After the great success of the first Green Caravan Film Festival in 2009, organisers - Kuwait’s environmental consultants Equilibrium - have added a screening in Dubai for 2010. The program includes eight internationally acclaimed films, each of which takes aspects of the environment and sustainability as its core. Many of the films will make for uncomfortable viewing as we witness the impact our daily lives have on the world around us - but ultimately the festival aims, through adding to our greater knowledge, to spread a message of hope. Partnering with Equilibrium and supporting the festival are: UN-Habitat, UNDP, 350, KERA, tck tck tck, and Senyar. For full information visit www.thegreencaravan.com
(Robert Kenner, 2008)
The current method of raw food production is largely a response to the growth of the fast food industry since the 1950s. The production of food overall has more drastically changed since that time than the several thousand years prior. Controlled primarily by a handful of multinational corporations, the global food production business - with an emphasis on the business - has as its unwritten goals production of large quantities of food at low direct inputs (most often subsidized) resulting in enormous profits, which in turn results in greater control of the global supply of food sources within these few companies. Health and safety (of the food itself, of the animals produced themselves, of the workers on the assembly lines, and of the consumers actually eating the food) are often overlooked by the companies, and are often overlooked by government in an effort to provide cheap food regardless of these negative consequences.
The End of the Line
(Rupert Murray, 2009)
Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act.
In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.
It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.
Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.
One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo - on the trail of those destroying the world’s magnificent bluefin tuna population.
Filmed across the world - from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market - featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world.
Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.
The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.
The film lays the responsibility squarely on consumers who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is slow to react to an impending disaster.
The End of the Line points to solutions that are simple and doable, but political will and activism are crucial to solve this international problem.
(Josh Tickell, 2008)
Director Josh Tickell takes us along for his 11 year journey around the world to find solutions to America’s addiction to oil. A shrinking economy, a failing auto industry, rampant unemployment, an out -of-control national debt, and an insatiable demand for energy weigh heavily on all of us. Fuel shows us the way out of the mess we’re in by explaining how to replace every drop of oil we now use, while creating green jobs and keeping our money here at home. The film never dwells on the negative, but instead shows us the easy solutions already within our reach.
(Joe Berlinger, 2009)
Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous “Amazon Chernobyl” case, Crude is a real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking, exploring a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.
The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco - which merged with Chevron in 2001 - spent three decades systematically contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air and land. The plaintiffs allege that the pollution has created a “death zone” in an area the size of the Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, and a multiplicity of other health ailments. They further allege that the oil operations in the region contributed to the destruction of indigenous peoples and irrevocably impacted their traditional way of life. Chevron vociferously fights the claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication, perpetrated by “environmental con men” who are seeking to line their pockets with the company’s billions.
(Mai Iskander, 2009)
Filmed over four years, Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys - Adham, a bright precocious 17 year old; Osama, a charming impish 16 year old; Nabil, a shy artistic 18 year old - born into the trash trade and groghetto lon the world’s largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. It is a world folded onto itself, an impenetrable labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash; it is home to 60,000 Zaballeen, Egypt’s ‘garbage people’.
For generations, the residents of Cairo have depended on the Zaballeen to collect their trash, paying them only a minimal amount for their garbage collection services. The Zaballeen survive by recycling the city’s waste. These entrepreneurial garbage workers recycle 80% of all the garbage they collect, creating what is arguably the world’s most efficient waste disposal system.
When the city the keep clean suddenly decides to replace the Zaballeen with multinational garbage disposal companies, the Zaballeen community finds itself at a crossroads. Face to face with the globalization of their trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community.
Tides of War
(Michael McKinnon, 1992)
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the tragic loss of human life was compounded by a deliberate and massive sabotage of the environment. What had been called the “mother of all battles” was ultimately waged against the mother of all - the earth herself. “Tides of War” presents the rich and varied marine life of the Gulf, the delicate beauty of the desert and with the outbreak of war, follows the escalating catastrophe from the first oil slick to the capping of the last burning oil well. We reveal the relentless passage of the slicks along hundreds of miles of coastline, as they destroy the most productive habitats of the sea, turning the tidal shallows into a wasteland. Rescuers struggle to save thousands of polluted birds and to clean the beaches before the turtles return to their ancient breeding sites. Hundreds of burning wells flood the desert with ever expanding lakes of oil and create a vast wall of smoke and soot, confounding millions of migrating birds and blocking their traditional pathways along the Gulf. As the fire fighting teams confront the disaster we follow Kuwaiti Petroleum engineer, Sarah Akbar, and her colleagues as they battle to control the burning wells. No one can be sure how much of the desert will bloom again, whether the delicately poised ecology of the Gulf has been permanently disturbed, or when the bitter legacy of the Tides of War will be washed away.
(Marc Craste, 2008)
Adapted and directed by Studio aka’s Marc Craste, Varmints is a 24 minute film based on the award-winning book of the same name by Helen Ward and illustrated by Marc. Varmints tells the story of one small creature’s struggle to preserve a world in danger of being lost forever through recklessness and indifference.
Lost and Found
(Philip Hunt, 2008)
A magical tale of friendship and loneliness, which tells the story of a little boy who one day finds a penguin on his doorstep. Although at first he is unsure what to do, the boy becomes determined to help the penguin find his way back home...Even if that means rowing all the way to the South Pole!
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First Published in Men's Passion Issue #25 October 2010