THE CLIMATE SPOTLIGHT
The 20th anniversary Planet in Focus will feature a spotlight of climate change focused films
and a special presentation in partnership with the CFC Media Lab.
6:30PM – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15
THE HOTTEST AUGUST
Directed by Brett Story
The singular second feature from Toronto filmmaker Brett Story is an arresting mirror of our moment—a film about climate change in a clandestine guise. Shot in New York City throughout August 2017, Story’s slyly dystopic documentary at first exhibits no specific concern. Roving the city’s five boroughs with her camera in tow, she pauses to quiz passersby on their feelings about the future. Being New Yorkers, their responses are frank, funny, and reliably engaging: racism, rising rents, and Trump are just a few of the topics occupying their minds. Only rarely do Story’s subjects explicitly address the climate crisis. But, tellingly, they don’t have to. Their testimonies are a multi-voiced articulation of a shared sense of foreboding, as familiar to us in the audience as to those who appear screen.
6:00PM – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16
Directed by Tom Burke
In the tight-knit, primarily Yup’ik village of Newtok, Alaska, there persists a strong connection to traditional livelihoods, rooted in the land the community’s ancestors have long occupied. But that land is quite literally disappearing before their eyes, thanks to climbing temperatures that have accelerated rates of coastal erosion to as much 50 feet per year. As Newtok faces the prospect of relocation, Losing Alaska presents a crisis mirrored in many Northern Indigenous communities. A history of haphazard planning by government has exacerbated housing issues and ongoing effects of colonization. Young people face the additional pressure of having to choose between leaving for better job and educational opportunities, or remaining to fight for the ways of life they hold dear. Despite the severity of their situation, the remoteness of such communities means resident’s voices are seldom heard, making Losing Alaska’s wake-up call all the more urgent.
4:00PM – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE
Directed by Judith Helfand
In July of 1995, Chicago suffered a heat wave of catastrophic intensity, resulting in a staggering death toll. A total of 739 Chicagoans lost their lives, with elderly, impoverished, and African American denizens disproportionally represented among the victims. In Cooked, playfully provocative documentarian Judith Helfand draws on these tragic circumstances as the inspiration for a wider investigation into poverty, race, and why marginalized communities tend to bear the brunt of the extreme weather events, which are growing ever more frequent with the advance of climate change. Helfand also delves into the booming ‘disaster preparedness’ industry, where the price tags of preventative measures tend to exclude all but the privileged.
CFC x PLANET IN FOCUS presents
MOTHER OF THE FOREST
Created by Kylie Caraway
Mother of the Forest is an immersive, virtual reality experience that explores a sequoia tree’s ecosystem through embodied perspectives of various species. Through the use of 360 video, digital environment design, and interactivity, Mother of the Forest pairs scientific information gathered from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks experts with artistic creation to exhibit the hidden truth, beauty and precarity at play in this ecology. Through the illustration of symbiotic relationships, it asks users to contemplate their own role in intertwined ecologies impacted by human activity, resulting in biodiversity decline and climate change. In doing so, it depicts the complex webs of a sequoia forest that needs us, just as much as we need it.