A new film offering an inside view on the world of climate action is coming to Bristol as part of a national tour.
Finite: the climate of change was shot by filmmaker Rich Felgate over a four-year period which included 18 months living in protest camps on the front lines of climate action in the UK and Germany.
Rich said: ‘Finite is the story of what people do when nothing else works to make change, when all the proper channels have been exhausted but we still have this massive problem of the destruction of the environment and the climate crisis that must be addressed.’
The film focuses on two long-running protests. One is in Pont Valley, County Durham, where in 2018 local residents found themselves facing off against mining company Bank’s Group, who were attempting to reopen a nearby open cast coal mine just 300m from people’s homes.
The people objecting were not activists to begin with, explained Rich, ‘but when your home is under threat, people step up.’
Local campaigner’s, supported by the national Coal Action Network, were partially successful and prevented the mine from opening fully.
The other camp featured in Finite is in the Hambacher forest, near Cologne in Germany, where activists are resisting the expansion of an open cast coal mine owned by RWE, the company behind the gargantuan Garzweiler coal mine which is also the subject of mass resistance in the town of Lutzerath.
Throughout the film Rich is at the front of the action. It was this willingness to put himself in the firing line that saw him arrested whilst filming a Just Stop Oil protest last November. He was released with no further action after 13 hours
The risk is worth taking to communicate the action to the audience watching the film, argues Rich. Being ‘in the thick of the action is the only way to show what it’s really like to be there,’ he said.
Rich said he was inspired to make the film after being politicised about the climate crisis by watching documentaries and his own experience as a climate activist.
He said Finite is his attempt to shine a light on the ‘unknown world’ of ‘David and Goliath battles’ between activists and fossil fuels companies that often go on behind the scenes.
Although climate activism does get into the papers today, said Rich, portrayals of activists all too often aim to demonise activists and sensationalise activism.
‘I guess my film is trying to tell the truth of what those people are actually like and what’s the truth of their experiences,’ said Rich.
Through doing so, Rich said he hopes to speak to people who want to make a difference but perhaps feel hopeless in the face of the enormity of the climate crisis.
By showing ordinary people standing up against the companies that are destroying the planet, said Rich, Finite reminds us that ‘when we come together there are ways that we can resist and make a difference, and stand up for what’s right.’
Finite: the climate of change is showing in Bristol at Patagonia, 81 Park Street, BS1 5PF, on March 9. Tickets are free and can be found here.