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Waterbury-based SunCommon hosts Climate Crisis-Themed Film Festival | Film | Seven Days
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Waterbury-based SunCommon hosts Climate Crisis-Themed Film Festival | Film | Seven Days

"A Story About Bread" - COURTESY


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"A Story About Bread" - COURTESY

  • Courtesy
  • “A Story About Bread”

A Vermont-based solar energy company believes storytelling has the power of bringing people into the climate movement.

According to Tavit Geoudelekian, integrated market director at Waterbury-based Solar Energy Installer, films about sustainability can be a powerful way to spread that message. SunCommon.

He stated, “We have always relied in the power storytelling to bring people in the solar energy revolution.”

The third annual Climate Action Film FestivalSunCommon hosts the virtual event. It takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, 16 and 17. The festival features 10 short documentary films from around the globe about climate action. Each night, five films will be shown in a 45-minute block. Then, 15 to 20 minutes of prerecorded discussion with the filmmakers of that night’s closing film will follow.

This year’s festival will feature films that focus on broad themes such as youth activism and food. Geudelekian, who also serves as festival director, stated that the festival’s goal is to make climate activism more accessible to everyday people.

He said, “We have to make climate action feel relatable and possible.”

All proceeds from the festival over two days will be split among two local climate action groups: 350 Vermont, a direct action group based in Burlington, and NY Renews, which is a coalition made up of approximately 300 environmental change organizations scattered throughout the state of New York.

Each of the two first festivals raised more that $5,000 through pay-as you-want tickets. Geudelekian said organizers hope for a similar result.

The animated six-minute “Only a Child” film was included. It is an animated accompaniment to the speech by Severn Cullis Suzuki, a youth activist, at Rio de Janeiro’s 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Simone Giampaolo, a Swiss director, divided the speech into 20 segments. Each segment is animated by a different artist using a different style. It’s a mix of CGI, stop-motion animation, sandanimation, and CGI, according to the filmmaker.

In a conversation Seven DaysGiampaolo stated that it was exciting to be part of a film festival focusing on environmental issues. “It’s a vital topic to be discussed,” he stated, noting that his film “addresses adults who haven’t done enough in 30 years to truly preserve nature and the environment.”

Giampaolo explained that the director had begun the film in early 2019, and finished it by mid-2020. The pandemic closed many festivals and complicated its release. The short was recognized at several festivals, including the Los Angeles Animation Festival, Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, and Oscar-qualifying festivals, such as Aspen Film. Giampaolo also had the opportunity to show the film during COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference at Glasgow.

Other films featured at the festival include “7 Hectares Back”, which tells the story about an accountant who quit his job in order to restore forest habitats in Ecuador. “A Story About Bread” explores how bread could be a culprit in the planet’s climate crisis.

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“EVE” gives a glimpse into the life of a 9 year old girl who lives in one the oldest off-the grid communities in the United Kingdom. “Green the City” features a St. Louis pastor who embraces renewable energy after seeing how coal emissions are affecting his parishioners.

“Melina” is a documentary about Melina Riccio from Italy, who has spent her entire life cleaning up the waste that has infiltrated every corner of the globe. “Rigged: A Workers’ Story” is a story about oil workers in the United Kingdom who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decline of the oil industry.

“They Keep Quiet, So We Make Noise,” a group of activists fights against the tsunami of plastic waste coming from Malaysia. “Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park” focuses on a mission to plant 1,000,000 mangrove trees in Myanmar. It also aims at reducing 500 million tons of carbon dioxide. “Youth vs. Apocalypse,” a documentary about a youth group that marched to protest climate change at San Francisco’s Federal Building.

The festival’s 10 shorts were selected from more than 200 climate action films. On the first night, Eve Tizard, Eve Tizard’s mother, and the makers of EVE will participate in the post-screening discussion. The second night will feature the makers from “A Story About Bread.”

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"Only a Child" - COURTESY

The Climate Action Film Festival opened in Burlington on February 6, 2020. Nine films were screened at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. The organizers had planned to show the films at the Marquis Theatre, Middlebury, Rhinebeck, and Woodstock, N.Y. However, these events were cancelled at the outbreak of the pandemic.

Geudelekian claims that the 2021 festival was a success in its online format. Hundreds of people watched the livestream every night, and the films received a few thousand more views over the following weeks. Due to uncertainty over the future of the Delta surge pandemic, the directors decided to continue with a virtual format in 2022.

Geudelekian stated that while it was thrilling to fill the Burlington theater with people at the 2020 festival, he believes that the online format provides a valuable opportunity for the films to be seen to a wider audience.

“People still enjoy streaming from home in some ways. He said that this platform allows us to reach many people. Tickets for the festival allow access to the films and conversations with the filmmakers up to March 27.

Geudelekian stated that SunCommon’s concern for the climate crisis goes beyond its role as a solar installer. Geudelekian said that storytelling is working well for SunCommon as a brand.[It is]This is a great way to get people to join the movement.


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