Tag Archive for: environmental documentary

Vanessa Wells (DEGANZ) and The Climate Canary team are in the final stretch of post-production and are crowdfunding to help cross the finish line.

The 90-minute documentary highlights three remarkable women from differing generations and their scientific work in Antarctica. Oceanographer Dr Natalie Robinson leads a team of ten scientists on an epic world-first research trip to McMurdo Sound. Jacqui Stuart, a biologist and self-confessed algae geek, is on her first trip to Antarctica. Meanwhile, Emeritus Professor Patricia Langhorne mentors them both from Aotearoa after more than 25 deployments to the Poles. The film asks if meaningful social change is possible and how these women tenaciously hold onto hope. For scientists on the frontline of climate change, their surprisingly refreshing attitudes are raw and heartening.

Vanessa, as director and producer, pitched the film at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in the Central Showcase earlier this year, garnering interest from distributors, agents, and broadcasters.

Now, the team is adding the finishing touches, with its $10,000 stretch goal going directly to animation costs. To make the film’s complex science more accessible, the team is utilising animation to convey it in delightful and comprehensive ways.

Director and producer Vanessa says,

With NZ making some difficult u-turns in the environmental space right now, this documentary feels even more important to finish as soon as possible!

They hope to release the film in 2024.

Find out more about The Climate Canary on the Boosted page HERE!

Taking Back Our Beach, a feature documentary directed by Anton Steel (DEGANZ), is set to have its theatrical release in Aotearoa cinemas on 5 October.

The film looks at the community response to the 2011 cargo vessel Rena grounding on Ōtāiti (Astrolabe Reef) and the subsequent environmental disasters. The tonnes of heavy oil and diesel fuel split into the ocean devastated wildlife and washed up onto nearby beaches, making it Aotearoa’s worst maritime environmental disaster.

Anton tells the story through the eyes of the community affected, with a collection of interviews, archival footage, photos, re-enactments, and computer-generated imagery. The film focuses on the ongoing impact the grounding had on the Bay of Plenty community, and how the community has rallied despite it.

The 90-minute film premiered in this year’s DocEdge festival in the Making an Impact category. Now, it’ll be available to the wider public, with screenings throughout the Bay of Plenty, Auckland, the Coromandel, Christchurch, Northland, and Wellington, amongst others.

The film’s theatrical 5 October premiere marks the 12th anniversary of the grounding, making the release extra special for Anton and the team.

You can watch the trailer below!

Congratulations to DEGANZ members Vanessa Wells and Emma Smart for their short film making the Wild Earth Oceania Film Festival (WEOFF) selection! Te Whakairo – Ngā Kī o Te Tai Ao (The Carvings Carry the Stories of the World), directed and produced by Vanessa and edited by Emma, follows two skilled carvers from opposite ends of Aotearoa on their journey to and mahi in Antarctica.

James York (Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi) and Poutama Hetaraka (Ngāti Wai, Ngāi Tahu) bring their toi whakairo (carving) to Antarctica as part of Aotearoa’s kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of The Ross Sea, the world’s largest protected marine area. They travelled as part of the mātauranga Māori perspective of the five-year Ross Sea Marine Protected Area monitoring programme and the Community Engagement Programme with Antarctica NZ. For the film, Vanessa accompanied them to Antarctica.

The 14-minute short will screen in the festival’s Wildlife Through an Art Lens programme on 10-11 September in Sydney. WEOFF is Australia’s first film festival to focus purely on wildlife. It aims to create a thriving and sustainable future for wildlife and people in Oceania by showcasing wildlife, Indigenous, environmental, and natural history films.

Te Whakairo – Ngā Kī o Te Tai Ao premiered in 2019 at Show Me Shorts. Since then, it has played at the Polar Film Festival in New York, FIFO in Tahiti, CSFF in China, the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, and the Earth Futures Festival.

Best of luck to Vanessa, Emma, and the team at the festival!

Vanessa Wells (DEGANZ) has been invited to pitch at the Australian International Documentary Conference’s (AIDC) The FACTory. Wells earned her spot in the Central Showcase with her film The Climate Canary, which she directed and produced.

Edited by fellow member Richard Lord, the documentary explores the ecosystem between Antarctic sea ice and ocean, and the tremendous challenges facing Antarctica and our global coastlines as climate change worsens.

The programme will run from 5-8 March and is AIDC’s highly competitive international pitching showcase for new documentary and factual projects. The Central Showcase presents the project teams to commissioners, funders, streamers, networks, distributors, and sales agents. It’s a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers to access the global documentary marketplace and receive feedback from industry experts.

Congratulations to Vanessa and Richard for being one of the 15 projects hand selected by AIDC’s panel, and best of luck to Vanessa on the pitch!

DEGNZ member Christopher Walker’s Spears From All Sides will be screening for three weeks (August 30 – September 19) at the City Gallery in Wellington, as part of the film programme accompanying Brett Graham’s exhibition, Tai Moana Tai Tangata—a cautionary tale about human endeavour in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Filmed over three years, the feature-length documentary follows Opi, a young and charismatic Waorani activist, as he tells the dramatic story of a vehement, community based resistance by tribal communities in Ecuador, one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the world.

Released in 2019, Spears From All Sides has played across the globe, winning multiple festival awards including Best Documentary at the New Earth International Film Festival and the Spirit of Activism Award, at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival.

The documentary is also available to rent on beamafilm.

If you are in Wellington, head along to Tai Moana Tai Tangata at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.