by Sherif Awad
An acclaimed feature-length documentary that follows stories of communities challenging current power structures, leading to possibilities of a future with both social and climate justice. The filmmakers (Amy Miller and Byron A. Martin) take us around the world from war torn, oil-rich Colombia where people have been building a peace process from the bottom up to Germany, where activists are pushing the country to fully leave behind the extraction of fossil fuels and complete its transition to renewable energy. And finally, the story of Empower GAZA, in Gaza City (Palestine) where the problem of daily energy blackouts, borne out of the 11-year siege is being tackled by health practitioners through solar power to provide essential care in hospitals.
Since the industrial revolution, mankind has managed to provide electricity, gas, oil and heat for billions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the side effects of those privileges have caused pollution, destroyed drinking water and marine life and created global warming. The time has come for clean energy and the transition to other alternatives of power without negative impacts to the environment. When one factors in big profit from companies, investors and government benefitting from oil and gas, coal and uranium, one begins to see the scale of the problem of trying to create change. Evolution teaches us change is inevitable and technology continues to advance.
Somebody that’s actually taking steps to inform the world about the importance of clean energy and the impact of global warming is documentary filmmaker, Amy Miller. She and Byron A. Martin produced the film TOMORROW’S POWER to shine a light on people and organizations leading the charge in hopes of bringing change. Amy traveled to three countries deeply affected to speak with organizers working toward a solution while allowing the camera to act as a vehicle in carrying their testimony forward.
Amy Miller has been making documentaries for the past ten years. She is also a social justice organizer based in Montreal. She directed and wrote the documentary NO LAND NO FOOD NO LIFE a hard-hitting film on the economy, agricultural land grabs and the changes to farmers’ lives around the world. She directed, wrote and produced the documentary THE CARBON RUSH, a global exposé on how carbon offset projects impact local peoples. The film has expanded to include an online interactive game as well as a book of essays and photos published by RED DEER PRESS (2013). She directed, wrote and produced the featurette documentary MYTHS FOR PROFIT: CANADA’S ROLE IN INDUSTRIES OF WAR AND PEACE that was screened thoroughly across Canada and at festivals including the Milano Film Festival, RIDM and The Bay Street Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice award. Her first documentary, OUTSIDE OF EUROPE, focused on the exclusionary nature of immigration and border policies and continues to be screened around the world. She remains dedicated to developing critical documentaries for transformative social change and helping grassroots campaigns for justice
Byron A. Martin is also an award-winning producer that develops independent film, television and documentary projects. To date he has produced almost 100 hours of television, filming projects in fifteen countries. He has produced projects for Disney, Sony, Universal, Turner and Bell Media and managed productions for some of Hollywood’s leading producers (Jerry Bruckheimer, Sam Raimi, Lauren Shuler Donner, Raffaella De Laurentis, Mark Canton, Dick Wolf, Laurence Mark, John Singleton, Ralph Winter and Don Carmody).
Back to Amy Miller who considered other countries, such as the Congo and Ecuador but logistically they didn’t work out. The intention of the documentary was not to present a 101 on climate change but rather a 201 to people that know climate change already exists and showing people on the ground doing something about it, the hurdles they face, what are their limitations and how they’ve overcome them. Miller have been involved around the world working with people regarding climate change, establishing strong relations before travelling to the locations. She was aware that we she is there for support and to document for the purpose of educating the public to help bring change. She was in each country for approximately three weeks.”
One should note that Ann Miller has worked with Byron A. Martin on a previous documentary, THE CARBON RUSH and so they have established a great working relationship, which prompted her to collaborate again on this film. Although she never spoke with Byron because he is in Germany and the time zones made it difficult to establish a time that worked for both of us, he was more than willing to speak with her, had the time zones not been an issue. Amy Miller likes to use small crew, so there was herself, a DOP, a sound recorder and a local coordinator on the ground.
In each location we visit in the film, there are amazing spokespeople working with the organizations and engaging with the camera crew. In the Arauca Region, its Sonia Milena Lopez – Human rights observer and Bernardo Arguello – community organizer, in Rheiland Germany it’s Dorothee HäuBermann – Climate Justice organizer and in Gaza City it’s Dr. Mohamed Ziara. They had remarkable contributions in enacting positive change and making a difference through peaceful means.
The project started to be developed back in 2014 – 2015 in terms of locating financing, getting people on board and figuring out the storylines. Miller started the filming in 2016 and she had the world premiere in March of 2017 in Cambodia.
The film has been in over 30 festivals around the world and screens in Toronto at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Feb. 20, 2018. In addition to Byron A. Martin co-producing it, Boban Chaldovich was the editor, Sylvestre Guidi was the DOP, Kyle Stanfield was the sound recorder and of course, Amy Miller was writer/director.
This documentary brings the viewer to the front lines of people standing up to big corporation in an effort to bring more attention to climate change and alternative power. It is highly effective and brings hope for cleaner energy for a sustainable world in which we can all appreciate. Filmmakers like Amy are so invaluable in educating the public to be proactive in supporting clean energy and paving the way to a better future for all of us. We should all try to participate in joining the movement. The technology is there and will only become more efficient as it continues to be developed. If we all invest we all win.
TOMORROW’S POWER was recently awarded the Best Documentary Feature Film Award at the Sydney World Film Festival. The documentary has succeeded to showcase three communities around the world and their responses to economic and environmental emergencies. In the war-torn, oil-rich Arauca province in Colombia, communities have been building a peace process from the bottom up. In Germany, activists are pushing the country to fully divest from fossil-fuel extraction and complete its transition to renewable energy. In Gaza, health practitioners harness solar power to battle daily life-threatening energy blackouts in hospitals.
The documentary will be the much-needed film to explain our worldwide addiction to fossil fuels and its relationship to climate change, but it will also empower and motivate: It will inspire its viewers to work hard and persist even in the face of massive obstacles, setbacks and failures. We hope to screen it soon across the Middle East.