FILMS

Most of these recommended films are documentaries (D) addressing a wide variety of climate change issues and topics, starting with Al Gore’s award-winning An Inconvenient Truth. Truly great feature films about the climate crisis are tough to come by. Climate change seems so impersonal. Occasionally a science fiction (SF) film gets both the storytelling and the science right, but rarely.

There is a great article by Jeremy Deaton addressing this issue: Why Are There No Good Movies About Climate Change? which concludes, “You have to invent a compelling story. It’s all about story.” In the spring of 2019, Yale Climate Connections published a piece (and begged to differ) reviewing 2018 climate change movies and promoting forthcoming 2019 movies.

There are also some movies in the YOUTH section worth recommending for kids.

CURRENT NEWS

DOCUMENTARIES

FEATURE FILMS

SHORT FILMS

SCI-FI

Films covering multiple categories will have no icon.

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2040 (2019)

2040 is a hybrid feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW! The 2040 journey began with award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, Damon embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in the areas of economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best solutions, available to us now, that would help improve the health of our planet and the societies that operate within it. From marine permaculture to decentralised renewable energy projects, he discovered that people all over the world are taking matters into their own hands. Read a review from ABC.

A Plastic Ocean (2017)

If it was happening in one gyre, they suspected it was happening in all of them. But the filmmakers needed experts to prove it. Scientists were brought in at each stage to analyze the findings from one part of the story to add their data to the overall report on the five gyres.

In the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre researchers found more plastic than plankton. A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.

Albatross (2012)

The journey of ALBATROSS began in 2008 as the director and activist/photographer Manuel Maqueda learned of a stunning environmental tragedy taking place on a tiny atoll in the center of the vast North Pacific Ocean. They travelled to Midway Island in September of 2009 to  photograph and film thousands of young albatrosses that lay dead on the ground, their stomachs filled with plastic. The experience was devastating, not only for what it meant for the suffering of the birds, but also for what it reflected back to us about the destructive power of our culture of mass consumption, and humanity’s damaged relationship with the living world. Directed by Chris Jordan-Bloch.  

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018)⭐

A cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch is a four years in the making feature documentary film from the multiple-award winning team of Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky. The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, are arguing that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century, because of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and surreal lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama desert, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using high end production values and state of the art camera techniques to document evidence and experience of human planetary domination.

Bag It (2010)

Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes-single-use disposable bags that we mindlessly throw away. But where is “away?” Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb’s journey in this documentary film starts with simple questions: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded?

Baykeepers (2014)

After hearing about expansive amounts of plastic in every major ocean, Port Phillip Baykeeper Neil Blake finds the sands of his local beaches are turning into a kind of micro-plastic confetti. In his journey to measure how far the age of plastics has invaded the bay, Neil discovers a growing community striving to protect Port Phillip’s health for generations to come.

Beasts of The Southern Wild (2012)

Living in a Louisiana bayou community called “the Bathtub,” six-year-old Hush Puppy (youngest-ever Best Actress Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis) can’t get the prehistoric aurochs her teacher tells her will be released from melting ice caps off her mind – even as the world in front of her crumbles and cowers, the victim of powerful storms, failing levees, and familial health problems.
While the film’s setting is technically fictional, it was inspired by several very real fishing villages in Southern Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish. These small, isolated wetland communities are threatened by climate-driven erosion, extreme weather, and rising sea levels. Most notable among them is the rapidly disappearing Isle de Jean Charles, former home of “the first American climate refugees.”

Before The Flood (2016)

Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Fisher Stevens, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change as actor Leonardo DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change and possible solutions.Produced by National Geographic Channel.