Watch, Engage, Act: The Projecting Change Film Festival 2011

I borrowed the slogan of the Projecting Change Film Festival (26-29 May 2011) for the title of my blog post as it struck me last weekend how powerful that message really is. I found out about the festival a little late, but was really impressed by the professional, yet fun and inclusive atmosphere throughout the weekend. It was clear that the event was not about pointing out our shortcomings in terms of achieving change. On the contrary, it was all about tracking our progress and finding ways of further improving existing sustainability efforts.

WATCH: The choice of documentaries screened at the festival was spot on. Each of them covered a topic so important, it was hard to imagine there could be any more important issues out there – until you saw the next film and the next…At times this did feel a bit overwhelming, but like someone said in one of the films, it is the awkward topics, which we tend to avoid, that are ultimately the most important issues for the whole planet.

ENGAGE: It was lovely to see how eagerly festival staff, volunteers, filmmakers, sponsors and attendees communicated about really important issues during the festival. In a world of so many naysayers, it was refreshing to be surrounded by such a large number of positive thinking people. As a volunteer I felt included and valued, which made for a wonderful overall festival experience.

ACT: While the festival was only on for a short few days it had a strong impact on myself and, as far as I could see, also on lots of other people. Here are my key takeaways:

– One person can indeed make a difference and lots of small steps towards a common goal do add up.
– Get inspired by those who are already on the right path and either follow their footsteps or create your own project.
– Hang in there, persistence is key. If everyone in this world worked on just one project close to their heart, we could be making incredible progress in a much shorter period of time.
– Get support from likeminded people who will help you through the lows and frustrations and will motivate you to keep going no matter what.
– Repeat step one :-)!

Or, as a 13 year-old boy interviewed in the documentary ‘Climate of Change’ put it: “We should never forget that we are the renters of this world. Not its master.” Let’s keep that in mind.

Winning documentaries:

Best Documentary: Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson
Best Canadian Documentary: The Clean Bin Project
Projecting Change Award: Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000
Projecting Change Video Contest Winner: Fair Trade Gangsta Rap


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