environmental documentary look like?
  • Industry Networking @ The ACMI bar & café, connect with environmental video and film practitioners, communicators, educators and eNGO employees for the opportunity to discuss the ideas raised during the day's sessions.

Full day pass is $65, individual sessions $18 (plus booking fee). Here is the ticket information