Climate change in the manifesto of the 63rd Festival dei Popoli
The image that stands out on the poster of the 63rd edition of the Festival dei Popoli is from Marten Persiel's "Everything Will Change," the documentary produced with the support of the Wim Wenders Grant of Film, which opens the national premiere of the festival on the evening of Nov. 5 at La La Compagnia cinema, in collaboration with Fondazione Finanza Etica.
The opening film, as well as the poster from which it is taken, testify to the centrality of the Habitat section - made in collaboration with Publiacqua, on the themes of contemporary living in relation to the ecosystem, the climate emergency, technological evolution and ongoing transformations in the geopolitical sphere - which consists of a total of nine titles.
The festival is increasingly committed to "conceiving and living the event in a green way," explained directors Alessandro Stellino and Claudia Maci, "in line with internationally shared directives and to raise public awareness not only through the creative gaze of the films in the program but also by means of a practice that consistently mirrors them. As the opening film of this edition highlights, the global crisis is open on several fronts and there is less and less time available to make a breakthrough on the fate of our planet. We have purposely chosen to give maximum prominence to this theme because there is no backing down but we must implement ethical and conscious choices: the most relevant documentary cinema of our time no longer speaks to the present, it speaks to our future".
"Everything Will Change" takes us to a futuristic 2054 in which three young mavericks embark on a journey through natural memories and their scattered beauty, eager to discover what has happened to their planet. In this unusual road movie, science fiction meets scientific reality to explore one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is up to us to choose which future to hand over to the next generations while also listening to the views of scholars, scientists and committed authors - including Wim Wenders himself - who intervene in the film.
The other titles in the section are "The Territory" by Alex Pritz about the struggle of the Uru-eu-wau-wau indigenous people against encroaching deforestation carried out by illegal settlers and an association of non-indigenous farmers in the Brazilian Amazon.
"Just Animals" by Saila Kivelä and Vesa Kuosmanen, a courageous documentary about a young Finnish activist who makes risky night raids on establishments where cruel intensive farming is practiced, coming to terms with people's indifference.
One of the historic battles against land exploitation is the focus of Jennifer Baichwal's "Into the Weeds", which follows the cause of gardener Lee Johnson and his fight for justice against agrochemical giant Monsanto (now Bayer, which bought the company in 2018), maker of the toxic herbicide Roundup.
The Arctic atmospheres of Thomas Jackson's "Historja - Stitches from Sapmi" provide the setting for the poetic and visually fascinating story of indigenous peoples in the global north who confront climate disruption with their own magical and mythological methods, accompanied by world-renowned artist Britta Marakatt-Labba.
Pollution and endangered species are discussed in the short film "Flying Fishes" by Nayra Sanz Fuentes through the story of flying fish, understood for thousands of centuries and in different cultures as symbols of quest, freedom and fulfilment, now at risk due to advancing human and technological impact on the environment.
Water is also at the center of the other two shorts: "Aralkum" by Mila Zhluktenko and Daniel Asadi Faezi, where sand dunes become waves and vice versa in the Aral Desert, and in "Luma" by Eleanor Mortimer and Liridon Mustafaj, amid memories and legends of the Valbona River along the Albanian Alps, once an important companion of locals who now see its course threatened by the building of new industrial plants.
Finally, Becky Hutner's "Fashion Reimagined" about designer Amy Powney of cult label Mother of Pearl, a rising star on the London fashion scene who-after winning a coveted Vogue award-decides to create a sustainable collection and transform her entire business.
The 63rd edition is realized with contributions from Europa Creativa Media, MiBACT - Direzione Generale Cinema, Regione Toscana, Comune di Firenze, Fondazione Sistema Toscana e Fondazione CR Firenze, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Publiacqua, Unicoop Firenze, Mymovies.it.