The UnEarthed category: Beautiful nature and the global fight for the environment
This year, the festival will also offer a cross-section of many topics related to the environment, nature, and sustainability under the UnEarthed category. If you're interested in environmental action, beautiful nature, or the impact of human activity on our planet, then this category is just for you.
In the documentary The North Drift, director Steffen Krones decides to track the path of plastic waste from continental Europe to the cliffs of the Norwegian Lofoten archipelago. How does a beer bottle from Germany end up in the pristine landscape beyond the Arctic Circle? The Dresden-based filmmaker and his friends build unique buoys equipped with GPS locators to observe how the European river network connects to the ocean. Steffen transforms what was originally a solo initiative inspired by his horror over the fact that European waste pollutes even the planet’s remotest corners, into a scientific project involving engineers, oceanographers, and the public. Breathtaking shots of the majestic Norwegian landscape and scenes of team enthusiasm from following the route of the buoys alternate with shocking images of mounds of plastic occupying a landscape previously untouched by civilization.
Liang Zhao's film I'm So Sorry presents scenic images from Fukushima and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It forms a poetic mosaic of the other side of nuclear energy, showing the thin line between progress and self-destruction on which humanity is balancing. After the nuclear disaster, all the locals left the contaminated area around Chernobyl in Ukraine – except for Ivan, who is still living and digging flowerbeds here in the post-apocalyptic scenery. While anti-nuclear demonstrations are taking place in Japan and Germany is closing its last nuclear plants, elsewhere nuclear power is on the rise. How long can our planet feed the growing demand for energy? How safe are nuclear power plants today, really? And what will happen to the accumulated radioactive waste?
Young students fight against self-destruction in the Danish film 70/30, directed by Phie Ambo. In 2019, student activists in Denmark were able to make climate change the theme of parliamentary elections. The country then issued one of the world’s most ambitious climate plans: a law that intends to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030. The film goes behind the scenes of the preparation of a breakthrough law, dramatic political negotiations, and the tireless efforts of student activists. All have the same goals but different ideas about how to attain them. Also, the adoption of the Climate Act doesn’t mean the battle has been won. Denmark is the EU’s biggest petroleum and natural gas producer, an activity that brings billions of dollars into the country annually, and so actually achieving carbon neutrality remains elusive. Will Danish politicians, activists, and petroleum industry representatives find common ground and transform the contents of the Climate Act into reality?
The International Competition Jury Award for the Best Director was presented to The Myanmar Film Collective for the film Myanmar Diaries