Showcasing local and international documentaries aimed at empowering audiences to build a better world, the films in this year’s program cover a broad range of themes including: the future of food, ocean health, big data, online privacy, climate change, animal welfare, renewable energy, social justice and the revolutionary potential of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence.
The Festival opens with the Australian festival premiere of Food Fighter – a powerful Australian feature about the unstoppable Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, and her epic battle to end food waste in Australia, and closes with Albatross – the highly anticipated debut feature film from internationally acclaimed artist and activist Chris Jordan, which explores the devastating consequences of plastics on our oceans and wildlife.
The accelerating threats and impacts of climate change are explored in Thank You For the Rain – a profound story about a Kenyan farmer and the effects of climate change on his family; Chasing Coral – which sees director Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice) focus his attention on the bleaching of our reefs; and Living in the Future’s Past – which follows Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges as he delves into the worlds of dark ecology, entropy and the end of nature to help us understand our place in the world.
The solutions to our environmental predicaments are on display in Third Industrial Revolution – a Vice Impact feature documentary which presents visionary environmentalist and economist Jeremy Rifkin’s roadmap for a utopian future; Guardians of The Earth – which gives audiences an intimate glimpse behind the closed doors of the Paris Climate Agreement negotiations and Unfractured – which follows ‘toxic avenger’ Sandra Steingraber as she leads one of New York’s largest grassroots movements in history.
Operation Jeedara – an Australian documentary narrated by Bob Brown, celebrates the mission of a brave crew as they set out to protect the Great Australian Bight from the destructive impacts of oil pollution; and The Race is On follows British filmmakers, James Dike and Paul Mapel as they lay out the societal changes needed to create a sustainable economy by 2040.
The history and future of how humanity will feed itself is also a central theme of this year’s Festival. Evolution of Organic – the latest film from the makers of A Fierce Green Fire, paints an endearing portrait of the founders of the organic food movement; The Gateway Bug follows cricket-as-protein start-ups and investigates the potential of insects to radically improve our global food system; and Empathy follows a quirky Spanish filmmaker on his journey to understand the relationship between humans and animals.
Women’s empowerment is celebrated in Amplify Her – which majestically explores the power of femininity and the role of women in the electronic music industry; and Big Dream – which follows the stories of seven young women as they pursue their passions in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Other highlights include Bending the Arc – which follows two Harvard medical students on their quest to eradicate tuberculosis and AIDS in Haiti, Peru and Rwanda; Last Animals – a visceral adventure story about the humans struggling to protect our endangered species; 500 Years – which tells the sweeping saga of Mayan resistance and activism in Guatemala; and Within Formal Cities – which explores the revolutionary power of well-thought-out architecture to improve the lives of some of the world’s most impoverished citizens.
The mind-boggling implications of rapid technological advancement are explored in SuperSapiens – Rise of the Mind, a feature documentary starring Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Nick Bostrom and Ben Goertzel – about the moral and ethical implications of merging man with machine; You’re Soaking In It – which looks at the new face of advertising in a world of big data and limited privacy; and Free Lunch Society – a film about the history and future of Universal Basic Income as a solution to the automation economy and the end of jobs.
The Festival also features a number of industry and networking nights including Blockchain For Good – presented by Academy Xi, and VR for Positive Change – presented by Real World VR, with both events taking place at Loop Project Space and Bar in the CBD.
Special guests of the Festival include Ronni Kahn and Dan Goldberg (Food Fighter), Ian Mackenzie (Amplify Her), Johanna Kelly and Cameron Marshad (The Gateway Bug), Eliza Muirhead and Tim Watters (Operation Jeedara) as well as many of Melbourne’s leading artists, activists, entrepreneurs and academics. The complete program includes over 27 feature documentaries, including 20 Australian premieres, as well as a speaker program featuring foremost sustainability academics, artists and entrepreneurs.
The Transitions Film Festival runs from the 22 February to 9 March 2018 at Cinema Nova before touring a selection of films to Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Darwin. In Melbourne, the Festival takes place as part of the Sustainable Living Festival Australia, which runs throughout February. For more information, visit: www.transitionsfilmfestival.com for details.
Image: You’re Soaking In It (supplied)