Create NSW contacted Screenworks, which then demanded the film-makers take down Island Home
— A New South Wales government agency has demanded the removal from the internet of a hard-hitting environmental short film which urges Australians to “vote for the climate”.
Island Home features stirring imagery of Australia’s coastline, warning it will be harmed by the climate emergency, and criticises Adani for the Carmichael coalmine and Equinor’s proposal to drill the Great Australian Bight.
Thunderbox Films received a grant through the Go Viral program administered by Screenworks, a charity supported by Create NSW.
The film concludes with a suggestion that Australians should “vote for the climate”, sign a petition or email their local MP, followed by credits that include a NSW government logo.
Island Home was released by Thunderbox on Tuesday, just days out from the federal election. Its release prompted Create NSW to contact Screenworks, which then demanded film-makers Matty Hannon and Gary Parker remove it from the internet on Wednesday.
Thunderbox Films removed it from social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook, offering to repost the film without the NSW government logo. The original video has been republished by Belinda Baggs, a global surf activist for brand Patagonia who appears in the movie.
A Create NSW spokesman said: “An unapproved cut of Island Home was published on social media with the NSW government logo without the consent of funding body Create NSW, contrary to contractual obligations.
“When this was discovered Create NSW requested it be taken down pending further discussion with executive producers, Screenworks and the film-makers.”
Hannon and Parker said they published Island Home “after receiving clearance for the final cut … in accordance with our pre-approved release schedule”.
“As soon as we became aware that Create NSW was experiencing issues with Island Home online, we deleted it and followed all requests.
“We look forward to reviewing the short-film further with the Executive Producers, Screenworks and Create NSW.”
Baggs accused the NSW government of pulling the movie “due to its political nature”.
Baggs defended the film, telling Guardian Australia it had “cleared the grant approval process”, including its explicitly political content.
“The film outlines the Australian coastline is under attack environmentally, encouraging Australians to stand against fossil fuels threats … to fight for the bite and stop Adani,” she said. “The premise is to urge people to consider the environment in everything they do – in all actions – including voting.
“There is no mention of voting for a particular political party – it doesn’t say to vote Labor or vote Greens.”
The chief executive of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Darren Kindleysides, said Island Home was “a strong piece of film-making, showing people speaking up for the climate and nature at this critical time as Australians are going to the polls”.
“We are in a climate emergency, an extinction crisis and the future of the Great Barrier Reef hangs in the balance,” he said. “Time is running out – the next Australian government cannot squander time on half measures.
“It’s not surprising people are speaking out – protection of nature is a critical issue.”
by Paul Karp | The Guardian