On Wednesday, 20 August, about 200 Greenpeace supporters packed into the Rialto cinema in Newmarket, Auckland to watch Earth; an amazing journey through the richness of life on our planet.
It is 8.15 pm, and the 190 seat movie theater of Rialto cinema is full of Greenpeace supporters and staff. The atmosphere is friendly, chatty and, in a word: very Greenpeace. Before the movie started, Bunny, Greenpeace NZ executive director, gave a little speech to introduce the film. After thanking everyone for coming, she highlighted the importance of Greenpeace supporters' contribution to the organisation's campaigns. Then, she gave the microphone to Simon, our Senior Climate Campaigner. He shared his opinion on climate change, saying that although progress sometimes felt slow within the campaign, it was absolutely not too late to do something about it. If we act properly, we can preserve our biodiversity for our children.
Applause. The lights go down and the movie begins. The voiceover from Patrick Stewart explains how life appeared on the Earth 5 billions years ago and then, the trip begins. From the North Pole to the South Pole we follow three mothers and their babies fighting against climate change: polar bears trying to get food before the ice melts; elephants looking desperately for water in the Kalahari desert, and whales achieving their 6,000km migration to South Pole. The photography is stupendous, the music goes perfectly with the action and in 95 minutes, viewers travel from one side of the world to another, enjoying amazing high-resolution footages.
This footage is the key point of this movie. The film is made by the BBC and, while it has less information than the usual BBC documentaries, it is more accessible for children and allows the viewers to really focus on the pictures. The figures are impressive: 40 specialist camera crews spent 4,500 days in the field. They filmed in 200 locations across 26 countries and the movie took actually five years to make. Plus, in using High Definition cameras, the result is particularly genuine. One scene, made with a new kind of camera (usually used for crash tests or bullet testing and shooting at 1000 frames per second), shows a shark attacking a prey in very slow motion: it is hard to believe it's not a special effect.
Hoyts, the film distributor, is aware of climate change and, in order to take part of the fight, it organized a competition between the cinemas displaying this movie. The goal: make the displays as green as possible by only using recycled products. They have also broken with tradition using recycled paper for their flyers and working with many groups to ensure the green credentials of this film match with message of the film.
So, how did the Greenpeace team feel after this one-hour and a half worldwide journey? "It is fantastic to see how many supporters were there. This movie shows us the beauty of what we protect and reaffirms what we are doing in Greenpeace and why we go to work every day", said Celeste, Marketing Manager. Meanwhile Fundraising Manager Amanda said: "When you hear about climate change, you think about the ETS or carbon footprint but you often forget about nature. Sometimes, you can't see the wood for the trees. This movie focuses on what is real and prevents us losing track."
Communications Officer Kathy observed that "the film took viewers to places they will probably never go (geographically speaking) and it revealed just how perilous existence is for even some of our most powerful creatures". Bunny underlined the fact that "you don't see a single person in this movie but you see the hand of man in every image".
This experience was undoubtedly successful. This movie shows the consequences of climate change in a subtle way and encourages us to keep working. As Mark Linfield, Earth co-director, said: "if this film does even a small amount to make people fall in love with their planet, and do something to change its future, then I will feel very proud indeed having worked on".
The film is showing in cinemas around New Zealand in the coming months - if you are off to the movies keep an eye out for this magical movie.