A documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films examines the underground culture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Three decades after the world's most infamous nuclear disaster, wildlife has returned in the absence of human settlements. Meanwhile, illegal hiking adventurers known as "stalkers," extreme sports aficionados, artists, and tour companies have begun to explore anew the ghostly, post-apocalyptic landscape.
FROM TRASH TO TREASURE:
turning negatives into positives
Director: Iara Lee
Documentary | 25m 7s | United States | 2020
In Lesotho—a highland country surrounded by South Africa—an artist named Nthabiseng TeReo Mohanela takes discarded materials and transforms them into unique clothing and accessories. Teaching young people the benefits of recycling and re-creation, she calls her project “From Trash to Treasure.” With TeReo’s work as a starting point, this short film showcases a broader spirit of reimagination among artists in Lesotho, who use creativity to respond to entrenched social problems: Filmmakers show the need to end child marriage. Musicians write songs about climate change. Farmers collect seeds to protect endangered tree species. Designers use fashion to preserve traditional Basotho culture and challenge common perceptions of Africa. Profiling a variety of these innovators, FROM TRASH TO TREASURE: turning negatives into positives encourages us to take lessons from those who rethink, reuse, and reinvent in order to promote positive change.
WANTOKS: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia
Director: Iara Lee
Documentary | 19m 59s | United States | 2020
In 2018 the Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific, hosted the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival, celebrating the country’s 40th anniversary of independence. On neighbouring island states, the struggle for freedom continues, as West Papua resists Indonesian occupation and the residents of New Caledonia still live under French rule. In all Melanesian countries, residents face the common challenge of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to swallow both land and tradition. In this charged context, captivating performers are using their talents to celebrate local culture and draw international attention to their islands’ plight, with the hope of spurring international solidarity and prompting collective action against the perils of a warming world.