Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Can cli-fi feature movies with solid storytelling elements, have a long-lasting personal impact on viewers?

Can cli-fi feature movies with solid storytelling elements, have a long-lasting personal impact on viewers?


''Hi Dan,'' the email begins...

''I hope this email reaches you well in this strange time of global uncertainty, I hope you and your loved ones are managing to stay safe and active.''

Thank you for reading my email. I'm a graduate student studying Film and Television. 

I've been working in the film industry for many years (and for the largest part, in the production unti for a film company) and I decided to go back to graduate school to focus my skills towards producing films and television. I  will tell you why below:

As well as improving my knowledge of the film industry, I want to use my masters degree as a way to learn about and understand cli-fi films. I had been so affected earlier in my life by documentaries such as Cowspiracy and An Inconvenient Truth ...but my passion for filmmaking and storytelling has always been in fiction.

I want to understand if it's possible for fictional films with powerful storytelling to have the same lasting impact on audience members and indeed society as a whole as documentaries can.

I want to understand what it is in a documentary that shifts understanding (presumably the undeniable truth) and if we can recreate this on an emotional level in fictional storytelling movies (is empathy strong enough to stay with an audience member long enough for them to want to change their attitudes towards our climate?).

My dissertation  will be focused on the very subject and I was wondering if you or your colleagues in the ''cli-fi community'' might have a spare few minutes to talk to me about your understanding of the genre so far.

I came across "The Cli-Fi Report" early on in my research and it would be useful for me to speak to the person -- you! --  who has spent so much time promoting and monitoring the cli-fi term. I would love to get your thoughts on this thesis: do you feel that the cli-fi genre has matured over the past few years - as we are beginning to develop a deeper scientific understanding of our impact on the planet, if you feel our stories on screen are becoming more focused towards these issues as opposed to the generic apocalypse disaster movie.

After reading your article on the Filipino feature film Taklub directed by Mr. Mendoza in Manila I'd also love to know if you have heard of Cli-Fi films or TV shows having a long term, lasting affect on a community and it's behavior towards the environment. It would be great to chat with you on a video call, or via an email interview, whichever you prefer and may have time for. Either would be very much appreciated.  

Sending you well wishes from a locked down place where it feels like our own disaster contagion movie is unfolding! ''


So, readers here: Any thoughts of your own to add here? Please comment below or email me directly. Privacy will be respected. Thanks. -- Dan Bloom at The  Cli-Fi Report


Susan said...

Yes. I think Richard Powers' The Overstory is indicative of that potential. Jane Smiley has CC short stories. Both focus on deeper realization of species equity and interconnection.


Thanks for your comment, Susan.