A dark cinema room with a lit screen with an animated film. The outlines of some heads in the audience can be seen, lit by the screen.

Films for Future Weekend! 

Films for Future was devised and delivered through Film Access Scotland’s two major current projects, Climate Challenge: 1.5° Films and the Youth Film Access Festival, over the weekend of 26th-28th November 2021. 

The Films for Future weekend was part of the Youth Film Access Festival programme of in-person events. It featured a documentary filmmaking workshop in Edinburgh and panel discussions in Aberdeen and Glasgow exploring the themes of sustainability in the film industry and the future of eco-filmmaking. Following each event, all the shortlisted Climate Challenge 1.5° Films were screened at awards ceremonies, which were programmed so that filmmakers could watch their own films on the big screen at the event they attended! 

The Youth Film Access Festival’s Youth Team shortlisted submissions in the Youth categories and prepared questions for the panel discussions. In addition, a Youth Jury of Youth Team alumni from last year’s Edition of the Festival selected the winners in the Youth Award categories. Having planned and delivered the 2020 Festival entirely online, the alumni also managed to meet for the first time in person at the Edinburgh screening. 

Daytime Events: 

Aberdeen – 26th November 2021

The first Films for Future event took place at the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen, where Youth Team member Lola Elsby led an engaging panel discussion between Zoë

Two white older men are seated on red couches and a white young woman and a white young man are seated between them on armchairs. Behind them there is a screen with an image projected of headshots and illegible text. There are also two banners behind them: one reads EIFF Youth, the other one reads Youth Film Access Festival. On the right, a white young woman reads from a paper.
Clock-wise from left: panellists Mark Hope, Zoë Conroy, Finlay van der Vossen, Jeffrey Rogers, and Youth Team member Lola Elsby.

Conroy, participant of the Scottish Youth Film Foundation’s COP TV, Finlay van der Vossen of Edinburgh Green Film Festival, Mark Hope, who helped establish Aberdeenshire multi-arts venue The Barn and Jeffrey Rogers, Climate Reality leader and activist for Aberdeen Climate Action. With varied experience communicating climate issues within the film and media industries, each of the panellists contributed to a very enriching conversation around the role of film and TV by offering understanding, but also solutions to the climate crisis. 

A particularly interesting part of the Aberdeen panel was when the youngest panellists, Finlay and Zoë, discussed whether TV or film offered a more personal, relatable and emotional approach to the portrayal of climate change on screen. Just back from COP26, where she had the opportunity to meet and speak to climate activists from around the world, Zoë explained the incredible opportunity of having their testimonies shared through the COP TV daily broadcast. Finlay, on the other hand, explained that the Edinburgh Green Film Festival team had focused on the theme of climate justice through giving a platform to the voices of those who are most vulnerable to the climate crisis. Finlay also argued that creative documentaries can offer an alternative to eco-disaster films – a genre which widely appeals to younger audiences – which are usually overwhelming and can make people dissociate from the topic.  

Edinburgh – 27th November 2021

In a semi-dark room, five young people face a screen where a video is getting edited. A white man stands on the right and looks at the screen too.
Duncan Cowles delivers his “Make a Documentary about the Climate Crisis in One Hour” at the Cornerstone Centre, Edinburgh.

At the Cornerstone Centre in Edinburgh, BAFTA Scotland Award-winning documentary filmmaker Duncan Cowles led an interactive documentary filmmaking workshop where he challenged the audience to create a climate change documentary in just 1 hour.

Showing all his filmmaking tools and tricks and involving the young attendees in the editing of the film, Duncan offered a unique insight into how to make a documentary, demystifying the whole process. At the end of the workshop, Duncan answered questions from the audience, generously sharing his professional advice. 

Glasgow – 28th November 2021

A cinema room with a blank screen and the lights are on. A few white young people are seated on red seats looking at the front. Five white people of different ages are seated in front of a screen facing the audience. The person in the middle, a white middle-age woman, speaks.
Panel discussion held at GMAC and moderated by Christine Mclaughin (left) and Brooklyn Baker (right). Panelists from the left to the right are: Adam Williamson, Dr. Emily Munro and Geraldine Heaney.

The last event took place at GMAC Film, Glasgow, where Youth Team members Brooklyn Baker and Christine Mclaughlin moderated a panel discussion between Dr Emily Munro who recently made Living Proof, a film unearthing Scotland’s historical relationship to the climate crisis using archive film from the National Library of Scotland-Moving Image Archive, Geraldine Heaney, an artist whose current project involves working with residents in an old fishing village in Aberdeenshire to explore the climate crisis and Adam Williamson, lead programmer of Edinburgh Green Film Festival

Brooklyn and Christine asked the panellists about their interest in the environment and how they got into their current roles. The conversation unfolded around barriers to accessing film opportunities, changes they have seen in the film industry with regards to sustainability, whether low-budget or big-budget films are greener, and how environmental films move from ‘niche’ to a more general audience.  

All our Youth Team members did an excellent job and managed to navigate stage panic extremely well! Especially considering that, for most of the Youth Team, it was their first-time hosting or moderating a panel discussion. Finally, Youth Team member, Lawren Matthews, interviewed Adam Williamson for the Youth Film Access Festival Instagram and Youth Team member, Morven Thompson, designed the Films for Future flyer with help from her Marketing Team peers. A fantastic team effort! 

Evening Screenings:  

Filmmakers submitted more than 100 films to Climate Challenge 1.5° Films and our juries shortlisted 42 films across Youth, Live Action, Animation and Best Environmental Message categories. The juries considered quality, but what mattered most was that people of all ages and from all backgrounds tried filmmaking, many of them for the first time, using their phone, tablet or any camera they could find, taking action and feeling empowered to express their thoughts about climate change through visual storytelling. You can read more about the selection here. 

The Youth Film Access Festival Team co-hosted the screenings and assisted with the preparation and delivery of the awards. In Aberdeen, Youth Team member, Jemima Siason, co-hosted the screening as well as taking over the social media coverage for the whole day. In Edinburgh, Kyle Bruce not only arranged the venue for the documentary filmmaking workshop but also co-hosted the evening screening. Scot MacKenzie, one of the Youth Jury members, as well as 2020 Youth Team member, presented the awards to the winners. The Glasgow screening was co-hosted by Youth Team members, Lawren Matthews and Chloe Charlton, who also presented the awards. 

Highlights of the evening screenings included: 

  • a filmmaker heroically travelling from Dundee to Aberdeen through Storm Arwen and making it just in time to receive her award at the very end of the evening 
  • filmmakers sharing their favourite parts of the filmmaking process during the Q&As in every city 
  • everyone’s envy of the beautiful trophies made by Otherscapes Studio and presented to the winners in each category and those receiving special mentions!
    A white young woman holding a microphone reads from a paper in front of a blank and lit cinema screen. To her right there are two other white young women and between them a table with trophies on it. In front of them there is a row of cinema seats and two white people seating on them.
    Youth Team members Lawren Matthews and Chloe Charlton co-hosted the Glasgow screening in GMAC with Climate Challenge: 1.5° Films Project & Outreach Coordinator Meray Diner. Photo by Najma Abukar.
    Three trophies made of a glass case with an up-cycled lens and vegetation and figures inside them.
    Deniz Uster designed these stunning trophies for the Climate Challenge: 1.5° Films award winners. Made from up-cycled lenses, each trophy hosts figures interacting with their landscapes.Photo by Najma Abukar.

    A cinema room with a blank screen and people on their seats facing the screen. At the back and on the left a white woman stands and signs BSL. In the middle a group of four people are seated and having a conversation. On the right a white young woman stands looking at them.
    Q&A with filmmakers that participated in the Climate Challenge: 1.5° Films in GMAC, Glasgow. Photo by Najma Abukar.
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