Take One Action Film Festival 2010
Sweet Crude, Climate Refugees and Budrus among highlights
Now in its third year, the Take One Action! Film Festival offers a rare opportunity to watch activist documentaries and politically-orientated films at the cinema. This excellent festival concentrates on the agenda-setting and eco-documentary sub-genres that have grown exponentially over the last decade, showing films as varied, worrying and fascinating as A Crude Awakening, The End of the Line, An Inconvenient Truth and Darwin’s Nightmare.
Many of the films showing this year are vigorously propagandist, in that they fight for a cause as if going in to battle. Indeed, one of the highlight films of this year’s programme, Climate Refugees, draws this comparison directly, when filmmaker and narrator Michael P Nash attempts to answer the question of future generations dealing with a collapsed environment: ‘What did you do in the war, daddy?’
This propagandist element is no bad thing. Nero’s Guests is another fine example; following the journalist P. Sainath, Deepa Bhatia’s film works from Sainath’s anger and despair about the 200,000 Indian farmers who have taken their own lives in the last ten years.
Full of facts, figures and indignation, the film highlights the fatuousness of remarks made by some well-known names in the fashion world. One young woman notes that we need the poor – how else would she get a manicure and her hair done?
Other documentaries include Budrus, which is getting a broader release, and Persona non Grata, a hagiographic account of Frans Wuytack, a Belgian priest who went to Venezuela and gave up his official residence in Caracas to live among the poor in the slums.
Sandy Cioffi’s Sweet Crude details the recent history of the Niger Delta, where the average life expectancy has been reduced from over 60 to 40 years because of oil companies spewing out waste into the region. The Garden asks if a community garden in south central LA, where the locals grow their own food and feed their families, can survive or whether big development will take over. ‘I don’t like their cause and I don’t like their conduct,’ says the mega-rich, activist-hating developer in the film. Take One Action! stands for the opposite: it likes people’s causes and their conduct.