Our annual St Andrews Green Film Festival 2022 has finally come to an end. It has been so rewarding to bring environmental documentaries to our community as fully in-person, immersive events. Kicking off the festival we partnered with GeogSoc for the screening of The Magnitude of All Things, winning the Award for Creative Excellence, Banff Mountain Film Festival, Canada (2021). We followed director Jennifer Abbott and her journey through personal grief to the frontlines on the climate change crisis. Through both poetic and experimental cinematography we explored the more abstract psychological dimensions of climate change. The film took us on a world tour from the devastating Australian bushfires to the melting icescapes of Nunatsiavut and the Indigenous people’s fight to save their homes, drawing strong parallels with Abbott’s own story of personal trauma.
Our next screening was a collaborative effort with MarineSoc taking place in Aikman’s Bar. With a more rustic setup, it certainly made for a more unique viewing. We hosted a Netflix original documentary screening, My Octopus Teacher in association with Off the Fence and The Sea Change Project written and directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed. My Octopus Teacher is a beautifully scripted documentary starring Craig Foster and his remarkable relationship with an octopus. Foster’s takeaways tend to be emotive as opposed to scientific. His way of immersing the audience in the shallow cove really pays dues to how impactful his storytelling truly is. By the end of the film, it was incredible to see just how much the octopus had taught Foster, re-awakening his dormant passions for wildlife filmmaking, the ocean and conservation, transforming his life both physically and emotionally.
For our first headline event of the week, we teamed up once again with The Byre Theatre to bring the award-winning documentary Jozi Gold to the big screen. We followed Mariette Liefferink as she investigated the devastating impact of South Africa’s gold-mining industry. The film painted a grim environmental and political picture with rising toxicity levels, radioactive waste, and worsening health conditions of local communities. We saw the lengths one woman has taken to right the wrongs of the mining companies from prosecuting ex-CEO’s, educating locals through toxic tours and relocating communities living on radioactive waste dumps. It was truly inspiring to witness the effective and unstoppable force of her activism. For our post-screening discussion, we welcomed Anne Haselhurst from the St Andrews Fairtrade Community Forum where she spoke about local initiatives surrounding Fairtrade Gold and the current socio-economic and environmental problems resulting from big mining corporations in Peru.
As the finale to our incredible week of screenings, there was no better note to end on than the multiple award-winning feature documentary film Anthropocene: The Human Epoch which, through stunning visuals and interviews, explored the causal links between humans and permanent planetary change as we travel far beyond Earth’s tipping points. Through great scale and perspective, Anthropocene exposed the scars our land has withstood through re-engineering our landscape by means of industrialisation, terraforming and climate change as a result. We were joined by our wonderful speakers, Dr Lydia Cole and Dr Ife Okafor-Yarwood to hear about their research and their two takes on the environmental themes covered in the film.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first in-person Green Film Festival since the start of the pandemic and a special thank you to Transition for their continued support for our green initiative here in St Andrews.