Nan Shui Bei Diao - South to North Water Transfer

Nan Shui Bei Diao - South to North Water Transfer

Image by Sud Eau Nord Deplacer

Daniel Nelson

Quality not quantity is the aim of the Green Film Festival. So this year’s event has the same number of films as last year, seven, but they are showing in more cities and venues.

“We put together a short, concise programme of the best films we can find on environmental issues and then we try to get them to as many people as possible,” says festival director Dan Beck.

“It’s the strongest programme we’ve ever out together,” which he says reflects the increasing number of good environmental films being made.

The programme boasts five UK premieres and a European premiere for Bikes v Cars, which launches the festival on 3 May.

Beck says that only Seeds Of Time, about an agricultural pioneer’s race against time to protect the future of our food, is not a premiere. It missed the festival last year but “we love it so much that we wanted to show it in as many places as we can this year”.

Campaign-led documentaries generally make good viewing, and this year’s battlers include octogenarian Jean Hill, spearhead of a grassroots campaign to ban the sale of plastic bottled water in her US hometown of Concord, Massachusetts.

“It’s emotionally compelling in Divide in Concord to see such a committed individual receive such a battering from large corporations and local people lobbying against her and what she’s trying to achieve – it’s a real battle on a local level between residents.”

Above All Else also puts a human face on a campaign: that of David Daniel as he rallies neighbours and environmental activists to join him in a tree-top blockade of an oil pipeline from crossing his land. 

“If you want to see people out in the world making a difference, these are the films,” Beck says, but he also points to “incredibly artistic films in the programme”, such as  Sud Eau Nord Déplacer, which follows the world's largest water transfer project, between southern and northern China.

Beck emphasises that “We don’t see ourselves as a campaign charity. We see ourselves more as educating and entertaining people - as a conversation-starter for people who aren’t so exposed to environmental issues.

“That’s why our partnership with Friends of the Earth is so important to us, because they are an extremely experienced campaigning organisation.

“People come to our films as a result of their connection to Friends of the Earth and learn more about what they can do, learn more about the issues and educate themselves further.”

London screenings for the Green Film Festival, Sunday 3-Sunday 10 May: Bikes v Cars, investigates the daily global drama in traffic around the world, Rio, 3pm, 3 May,  Vue Islington, 8pm, 7 May; Divide In Concord, a fiery octogenarian spearheads a grassroots campaign to ban the sale of plastic bottled water in her hometown, 6pm; 3 MayGood Things Await, a Danish holistic farmer runs into opposition, Bloomsbury Curzon, 7pm; 10 May;  H2Omx, can mega-Mexico be water-sustainable?, Crouch End Arthouse, 6.30pm; 6 MayAbove All Else, one man's attempt to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline from crossing his land, Vue Islington, 7pm, 5 May.  


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