The UK Green Film Festival hits screens in three London cinemas this weekend, giving capital dwellers the chance to brush up on all those vitally important environmental issues we are interested in but never quite got around to Googling.
Future My Love by Maja Borg mixes super8 and archive footage to tell a dystopian love story
The seven diverse films being shown at Hackney, Greenwich and Clapham Picturehouses include Peak, a documentary about global warming's effect on ski resorts, More Than Honey, about why bees are dying out and Trashed, about what happens to our rubbish. Each is accompanied by a contrasting short film, all are guaranteed to 'inform, inspire, entertain and challenge'.
Those worried about being preached at can rest assured. The festival's message is overwhelmingly positive. Co-founder John Long explains: “We want to show people that it's not all doom and gloom. It's not hopeless, there are things we can do, things we can take home, in our personal lives, that can have a big, positive impact on the world we live in." The films are primarily chosen on the quality of the filming but the UKGFF also tries to find alternative perspectives to problems that most people may already be aware of.
Daniel Beck, the Festival Director, talks us through the selection process: “Every film in our 2013 programme shows great craft in its own right... Our goal is to seek out those filmmakers who have taken on an issue in a unique, entertaining and inspiring way.” Some films are documentaries, some blend non-fiction with drama, there is genuinely something for everyone. And it's clearly a formula that works, this is the week-long UKGFF's third year. It started in 2011 with 5 cinemas and has grown from 12 cinemas in 2012 to 17 this year. Ambitious plans for 2014 include spreading to Northern Ireland and hosting a large open-air event during the festival's opening weekend. Beck explains the appeal of the festival: “Essentially, we look for films that aren't going to bombard people with statistics, we don't want our audience to leave the cinema feeling guilty or depressed but rather empowered and positive and this can only be achieved through great films dealing with important issues in positive and unique ways.” Oh, and they also want to finally kill the stereotype that you have to be a sandal wearing, bearded eco-hippie to be interested in the environment - although eco-hippies are obviously welcome too.
Watch out for a review coming coming up soon too.