The 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, will kick off with the follow-up to Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth in which the former Vice President of the United States pointed out the dangers of climate change in 2006. The sequel shows the escalation of the crisis but also that the solutions to the crisis are at hand. Directed by Sundance Film Festival alumni Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, the documentary will debut at Sundance Opening Night in presence of Al Gore on January 20.
"This film and the 13 other films and projects that are part of The New Climate slate this year add a new chapter to our legacy of showcasing stories on the environment and climate change“, points out John Cooper, Director Sundance Film Festival. "My own engagement on climate change began more than 40 years ago, and the urgency I felt then has only grown stronger given its very real and increasingly severe consequences“, states Robert Redford, Actor, Environmentalist and Founder Sundance Film Festival „If we’re going to avoid the worst-case scenario, then we must act boldly and immediately, even in the face of indifference, apathy and opposition."
The Sundance Film Festival already presented various films in the past that are dealing with environmental issues. Besides An Inconvenient Truth, the renowned US independent festival also showed Blackfish, The Cove, Gasland, Chasing Ice, Racing Extinction and Collisions. The New Climate program includes 14 documentaries, short films and virtual reality experiences across the Festival’s categories. The program includes Chasing Coral, which follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists documenting the world’s changing coral reefs; Trophy, an in-depth look at the controversial, multi-billion-dollar big-game hunting industry and Plastic China, an examination of employee life at a Chinese recycling plant.
In the documentary Water & Power: A California Heist. US filmmaker Marina Zenovich gives an insight in California’s convoluted water system: Notorious water barons find ways to structure a state-engineered system to their own advantage. This examination into their centers of power shows small farmers and everyday citizens facing drought and a new, debilitating groundwater crisis. „I believe that storytelling is the greatest platform for getting people to care and take action on some of the most pressing issues of our time“, says Robert Redford. Amid escalating threats to our environment, independent perspectives are adding the depth and dimension needed for us to find common ground and real solutions.“
The Redford Center and the Sundance Institute will host a discussion on climate change and its effects with prominent participants such as Al Gore, producer Jeff Skoll, environmentalist and scientist Dr. David Suzuki as well as producer Heather Rae. The Festival’s Power of Story panel will be livestreamed from Park City on January 22.