If the covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is the humbling truth that humans beings are part of a larger ecosystem. The more we intrude into the habitats of other species, the more it will adversely impact us. The array of curated documentaries and short films that will be showcased in the inaugural All Living Things Environmental Film Festival (ALT EFF) is a testimonial to this.
The online festival, which starts on 5 December, features 33 Indian and international films that highlight the themes - ‘vikas’ (development) and environment. The Turkish documentary The Town of Thermal Power Plants will resonate with people living in highly urbanized Indian cities riddled with air pollution. Closer home, Door/ Home explores the identity and traditions that a place loses in the quest for a ‘smart’ tag. The festival has an interesting mix of animated movies as well, which explore dystopian futures that may come about if we don't pay heed to environmental degradation. For instance, Wade narrates what happens when people and animals jostle to survive together in an inundated Kolkata; a scenario that's already a reality in some parts of the country every monsoon.
The festival is the outcome of a unique collaboration between a design studio Network of Creative Thinkers and a perm culture farm The Odd Gamnut. It has roped in wildlife and environment filmmaker Mike Pandey as an adviser, while actor Jackie Shroff is the festival’s ambassador.
One of the fascinating films worth looking out for is The Love Bugs (from the US). It showcases the vast collection (1 million) of insects that entomologist couple Charlie and Lois O’Brien have collected over six decades from 70 countries. This collection is estimated to be worth $10 million. Then, there is the Indian film Ever Slow Green, which makes a case for reforesting barren land, which the residents of Auroville did over a period of 50 years.
Investigative films like Stroop – Journey into the Rhino Horn War (South Africa) and Peng Yu Sai (India) takes viewers through the brutal practices of poaching and mindless trawling, while Elephant In My Backyard (India) portrays the grim reality of the elephant-human conflict that claims the lives of both humans and elephants every year. Some films, like Bayandalai (Mongolia) also offer glimpses of ways of life that are fast fading away in the quest for modernization . Sockeye Salmon Red Fish (Russia) and Rearing Giants (India) display not just the beauty of the planet but also how dependent we are on the planet's many habitats.
You can watch the documentaries and short films from 5-13 December. For more details on the festival, visit www.alteff.in