What you need to know
Originally launched in 2013 under the name Nuclear Film Festival, the biannual event has been renamed to reflect its broader focus on global heating and the need for systemic change to mitigate its effects.
Taiwan’s (氣候臨界影展) is set to begin Friday at . Through a diverse range of films and panel discussions, the festival seeks to raise awareness about the perils of climate change and encourage people to take urgent action.
Originally launched in 2013 under the name Nuclear Film Festival (核電影), the biannual event was created to draw attention to the organizers, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance (GCAA)’s concerns about nuclear energy. In the aftermath of the , the festival showcased films advocating for a nuclear-free world and addressing energy-related issues.
However, over the years the festival has expanded its focus to include films about climate change and the fossil fuel industry. As the urgency of the climate crisis has become increasingly pressing, the festival has evolved alongside it. This year, the festival has been renamed to Climate Tipping Point Film Festival to reflect its broader focus on global heating and the need for systemic change to mitigate its effects.
According to Shi Ting Chen, a researcher at GCAA, the decision to shift the festival’s focus away from nuclear energy was also partly driven by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s nuclear phase-out policy (), which aims to shut down all remaining nuclear reactors to meet their goal of turning Taiwan into a nuclear-free country. With no plans for nuclear power plant restarts in Taiwan or license extensions due to strong public opposition, the festival’s theme has naturally transformed to highlight other important energy and environmental issues.
Now, the festival takes its name from the climate science concept of a tipping point, referring to a critical threshold that if exceeded, the planet’s ecosystems will undergo unpredictable and irreversible changes. The timely festival aims to promote understanding of this critical issue through a carefully curated and free to attend program of 15 documentaries from four continents, including films from Taiwan, Cambodia, China, Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Puerto Rico, and the United States.
The opening film of the festival, , is a feature documentary that should be at the top of your must-see list. Directed by a concerned mother who worries about the future for her daughter, the film raises important questions about climate change and its implications for future generations. Following the screening, there will be a discussion in Mandarin with Panai Kusui (巴奈), a renowned Indigenous Taiwanese singer-songwriter, social activist, and mother, in conversation with Pin Han Huang (黃品涵), a mother and former Chairperson of Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition ). They will explore the personal challenges of raising a child during these unprecedented times.
To ensure that the festival’s program resonates with Taiwanese audiences, GCAA has selected films that showcase weather and climate change events that are familiar in Taiwan. With this in mind, is another must-see film. The documentary follows the tragic stories of three women who have lost everything due to climate change, covering personal accounts of drought, sea level rise, and typhoons. The film offers a breathtaking composition on the indissoluble relation between nature and civilization, with the message that we must act now to protect our people and planet.
While the festival’s focus on climate issues may seem daunting, it’s also an opportunity to inspire and engage attendees. GCAA believes that in addition to educating and raising awareness, the festival can ignite curiosity, build empathy, and motivate action. , a Patagonia initiative directed by David Garrett Byars, is a prime example of such a film. It highlights the citizen-led community-energy movement in Europe and showcases the triumphs of everyday people as they break down legislative barriers and take back power from big energy companies. Through the creation of their own renewable energy sources, these communities are building healthier and more financially sustainable futures. We The Power is an uplifting film that instills hope and encourages viewers to take collective action towards a more sustainable future, with the vision that together we can make a difference.
TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)
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