Brookline Climate Week 2014: Bidder 70 Film


The 4th annual Brookline Climate Week started off yesterday with the documentary film Bidder 70 screened at the Coolidge Corner Theater.  The theme this year as stated by one of Climate Action Brookline’s board members was “linking the moral underpinnings of social and climate justice.”  The film depicts one of the more notable recent stories of injustice by following Timothy DeChristopher during the two years between his successful attempt to disrupt the illegal auction of public lands to oil and gas companies in Utah and his ultimate conviction and sentencing for that action.  It is literally heartbreaking to watch the judge block all bases for defense that have to do with moral conscience or that reference how the auction by the Bureau of Land Management was ultimately deemed unlawful anyhow.  During the discussion that followed the screening, the notion of grassroots climate change activism being the “abolitionist movement of our generation” was raised.  I get the comparison, not sure I feel too comfortable using it though.

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Boston Film Festival

The 29th annual Boston Film Festival took place this weekend at the Revere Hotel’s Theatre 1.  The festival usually has a feature film that pulls in a celebrity or two – Andy Garcia this year.  I am happy to see that organizers are allowing this event to be a platform for discussing environmental issues.  Last year there was a screening of a nearly-finished copy of Greedy Lying Bastards, a film that put the spotlight on climate change denial and those behind the PR campaign to confuse the public and prevent meaningful discussion on the topic.  This year journalist Angela Sun presented Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The documentary chronicles Sun’s journey to Midway Atoll to investigate the effects of the swirling mass of trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Circulation is concentrating North American and East Asian trash, particularly plastics, here and enormous amounts of it wash up on shore at Midway.  Sea birds, albatross in particular, and other animals are at great risk – the contents of the stomachs of dead ones opened up reveal the extent to which they ingest plastic.  The only solution is to stop creating so much trash – refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle – and responsibly dispose of what we do create.

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A local film by Billerica-based Brian Dorrington made its debut on the last night of the festival.  George of the Center focused on the efforts of one man to preserve the historic town center of Billerica from a highway project.  While I think the film suffered a bit from a lack of context, it was more about the person of George Simoularis leading the fight against the town council than the issue itself.  The film suggests the board of selectmen were subverting democracy by purposely keeping the construction plans quiet and holding an unpublicized special election, essentially hoping public disinterest would allow the project to pass.  A large group of Billerica residents turned out for the screening.

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