Astra Film Festival Unravels the Wounds of the Earth
Four remarkable European feature films dealing with the present-day issues of the planet will open the ECOcinematogrAFF special programme at Astra Film Festival 2011 on Sunday, the 30th of October, at Casa de Cultură a Sindicatelor. ECOcinematogrAFF will be a complex programme which welcomes the audience with films, live music and a traditional food fair.
The four films are different in themes and style, but equally captivating and challenging: Home (France 2009, directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand), Pig Business (UK 2009, directed and produced by Tracy Worcester), Think Global, Act Rural (France 2010, directed by Coline Serreau) and Submission – In Defence of the Unborn (Sweden 2010, directed by Stefan Jarl).
Through images and relevant interviews, filmed and produced all over the world, these documentaries not only draw warning signs, but also offer effective solutions that we should be aware of and, in our turn, put into practice.
ECOcinematogrAFF is meant to draw the audience’s awareness in an accessible manner on topics relating to food, the environment and its resources, and implicitly on the future of human society. In its almost 20 years of existence, AFF has, through documentary film, opened the eyes of its tens of thousands of participants toward the world. It is now time for the loyal public, as well as the wide audience, to have the opportunity to better discover the problems of the planet and of mankind.
“We couldn’t overlook the fact that we receive more and more documentaries that deal with – or rather, shout out about – problems related to eating, food production, the chemical world we live in, and we don’t see such productions on television,” says Dumitru Budrala, the Festival Director. “We are honoured to host the Romanian premiere of Pig Business, and have as our guest the British director, Tracy Worcester.”
The Astra Film Festival, one of the greatest events dedicated to documentary film in Central and Eastern Europe, has taken upon itself to bring into focus documentary film as a means of communication more and more embraced not only by filmmakers, but also by journalists, activists and teachers. Therefore, AFF became, for professionals or students in this field, as well as for the wide audience of all ages, the Home of Documentary Film in Romania.
Home (France ,2009), directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand makes his feature directorial debut with this environmentally conscious documentary produced by Luc Besson, and narrated by Glenn Close.
Shot in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, Home presents the many wonders of planet Earth from an entirely aerial perspective. As such, we are afforded the unique opportunity to witness our changing environment from an entirely new vantage point. In our 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has hopelessly upset Mother Nature's delicate balance. Some experts claim that we have less than ten years to change our patterns of consumption and reverse the trend before the damage is irreversible.
Produced to inspire action and encourage thoughtful debate, Home poses the prospect that unless we act quickly, we risk losing the only home we may ever have.
Pig Business (UK, 2009), directed and produced by Tracy Worcester. Pig Business charts the expansion of the giant US meat company Smithfield into Poland and Romania, where having bought ex-state farms for 'small dollars' it now dominates the industry.
Animals are confined in narrow steel cages, scientists voice their anxiety that the overuse of antibiotics is leading to ever more diseases, neighbours are sickened by gasses from the toxic waste, local farmers cannot compete with the monopolistic competition and abandon their centuries-old farms. There are interviews with European bureaucrats and directors of taxpayer funded banks whose loans and subsidies support the expansion of factory farming at the expense of small family farms.
Featuring Robert Kennedy Jnr, and leading politicians, the film shows us as consumers what are the realities of factory farming, and urges us to be sure that the pork, ham, bacon and sausages we buy have come not from factory farmed animals but from pigs raised on humane, healthy and sustainable outdoor farms.
Think Global, Act Rural (France, 2010), directed by Coline Serreau. What are the common points between the millions of landless workers of the plains of Brazil, a couple of microbiologists in France, the world's biggest organic plantation in Ukraine and Vandana Shina's experimental farms in India? Their struggle: a better soil quality and a wiser access to seeds.Their goals: agricultural self-sufficiency and a better use of limited resources.
Multi-awarded filmmaker Coline Serreau, who started her career as a militant documentarist, returns to her grassroot techniques: she travels the world exploring the very concrete local solutions to the global ecological mess.
Submission – In Defence of the Unborn (Sweden, 2010), directed by Stefan Jarl. Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes.
The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives. They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry. Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes. The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives.
They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry.