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Climate Films That Nourish, Teach, and Motivate Us

What to Watch This Earth Day

BCCIC’s top film recommendations on climate action and Mother Earth

Amidst the relentless barrage of extreme weather and other consequences of the climate crisis, we continue to see world leaders failing to uphold their commitments and obligations. 

Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but the state we’re in can feel incredibly infuriating and demoralizing. Luckily, we’re not completely doomed – there are ample stories from around the world that restore our hope and confidence in a better world. This Earth Day, BCCIC is spotlighting films that nourish us, teach us, and motivate us to live in better relations with Mother Earth and to advance climate justice.

Meet communities on the frontlines fighting for our collective future, learn from instances where climate activism has actually been successful, and be in awe of the complex, wise, and intelligent creatures we share this planet with through these recommended films. Whether you’re loyal to a specific streaming platform, have none, or are looking for something to watch with kids, we’ve got you covered.

The Klabona Keepers

Indigenous Peoples throughout British Columbia (and indeed, the world) have been practicing sustainable living for well over ten thousand years. As we look for guidance on how to be better stewards of the earth, and on how we can mobilize effective climate action, our journey begins with them, right here at home.

Spanning 15 years of matriarch-led resistance, The Klabona Keepers follows a small group of determined Indigenous elders in the village of Iskut in Northwest British Columbia as they push back against law enforcement, the government, and some of the world’s largest multinational companies to protect the remote Sacred Headwaters, known as the Klabona, from industrial activities and win.  Nestled between scenes of stand-offs and blockades, land defenders reflect on how their history of forced displacement, residential schools, and trauma strengthened their resolve to protect the very land that was so essential to their healing journey.

From now until April 22, 2024 you can watch the Klabona Keepers for free! Register below to access the film.

Looking for more films on Indigenous climate action here in BC?

Here are some amazing options:

Tea Creek

Get Tickets to Watch the World Premiere in May!

The Energy of the People

Too often, energy production is carried out to the detriment of local populations and leads to climate degradation and violence. Energia de los Pueblos (the Energy of the People) is a feature-length documentary film produced by Sandía Digital that follows three communities in Mexico and Guatemala standing up against megaprojects that threaten their territories by working to produce their own electricity. The communities look to create fair and sustainable energy models and challenge conventional systems in the process. While it’s only available in Spanish with English subtitles, it offers insights into energy sovereignty, effective coordinated action, and Indigenous-led climate solutions.

It comes recommended by our friends at Ficwallmapu who have their own extensive catalogue of films available on their website.

The Condor and the Eagle

It might be obvious given it’s in our name, but to us, cooperation is essential to climate action. It’s only by working together around the world that we will see the scale of change needed to bring about collective liberation, climate justice and the world we wish to see. 

Directed by Sophie and Clément Guerra, The Condor and the Eagle examines the fossil fuel industry’s contributions to climate change and its disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities. In particular, it focuses on the work of Indigenous leaders, activists, and organizers from Canada (Alberta), the USA (Houston and Ponca Nation), and the Ecuadorian Amazon (Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku) and how they learn from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy. 

Recommended Films Based On Your Subscriptions

Have Crave? We Recommend All That Breathes

All That Breathes follows two brothers – Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad – who have devoted their lives to protecting the black kite. A majestic bird of prey, the black kite is essential to the ecosystem of New Delhi, but has been falling from the sky at alarming rates. Amid environmental toxicity and social unrest, the ‘kite brothers’ spend day and night caring for the creatures in their makeshift avian basement hospital.

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary last year and winner of the Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, All That Breathes explores the connection between the kites and the brothers who help them return to the skies, offering a mesmerizing chronicle of inter-species coexistence.

Have Kanopy? (You Probably Do) We Recommend Intelligent Trees

Kanopy is an on-demand streaming service accessible through your library or university. There, you’ll find and should definitely watch Intelligent Trees – an awe-inspiring documentary that explores contemporary findings from Forest Science Research.

The film features German forester Peter Wohlleben (Author of ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’) and ecologist Suzanne Simard (The University of British Columbia) and their findings from decades of research observing and investigating communication between trees. From old tree-couples that look after each other to Mother Trees that suckle their offspring, the film demonstrates how deeply living and connected the world around us is. The film awakens us to the brilliance, collaboration, and wisdom of trees, and challenges our perception of them as ‘resources’ for people and other animals.

Fun fact: if you’ve read the Overstory by Richard Power, you’ll remember Patricia Westerford – a fictional character that dedicated her life to researching trees. She was heavily inspired by the life and work of Dr. Suzanne Simard, who is featured in the film.

Have Netflix? We Recommend Youth V Gov

In 2015, 21 American youth filed a lawsuit against the US Government and several executive branch officials alleging their constitutional rights have been violated by government refusal to act on climate change; a crisis they inherit.

Youth v Gov follows the youth activists – ranging from ages 14 to 25 and representing the diversity of American youth impacted by the climate crisis – as they take on the world’s most powerful government. While the film is entirely focused on the USA, it’s a powerful example of citizen action to hold governments accountable for tackling the climate crisis and the foundational role of youth. And while it’s not a Netflix film (yet) we see similar instances of youth striving to create systems change and hold governments accountable here in Canada, too.

15 Canadian youth ages from across the country are taking the Canadian Government to court in the case La Rose et al. vs. His Majesty the King. The case argues that the federal government is violating their rights to life, liberty and security of the person under section 7 of the charter and failing to protect essential public trust resources.

Have Disney Plus? We recommend The Territory

Environmental groups have carried out campaigns to “save the rainforest” for the past half-century, but as said by The New York Times, “no recent film captures the immediacy of the threat better than ‘The Territory.’”

Deemed a “compelling and essential” film by The Guardian, this documentary offers a stunning and immersive on-the-ground look at the Uru-eu-wau-wau people’s fight – including the efforts of Bitaté, a young tribal leader – against the encroaching deforestation brought by farmers and illegal settlers in the Brazilian Amazon. With stunning cinematography partially shot by the Uru-eu-wau-wau people, Alex Pritz’s documentary relies on vérité footage captured over three years as the community risks their lives to set up their own news media team in the hopes of exposing the truth.

Recommended Films for Families & Kids