Documentaries are always an important part of any film festival, and they can also become catalysts for social movements. Climate of Change premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and you can also watch it via Comcast On Demand right now to get a different kind of look at our worldwide environmental crisis. Many documentaries can be full of doom and gloom about the state of the Earth, but director Brian Hill has taken a much more optimistic view, showing us ordinary people around the world, from West Virginia to London to Africa to Mumbai, who are making a difference in their own communities. It’s not hopeless.
Hill expanded on his approach to making a positive film about the environment. “The guiding principle and the most important thing to me when i started making this film was that it shouldn’t be part of what I call the ‘apocalyptic tendency.’ I didn’t want to make a film that said the earth’s going to crash and burn, the deserts are encroaching, the seas are rising. I think An Inconvenient Truth was great, but you’ve seen that film. We don’t need another film that’s going to scare the crap out of people. So I didn’t want scientists, I didn’t want environmental experts, I didn’t want politicians. There are people who are doing something, there are people who are making a difference, there are people who are taking steps in their own lives, and it would be good to hear from them and have a film about them. The problem with the apocalyptic films is that they just scare people half to death and it makes people like rabbits frozen in the headlights. They feel as though they can’t do anything, the problem is so huge. So I’ve just made a film that says you can do something, you can make a difference just by changing your own behavior.”
Take a closer look at Climate of Change, and maybe you can start to see the global crisis as something we can tackle if we work together as a species, rather than some inevitable destruction of our way of life.
The best sign of hope is how children react to seeing this film. “I had a screening the other day for 500 New York schoolchildren,” Hill notes, “and it was just the best screening I’ve had. It was amazing. Of course, there were some who kept going to the bathroom or were not really paying attention, but a lot of them really paid attention and had really very interesting questions afterwards. How do you get people to change their behavior? You get kids to do it. The kids will put pressure on their parents and they themselves, as they grow up, will be behaving in ways that we can’t imagine now. That is the community we need to change, because people of a certain age aren’t very flexible.”
“Once you start doing it, you get used to it,” Hill says. “In the future, people will say ‘remember 20 years ago when people didn’t recycle? That was ridiculous. Do you remember 20 years ago when people would drink from plastic bottles? That was unbelievable.’ It’s just changing behavior over a period of time.”