UK Nepal Climate Change Film Competition: We’re toast in 3 minutes!

Tell a climate story in just 180 seconds...

Tell a climate story in just 180 seconds...

In July 2007, we had an interesting discussion on this blog on the shrinking durations of Nature and environment films and TV programmes. The moving images community is divided on this, with some purists holding out that to pack complex, nuanced messages into a few minutes is akin to dumbing everything down. Noted film-makers like Neil Curry disagreed.

I revisited this topic in August 2008, saying: “But there’s no argument of the sheer power of well produced public service announcements (PSAs) to move people with a specific, short message. Nothing can beat them for the economy of time and efficacy of delivery.”

Kathmandu to Copenhagen - in three minutes?

Kathmandu to Copenhagen - in three minutes?

The trend to make ever shorter films has been fuelled by the growth of online video, where the dominant value seems to be: less is certainly more! This is the premise, for example, of the current competition One Minute to Save the World.

In Nepal, they were more generous — and allowed three minutes. I recently came across the winners of the UK Nepal Climate Change Film Competition, where Nepali film makers were invited to “make short, effective films of up to 3 minutes on the theme of Climate Change”. The submitted films had to be original in concept, innovative and highly motivational – no restrictions were set in terms of discipline or genre. It was organised by our friends at Himal Association, better known for sustaining Film South Asia festival for a decade.

The winning films were screened at an awards ceremony in September 2009 at the Regional Climate Change Conference in Kathmandu. They will also be screened at Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival 2009 (10-14 December) and will be broadcast on television.

The winning film, Act locally think globally, was directed by Santoshi Nepal and Ishu Lama:

First runner-up, Jeopardy, is an animation directed by Shiva Sharan Koirala:

Second runner-up, 3 Cs of Climate Change, directed by Binod K Dhami and Padam Raj Paneru:

The competition attracted an impressive 124 entries. Angelo D’Silva, an educationist and media critic in Kathmandu, recently reviewed the entries in Himal Southasian special issue on climate change. He wrote: “In cash-strapped times, these contests focusing on climate change prove to be a cost-effective strategy in generating content. With no funding directed to the filmmaker for production, and prize money amounting to NPR 130,000 (USD 1700) for the three winners, the climate-change film contest is a way to make a splash on the cheap.”

He added: “While the filmmakers, all of whom were Nepali, exhibited an impressive range and quality, it was a range obscured by the selection of some fairly typical public-service-announcement-type finalists. Hopefully, however, two sets among the entries will soon see the light of day: those documenting the effects of climate change on Nepali communities, and those exploring (and exploiting) anxieties and fears about the burgeoning climate crisis.”

Read full review here.

I have only seen the three winning entries that are available online, so it would be unfair to comment on other entries. But I found the three winners predictably text-bookish. For sure, simple awareness raising is always helpful, but much more is needed – and urgently so – to deal with climate change. Film can be a powerful force for changing lifestyles, and not all of them have to be feature film length in Al Gore style.

One minute to midnight — or just one minute to save the world?

How much can you pack into 60 seconds?

How much can you pack into 60 seconds?

How much can you pack in to one minute, or 60 seconds? That’s a lot of air time, as broadcasters and advertisers know very well.

One Minute to Midnight‘ has been a favourite metaphor of dooms-dayers – and is the title of a 2008 book. It was widely used in relation to the world drawing closer to nuclear war during the second half of the 20th century.

Now, as global climate change surpasses fears of global nuclear war, we are given just one minute to save the world.

One Minute to Save the World is an international short film competition to raise awareness of climate change. Entries are currently being sought from professionals and amateurs, with 31 October 2009 as the deadline. There is also a category for under 18s and for entries shot on mobile phones.

The idea is to enable anyone, anywhere, to deliver a short but powerful message to the world on climate change. The winning films will be sent around the world in November as an online campaign to raise awareness of the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009.

Good planets are hard to find...

Good planets are hard to find...

British TV presenter and adventurer Bruce Parry, a founder of the competition, says: “Together we will be looking for films that convey a powerful message about how climate change affects you and those around you. Were you a flood victim? Have you seen a change in the plants and wildlife in your garden? How has your world been affected and how can we address it?

He adds: “So, we hope you’ll all get thinking and shooting – whether you’re a seasoned pro or just someone who cares. Your planet needs you and your talents. One minute might not seem like a long time but it’s actually longer than many advertisers spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on. It’s also an easy length of time to hold people’s attention. And that is one of the things we urgently need to do if we’re going to turn things around for our planet before it’s too late.”

The winning entries will be judged by an international panel that includes Parry himself, award-winning director and climate change activist Shekhar Kapur; Franny Armstrong, director of Age of Stupid and The Guardian‘s environment editor John Vidal.

The website will become an online film festival which requires no travel or celebrity status to attend – all you need is access to a computer. “And as everyone knows, the power of the net can make the most unexpected video attract the attention of millions globally,” says Bruce Parry.

Read Bruce Parry on One Minute to Save the World

One Minute to Save the World competition rules and more info

Watch entries on YouTube