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Transitions Film Festival presents visions for a better world

28 January 2020 at 7:45 am
The ninth annual Transitions Film Festival returns to Cinema Nova this February with another inspiring line-up of world-changing films.

Contributor | 28 January 2020 at 7:45 am


Transitions Film Festival presents visions for a better world
28 January 2020 at 7:45 am

The ninth annual Transitions Film Festival returns to Cinema Nova this February with another inspiring line-up of world-changing films.

Presenting local and international documentaries aimed at showcasing solutions to society’s greatest challenges and empowering audiences to build a better world, the films in this year’s program cover a broad range of meaningful themes including: the climate crisis, resilience, social and technological innovation, health and wellness, and the mind-blowing advancements in artificial intelligence. 

The Festival opens with The Great Green Wall, an epic saga from Jared P. Scott, (director of The Age of Consequences), and Fernando Meirelles (producer of City of God and The Constant Gardener), which follows Malian musician-activist Inna Modja on a life-altering journey, documenting the wildly ambitious project to create a 8000km wall of trees to prevent desertification in Africa. 

The festival will close with Sanctuary, an endearing documentary which follows Javier Bardem, his brother, and leaders of Greenpeace as they embark on an epic adventure to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean.

Other highlights include: the world premiere of My Year of Living Mindfully, which follows filmmaker and journalist Shannon Harvey (The Connection) from the research labs of the world’s leading universities to refugee camps in the Middle East, as she investigates the power of mindfulness meditation to change our lives for the better; Convoy, a road movie following Bob Brown on his quest to stop one of the largest, most damaging coal mines in the world from being built; Mr. Toilet which shadows eccentric and hilarious founder Jack Sims on his mission to build the World Toilet Organisation and bring sanitation to the 1.4 billion people who lack it; and The Story of Plastic, a powerful expose on the plastic industry from the makers of the global phenomenon Story of Stuff. 

scene in Great Green Wall

Australian films on display include: When the River Runs Dry, which digs deep into the politics of the Murray-Darling; The Wheels of Wonder, which celebrates the power of social innovation to bring joy to children refugees across the world; short film 25 Zero, which follows international adventurer Tim Jarvis on his epic quest to document the melting of the world’s largest glaciers; and an advanced preview screening of Cryptopia, a film by Torsten Hoffmann which investigates the potential of blockchain technologies to change the world. 

In the face of the escalating challenges confronting humanity, and the current crises in Australia, the theme of this year’s festival is Resilience. The festival is collaborating with Resilient Melbourne and The Resilience Shift to showcase a series of films aimed at increasing our ability to survive, thrive and adapt to the challenges of the future. 

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code follows Peabody Award-winning journalist Judith Helfand on her investigation into disaster preparedness and disaster politics; Thirst for Power goes back in time and explores our civilisation’s dependence on water and electricity, their interconnectedness, and the millennium-old wisdom that will help ensure a better tomorrow; and Motherload, a fun and cheeky celebration of the joys and benefits of the humble cargo bike.

After Tomorrow is the follow up documentary to the global smash hit Tomorrow, the French feature documentary which spawned thousands of sustainability initiatives across the globe; Sustainable Nation showcases how innovation arising out of Israel can help us combat our global water challenges; Push, the latest film from Fredrik Gertten (Bikes Vs Cars and Big Boys Gone Bananas) investigates the causes of the global housing crisis; and Once You Know explores the psychological implications of understanding the scale of the threats and challenges of the climate crisis. 

The importance of nature and biodiversity are highlighted in The Whale and The Raven, a spectacularly shot tale of industry vs animal; and Earth Seen From The Heart, an endearing French documentary about the wisdom needed to preserve life on our wonderful planet. 

The future implications of technological advancements are explored in Almost Human, the visually stunning, deeply poetic film narrated by global superstar Stephen Fry; Hi, Ai, a fun and quirky exploration of our present and future relationships with companion robots; I Am Human, which takes an intimate look at the world’s first cyborgs and explores the ethical implications of merging human with machine; and Global Thermostat, which debates the promise and perils of altering the planet’s climate on a grand scale via geoengineering. 

A still from the film Sanctuary

Advances in health, wellness and human psychology are showcased in, You Bet I Dance! which follows a Staatsballett Berlin class of children with cerebral palsy as they embark on their first big adventure into the world of ballet; Bias, which unpacks the unconscious influences on our decision-making processes and shows us how we can “de-bias” our minds; and Magic Medicine, which follows the first clinical trials using Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to treat depression. 

Other highlights include a Virtual Reality For Positive Change showcase in collaboration with Real World VR; screenings of Sundance smash hit Anote’s Ark in St. Kilda and Brunswick; and audiences’ first chance to experience Rewild Our Planet, the world’s first social augmented reality experience, made by Phoria and WWF as a companion to David Attenborough’s Emmy Award-winning series Our Planet.

Transitions Film Festival is an “impact festival” with the majority of screenings including panel discussions with filmmakers and expert thought leaders. Guests of the festival include former Greens leader Bob Brown; CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific David Ritter; My Year of Living Mindfully filmmaker Shannon Harvey; CEO of Resilient Melbourne Toby Kent; founder and CEO of That Startup Show, Anna Reeves; international solar tuk tuk adventurer Julian O’Shea; comedian Alanta Colley; as well as many more leading artists, academics and activists. 

The Transitions Film Festival runs from the 20 of February until the 6 of March at Cinema Nova, Loop Project Space & Bar and venues in Brunswick and St. Kilda. 

Full program available online at: 

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