ECO-LENS AT DIFF 2010
Shout-Africa Arts News
Filmmakers are key agents in keeping a watchful eye on not just on social and political issues but on environmental abuse that often slips unobtrusively into our daily lives. A number of films at this year’s Durban International Film Festival conscientise us about the need for integrated approaches to development, and the threats to human ecology and environmental balance.
With genetic modification shifting global food production increasingly further from nature, Scientists Under Attack is an important exposure of the influence of big corporates in the active suppression of information and how scientists must put their careers on the line just to bring you the truth about what you consume.
Carlos Franciso’s American Foulbrood looks at the crippling effects of a deadly disease on African honey bees and its possible impact on food production in South Africa.
When the water that comes out of your taps turns to flame you know something is wrong – the highly entertaining Sundance Jury Prize Winner Gasland explores the shocking consequences of massive natural gas drilling across the USA. Koundi and the National Thursday is an intimate look at life inside a small village in the forests of Cameroon and how this communal society is negotiating the demands of globalization and the search for uniquely African solutions.
Questions about urban development are raised in The Battle for Johannesburg and When The Mountain Meets Its Shadow. The feature film Altiplano is set against mercury poisoning of a community from a local factory.
Two films very much emphasise positive developments for our consideration.
In multi-award winning Waste Land we witness the creative production that results when art and poverty collide at the world’s largest rubbish dump in Brazil. The collaboration with catadores, who make a living picking recyclable materials, deals not only with important environmental and social issues, but restores dignity to a group of people tossed aside by society, like the garbage with which they work. The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy systematically and engagingly outlines the tantalising possibility of switching to 100% renewable energy sources in the next 30 years.
Such films provide a proactive approach to the challenges and indicate that another way is possible. The Durban International Film Festival, which is principally funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), takes place from 22nd July to 1st August.
The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City Of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institut South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, Commonwealth Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and a range of other valued partners.