A review by Green Film Festival volunteer, Hannah Ruskin-Dodd.

As many of us are conducting both our work and personal lives online now, it’s clear that film provides a lifeline for environmentalists, scientists, and filmmakers to reach out, share their knowledge, and inspire people to make a difference from all corners of the world. Our “slightly-longer than a week-long” festival took place between 8th-15th March, where we took the opportunity to share upcoming and award-winning films surrounding agriculture and marine industries.

The week started off with a wonderful screening of Shark Girl, followed by a discussion with Shark expert Greg Holder, who guided us through the fishing industries’ murky waters, projecting a worrisome view on the future of certain shark populations. Greg was keen to share his vision to protect endangered shark populations as he continues his activism worldwide whilst also hosting an educational channel on YouTube, where he talks about all things shark!

Greg Holder’s Youtube Channel

In keeping with the marine overtones of Shark Girl, the next film we screened was Netflix’s Chasing Coral. The film documents coral bleaching across the globe and paints a dire picture for the future of coral if action is not taken. Following the screening, we facilitated a discussion and chatted about conservation strategies, dive sites, and current studies at the Scottish Oceans Institute regarding coral.

Venturing back into the realm of farming and agriculture, we are pleased to have shared the award-winning screening of Kiss the Ground, narrated by Woody Harrelson. The film is captured through the lens of scientists, activists and farmers alike to help us understand the importance of soil as a means to push back against the ongoing climate crisis by restoring lost ecosystems and creating abundant food sources to fight world hunger. To understand and discover local initiatives, we were joined by two regenerative farmers from Lochaber Farm to discuss the upsides and drawbacks to the farming industry today and prospects for a more sustainable future.

Our final film was special; we had the opportunity to show Seeding Change before it is due to premiere in the spring. This short, engaging piece provided insight ‘under the canopy’ of triple-bottom-line businesses and consumerism in day-to-day life. Our discussion provided thought into the parallels between social consciousness and commerce and left us with many more questions than answers. Are our decisions driven by the ethics of the brand or our personal economic situations? When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of everyday consumerism, should sustainability be the priority?

Whilst many film festivals were cancelled due to the pandemic; we are so grateful to have kept St Andrews annual Green Film Festival alive and strong with the support of the Byre Theatre, who so kindly collaborated with us to share and advertise our events to the whole of the St Andrews community and wider. Thank you to everyone who came along to support St Andrews Green Film Festival 2021. We hope to see you all again next year!