February 16th – March 3rd, Cinema Nova
As a medium, film can be tremendously powerful. Just look at this year’s challenging, confronting, even moving Oscar line up — Moonlight, La La land, Fences and Manchester By the Sea. While, sure, movies are predominantly produced to entertain, Cinema Nova’s Transitions Film Festival has been custom made for the thinking man (or woman). Dedicated to showcasing inspirational documentaries about social and technological advancements, revolutionary ideas and trailblazing change makers, this year’s festival will feature 25 full-length documentaries as well as a speaker program with leading sustainability academics, businesspersons and artists all taking centre stage.
Kicking off on the 16th of February, the event features a number of world-changing films that look at innovation, intrepidness and activism (amongst other things). Covering a broad range of topics, including climate change, immortality, ethical fashion, impact entrepreneurship and the future of work and death in the age of automation, I encourage you come along, open your mind and become inspired.
This cinematic buffet begins with the Victorian premiere of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, the latest feature from director Josh Fox — the guy who brought us the Oscar-nominated doco, GasLand (2010) — and closes some two weeks later with the beautiful Power To Change: Energy Rebellion, a 2016 German doco that shines a light on the energy revolution taking place in Germany and what this could mean for the rest of the world, the flick featuring a number of stirring stories about real-life heroes who have taken the responsibility for energy supply into their own hands.
One of this year’s central themes is our most life-sustaining element, water. That said, There Will be Water is a definite highlight, the one hour film trailing an ambitious engineer, Bill Watts, in his mission to solve food and water crisis in the desert by using solar power to desalinate sea water, while A Plastic Ocean follows journalist Craig Leeson and a wiz-bang team of international scientists and researchers as they traverse across the globe to examine the fragile state of our oceans, uncovering alarming truths about plastic pollution and its many impacts on the food chain.
That’s not all, the festival will also premiere four home-grown feature documentaries. Viewers will be treated to RAW – The Documentary, an uplifting look into the incredible feat of two 60-year-old Aussies who drew worldwide media attention when they ran 366 consecutive marathons, (no, that’s not a typo), in order to promote the benefits of a raw vegan diet. A Q&A will follow directly after the screening with filmmaker Jon-Michael Mooney and the movie’s subjects, Janette Murray-Wakelin and her partner Alan — you won’t want to miss this one! Elsewhere, Melbourne-made doco Our Power will also premiere, the film a close-up look at the Latrobe Valley community who bore the brunt of the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity in the 1990s, along with the devastating Hazelwood mine fire of 2014. Exposing the tragic impacts of the 45-day blaze, this emotional roller coaster highlights the fundamental issues facing the community today, and their transition into a ‘post-coal’ world.
A new health and wellness stream has also been added to this year’s program, with director Patrick Shen’s highly anticipated In Pursuit of Silence making its Australian premiere, the film a ‘quiet’ meditation on the power of noise-free moments, our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives — oh, how does the saying go again, silence is golden. Additionally, we’ll also see Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness, a thought-provoking exploration of how mindfulness can improve the lives and well-being of children, whilst H.O.P.E What You Eat Matters, offers a reflection on the benefits of a plant-based diet for animals, people and the planet. Talk about having a lot on our plates!
On the topic of food, I’m personally looking forward to The Chocolate Case, a doco by Holland director and actress Benthe Forrer that follows three journalists as they try to sway several large corporations to end the use of child labour in the chocolate industry, this leading to the first ever ‘slave-free’ chocolate bar, ‘Tony’s Chocolonely,’ now one of Holland’s leading brands — this scrumptious flick, a part of a collection of docos that showcase the transformational power of new economic forces.
Part of the Sustainable Living Festival Australia, the Transitions Film Festival will be running at our local art house cinema, Cinema Nova (situated in the heart of Lygon Street, Carlton), from February 16th to March 3rd. If you’re interested, check out Nova’s website for details. Dare to make a difference.
Feature Image Credit: Transitions Film Festival Facebook