A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, the follow-up to the watershed environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel, will make its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a Day One screening, part of The New Climate - a program dedicated to conversations and films about environmental change and conservation. The new documentary, directed by Sundance alumni Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, takes a riveting look at both the escalation of the climate change crisis and how close we are to a real solution.
The Honorable Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States, will also join the Festival’s Power of Story panel, a collaboration between Sundance Institute and The Redford Center, with former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, producer Heather Rae (Frozen River*, RISE*), social entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeff Skoll, and environmentalist and scientist Dr. David Suzuki. A conversation between these prominent figures, who bring decades of direct experience with climate change and its effects, will be moderated by Democracy Now! journalist and broadcaster Amy Goodman on January 22, and live-streamed from Park City, Utah’s Egyptian Theatre at Sundance.org.
“This film and the 13 other films and projects that are part of The New Climate slate this year add a new chapter to our legacy of showcasing stories on the environment and climate change. When my team and I first watched this film, we were taken by its complete, sensitive and cinematic presentation of the issues. It was emotional to see the scope our world’s problems — and heartening to see the potential for progress,” said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival.
The New Climate includes 14 documentaries, short films and virtual reality experiences across the Festival’s categories, and marks the first time that Festival programmers have focused efforts to highlight a specific cause.
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The timing of the An Inconvenient Sequel and The New Climate couldn’t better, with the Trump administration being sworn into office on Friday, January 20th, one day after the start of the Festival. It sends a clear message that climate change is real and that efforts to push forward a low-carbon, circular economy and renewable energy will continue, regardless of the president-elect’s fossil fuel-friendly policies and staffing choices, and hostile feelings towards the EPA.
“I believe that storytelling is the greatest platform for getting people to care and take action on some of the most pressing issues of our time. Amid escalating threats to our environment, independent perspectives are adding the depth and dimension needed for us to find common ground and real solutions,” said Robert Redford, president and founder of Sundance Institute.
Environmental films and projects showcased at the Festival in recent years include The Cove, Gasland, Chasing Ice, Racing Extinction, and Collisions. The 2017 films for The New Climate are as follows:
Chasing Coral / U.S.A. (Director**: Jeff Orlowski**) — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. World Premiere. (U.S. Documentary)
The Diver / Mexico (Director: Esteban Arrangoiz) — Julio César Cu Cámara is the chief diver in the Mexico City sewer system. His job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage that flows into the gutters to maintain the circulation of sewage waters. (Short Films)
Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre / U.S.A. (Director: Jack Henry Robbins, Screenwriters: Jack Henry Robbins, Nunzio Randazzo) — One of the first films in American cinema to address climate change, Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre was originally a hardcore porno. All sex scenes have been removed as to not distract from the conscious message. (Short Films)
Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry / U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell) — This cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture is seen through the mind’s eye of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. (Spotlight)
Melting Ice / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Danfung Dennis) — We take viewers on a transcendent exploration into the devastating consequences of climate change on Greenland's ice sheet. Stand under collapsing glaciers, next to raging rivers of ice melt and witness rising sea levels—all visceral warnings of our planet's future. (New Frontier: Virtual Reality)
Plastic China / China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang) — Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. (World Documentary)
Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman / U.S.A. (Directors: Susan Froemke, John Hoffman, Beth Aala) — From the Montana Rockies to the wheat fields of Kansas and the Gulf of Mexico, families who work the land and sea are crossing political divides to find unexpected ways to protect the natural resources vital to their livelihoods. These are the new heroes of conservation, deep in America's heartland. World Premiere. (Documentary Premieres)
RISE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Latimer) — This vibrant and immersive documentary series explores the front lines of indigenous resistance. Episodes "Apache Stronghold," "Sacred Water" and "Red Power" examine factors that threaten indigenous liberation in the 21st century. A series of contrasts, this series is both a condemnation of colonialism and a celebration of indigenous peoples. World Premiere. (Special Events)
Tree / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Milica Zec, Winslow Porter, Key Collaborators: Aleksandar Protic, Jacob Kudsk Steensen) — This virtual experience transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as the branches and body as the trunk, you experience the tree’s growth from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. (New Frontier: Virtual Reality)
Trophy / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz, Co-Director: Christina Clusiau) — This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities. World Premiere. (U.S. Documentary)
Visions of an Island / U.S.A. (Director: Sky Hopinka) — Indigenous and foreign presences coexist on an Alaskan island in the center of the Bering Sea. (Short Films)
Water & Power: A California Heist / U.S.A. (Director: Marina Zenovich) — In California's convoluted water system, notorious water barons find ways to structure a state-engineered system to their own advantage. This examination into their centers of power shows small farmers and everyday citizens facing drought and a new, debilitating groundwater crisis. World Premiere. (U.S. Documentary)