At this years Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, I had the chance to catch the beautiful documentary Fall & Winter. The feature debut by Vancouver raised director Matt Anderson is a captivating journey into the complex web of unfolding global crises facing our modern civilization and the mindset and path that brought us here.
And although in many respects Fall and Winter could be called an environmental film, it’s not what you might expect. Rather than a barrage of facts and figures, or a focus on one specific environmental disaster or another, Fall & Winter is something much bigger.
Over four separate trips and 16000 miles Matt Anderson and his team traveled across American looking for answers, conducting interviews, and filming the breathtaking landscapes and devastating scenes of industrial ruin that they encountered along the way.
The result is both an intellectually powerful and visually stunning indictment of a civilization in peril. And the answers aren’t what you might except.
Rather than looking at the direct superficial cause of any one specific environmental catastrophe, Fall & Winter takes a much broader perspective, and peers into the psychological, historic and spiritual factors that lie at the heart of the looming environmental catastrophes we’re confronting. It’s not just a matter of oil spills or greenhouse gases, but a much more basic but profound question, of how we view ourselves as humans and imagine our relationship to the natural world.
As with any film confronting enormous problems, Fall and Winter has its share difficult messages, but this is not a story of despair. Rather it’s a call to reimagine how we live our lives and construct our societies. The film looks both to past wisdom as well as to a range of strategies being developed by committed groups and individuals all across America who are experimenting with new ways of living, from finding new uses for abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit to learning how to construct cobb houses in Oregon.
All the while Fall & Winter manages to not only be insightful and important, but an engaging joy to watch. It had its Canadian debut at Hot Docs earlier this month to sold out crowds and before that played at SXSW in Austin Texas. While he was in Toronto accompanying the film I took the chance to sit down with director Matt Anderson and speak with him about the film, the journey of making it, and about our changing relationship with the earth.
There are plans in the works to tour Fall And Winter around to various cities across America and (hopefully) Canada this summer. If it comes to a town near you, I highly recommend it. To find out more about the film and to keep up on news of upcoming screenings, check them out at http://www.fallwintermovie.com/
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