Five films to see at the Environmental Film Festival


In the age of the climate crisis, the Environmental Film Festival Australia ain’t ya standard film festival. The organisers want it to be “a catalyst for positive and sustainable change.”

Screening around Melbourne from October 24 to November 1, this year’s festival has a record 44 films on the bill, include features and shorts.

Want some help choosing what to see? We’ve picked five films below, with descriptions taken from the official program.

The Hottest August (Oct 26)

This is the question posed by The Hottest August, offering fascinating perspectives from a broad range of everyday New Yorkers – from the optimists to deniers, through to the futurists. Billed as the ‘Humans of New York’ approach to a climate change filmmaking, The Hottest August explores the different ways people respond to living in the age of climate anxiety, confronted by an endless stream of dire statistics, terrifying images and a ticking clock.

Encounters at the End of the World (Oct 27)

In this special retrospective screening of his 2007 classic Encounters at the End of the World, cinema’s most intrepid anthropologist Werner Herzog sets his sights on McMurdo Station, the headquarters of the US National Science Foundation in Antarctica. Here lies an almost alien world, where bitter frost and molten lava collide, the ground is but an icy canopy to the frozen sea below, and a hidden society lives right at the edge of civilisation.

This Mountain Life (Oct 29)

This Mountain Life delves into the spiritual connection between human and mountain, as Martina Halik and her 60-year-old mother Tania become the first female duo to trek 2,300-kilometres through the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, to Alaska. Tackling a trek which has only been completed once before, the pair immerse themselves in their passion for the sometimes wild but always enchanting mountainous terrain. Their journey is intercepted by various people – a retreat of nuns seeking to be closer to God, a snow artist, an alpinist, and a couple living off the grid – who all share the same enamour for inhabiting the peaks.

Grit (Oct 29)

In 2006, a toxic mud tsunami erupted in East Java believed to be caused by drilling for natural gas, burying dozens of villages and displacing 60,000 people, including 6-year-old Dian. Some 13 years later, the mud tsunami continues to flow, and the fight for wide-spread compensation – and for answers – continues.

Into the Jungle (Nov 1)

When newlywed Australian zookeepers Jim and Jean Thomas pack up their suburban Melbourne lives and travel to the remote Papua New Guinea to save one of the world’s rarest animals – the Tenkile tree kangaroo – they quickly realise that improving human welfare is key to achieving animal conservation. Over the course of eight years, Jim and Jean live with the people of the Torricelli Mountains, discovering that the local reliance on hunting the Tenkile is based on survival, and isolation from essential resources.