GB15_Wisdom2SurviveThe Ninth Annual Greenbuild International Film Festival will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Thursday, Nov. 19 10:00am – 5:00pm. This festival features documentaries, films, and informational videos that promotes innovative green building practices and address social, environmental, and health topics related to the built environment. Below, we hear the backstory of one of this year’s featured films The Wisdom to Survive. Filmmaker Anne Macksoud describes why the subject of climate change is so compelling to her and her partner John Ankele as artists and their desire to engage and educate the world on this issue.

The mission of Old Dog Documentaries (as stated in a tag-line on our website) is: “Educating for Social Justice”.  Of course this could mean any number of things, but for me it has meant co-producing films (with my partner John Ankele) that show the negative impact of US policy on the people of the Global South.  We have made films about Industrial Farming and the Politics of Food, about the Arms Industry selling weapons all over the world, about impoverished coffee farmers in Costa Rica, and about Poverty and AIDS in Africa.  In 2010, after reading Bill McKibben’s book, Eaarth,  Making a Life on a Tough New Planet,     we realized that the issue of Climate Change (an issue we had not focused on) includes all of the social justice issues we had been making films about for almost 30 years. We also realized those issues can no longer be addressed without addressing Climate Change.  For the next 2 years, we turned our full attention to this subject.  We wanted to make a film that would call people to action, as McKibben’s book had called us.  We wanted a film that would tell the dire truth about climate science and at the same time inspire people with hope – not a hope that everything will be OK, but that they will be OK if they get involved in local action and become part of the growing citizen’s climate movement, which is reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the main character and narrator, Celie, says this:
“…But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all.  I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and cried and I run all around the house…”

Alice Walker says it perfectly for me; what is happening to the natural world is actually happening to me – to all of us.  Our film, The Wisdom to Survive, attempts to help viewers be more aware of this connection, so that they set about finding solutions that will skillfully (and quickly) address what is happening to our world.

John and I have been to dozens of screenings of this film and it seems, in the Q&A sessions that follow the screening, different people are taking away different things.  For me, the takeaway is a heightened realization of how beautiful this world is and how much I love it.  Buddhist Eco-Feminist Joanna Macy says it best at the end of the film, “…you are born into this world, and you’re here to LOVE it and to see that it goes on.”

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