We are now accepting applications for our 2024 Redford Center Grants Program. Learn more & Apply Now

An Antidote to Despair: How Independent Film is Driving Climate Action

Inspired by Robert Redford's unwavering dedication to independent artists and environmental activism, The Redford Center welcomes you to watch our session rooted in action and vision for the future we aspire to build together.

On January 19, our team had the honor of hosting An Antidote to Despair: How Independent Film is Driving Climate Action, an environmental impact filmmaking panel at Sundance Film Festival. As an extension of our mission to combat the dominant trend of bleak and hopeless climate narratives with the emerging solutions coming from independent filmmakers and frontline communities, this event featured film industry leaders paving the path towards claiming space for hopeful narratives in fiction and nonfiction forms of popular media. The conversation was led by our Grants Advisor and Head of Film, Finance, and Inclusion Strategies at HiddenLight Productions, Brenda Robinson, and speakers included: Brian Newman (Founder, Sub-Genre and Grants Advisor, The Redford Center), Steven Olikara (President, Bridge Entertainment Labs), Daphne Matziaraki (Director, The Battle of Laikipia), Tracy Rector (Managing Director of Storytelling, Nia Tero and Grants Advisor, The Redford Center), and Jill Tidman (Executive Director, The Redford Center). 

Here are five stand out quotes from our discussion:

  • Jill Tidman on the importance of building approachable and accessible pathways to support the environmental movement through storytelling

    “We say, build a lot of on-ramps for folks because we ultimately know we need far more people advocating for the kind of change and the scale of change that we need. There is a certain type of environmental story that can propel us forward because we have to be building that durable majority of support for this issue. Really it is the bridge builder of all bridge builders because we all need the planet for us to be healthy.” 

  • Daphne Matziaraki on her film The Battle of Laikipia and its message on the connectedness in which we are experiencing climate change

    “Because of the colonial history, there are so many unresolved issues that are simmering beneath the ground. So, our story is not the obvious climate change story… catastrophe, flooding, migration…  it’s a story that tells the hidden consequences of climate change, when it surfaces unresolved issues. And what we witnessed was how these unresolved issues especially when communities are not working together, they share the same landscape, they are part of the same mosaic, but they don’t communicate, they don’t know each other. We observed them navigating this conflict. We filmed really closely with them and really tried to bring the humanity out with the hopes of, you know, creating an understanding that this is a shared situation. This is a shared truth, very differently experienced, but it is a very shared truth.” 

  • Tracy Rector on the solutions that live within the lived experiences and practices of indigenous and historically neglected communities

    “In the work that we do at NiaTero, we’re guided by indigenous creatives to remember that we’re more than our trauma, that we’re also our successes and our joys, and we have antidotes. There are solutions for what’s happening today. And many of those solutions are rooted in being in good relationship, not only with one another, but with the earth. So many of the stories that we’re honored to be part of, that we get to create, that we get to amplify, really are about, there are some good solutions out there. So let’s begin focusing on those. Also, we advocate to make sure that marginalized voices are part of the storytelling process.”

  • Brian Newman on the disconnect between distributors and audiences, and the consumer desire for hopeful, solution-oriented stories

    “We’ve been told by people, executives at companies, that they’re suffering ‘climate fatigue’ and they don’t want these films. And they think that’s what consumers think too. But when we talk to audiences… especially younger audiences, what they really are tired of is despair, and they want positive stories.” 

  • Steven Olikara on the power we hold as individuals to push the movement where it needs to be

    “I had a mentor who once said something that was dangerous in a good way, which was, if you think someone ought to do something, that person is probably you. And in the space of organizing and movement building…approach it with the spirit of love and bridge building. You can break down oppressive systems with a spirit of love and reinvent them so they’re more inclusive. And I think that’s needed now more than ever.” 

We invite you to watch the recording of the session and view photos from the event. Your continued support empowers us to amplify the voices of changemakers and drive meaningful progress toward a sustainable future. Thank you for being a part of our community, and stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to engage with our work. 

  • 1 / 19
  • 2 / 19
  • 3 / 19
  • 4 / 19
  • 5 / 19
  • 6 / 19
  • 7 / 19
  • 8 / 19
  • 9 / 19
  • 10 / 19
  • 11 / 19
  • 12 / 19
  • 13 / 19
  • 14 / 19
  • 15 / 19
  • 16 / 19
  • 17 / 19
  • 18 / 19
  • 19 / 19