Climate Stories

Our Home, the Sea (Adra Ni, Y Môr)

Our Home, the Sea (Adra Ni, Y Môr)

Our Home, the Sea (Adra Ni, Y Môr)

Director’s Name: Mared Rees

Logline: Amidst a crumbling town and rapidly changing cultural landscape, a young woman struggles to secure a future for her daughter.

 

Synopsis: On the North Welsh coastal cliffs live Lara and her young daughter Mabli, in a small static caravan. Lara has lived the entirety of her life here, and is deeply connected to the landscape, language and culture of the small Welsh town, but she must leave her beloved home. The cliffs they live on are crumbling, and Lara and Mabli will be among the first climate refugees in the U.K., losing their home to the sea. This of yet unprecedented situation means there are little to no provisions for the people facing this crisis. And with the astronomical rise in house prices in areas such as this, they have no choice but to leave. We see a snapshot of their lives in this moment of extremity. Witnessing their connection to the beautiful, brutal landscape, and watching them experience devastating storms from their vulnerable home. Lara’s fears for Mabli’s cultural identity surface, as English words start to seep into her still forming vocabulary. With the difficulty of finding a home close to a Welsh language school, Lara feels as though a part of her, and of Mabli, is crumbling too. Cleaning homes of wealthy second home owners, Lara desperately scrapes together what little money she can for their new life. Lara’s unwavering resilience in a torrent of adversity holds the story, and their precarious lives together, but can she find them a home before it’s too late?

 

Production Plan: The production will be shot over 2 days, on location on the North Welsh coast. There will be two actors, Lara and Mabli, with the potential of background artists, but no further principle cast.

There will be minimal crew and the aesthetic will be stripped back and natural, blurring the line between fiction and documentary in tone and style. All child labour laws and regulations will be adhered to. Mared is experienced in working with children as a carer, and holds an enhanced DBS. The script will allow for freedom and improvised dialogue when shooting with Mabli, to achieve a natural performance without affecting the drive of the narrative. Think Netflix’s “Maid” meets “Aya”.

 

Previous work: Cysylltiad (Connection) https://youtu.be/WPAS5bghJEI https://filmhubwales.org/en/films/cysylltiad-connection/

CV: Mared is an early career Welsh filmmaker. Mared’s debut film, Cysylltiad (Connection), a Welsh language short film featuring Sian Reese-Williams, is still on it’s festival run; and has so far been screened at festivals around the UK, including Chapter Movie Maker 2021, The North East International Film Festival 2021, The International Film Festival of Wales 2021, where Sian was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role, Wales One World (WOW) Film Festival 2022, and Gŵyl y Ferch 2022, as well as the upcoming Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 2022. Mared wrote, directed, produced and acted in the film, and wrote and performed the score.

Cover Letter: Hello,

I was hugely inspired by amazing selection of climate related, and female driven films at WOW 2022, (I was delighted to see Bangla Surf Girls receive the audience award!), and am passionate about telling truthful stories centred around women. I want to explore the issues facing Welsh costal towns, both climate related and cultural. Coastal erosion is increasingly showing us what precarious places these can be, with the real possibility of climate refugees in the coming years across coastlines in the U.K. This is also a devastating issue already faced by many in Bangladesh, so although this piece is set in Wales it will be relatable for many.

I’m interested in looking at what the effects on the Welsh language, and people’s sense of identity could be, were they forced to move from the small towns where they feel so rooted, both physically and culturally. Much of my family are first language Welsh speakers from a very small village in Eryri, North Wales, and we have watched it change in recent years. There are now very few permanent, Welsh speaking, residents in the beautiful village my where Nain, and many generations of our family before her, lived. My cousin, to whom I am very close, is a single parent raising her daughter in this rapidly changing area. Her resilience, strength, and resourcefulness, inspire me every day. This story is for her, and for the many who experience the same struggles. It would be a privilege to collaborate with you on this piece. Diolch o galon/Many thanks, Mared

She Sells Shellfish

She Sells Shellfish (Menywod y Môr a Molysgiaid)

Director’s Name: Lily Tiger Tonkin Wells

She Sells Shellfish; Women on the Oyster and Mussel farms of the Welsh Coastline.

Mussels and oysters have been gaining traction in the media as an ethical alternative to fish or meat protein, with some accepting the supposed lower sentience of bivalves as suitable for a vegan diet. This remains a subjective choice, however, bivalve aquaculture is undeniably one of the most efficient and sustainable forms of food production with additional benefits to the surrounding environment.

With 1,680 miles of coastline, this documentary would seek to explore the Welsh oyster and mussel farms and their role as aquatic carbon sequesters by permanently mineralizing CO2 from the atmosphere. Shellfisheries also improve biodiversity and water quality through filtration; a one-hectare mussel bed filters up to 30,000 m3 of seawater per day, removing up to 1 ton of nitrogen per year. (Shellfish Centre, 2018. p. 4)

 

Fishing boats are generally male-dominated workplaces, however, research shows that women are more active in artisanal invertebrate fisheries, often for subsistence purposes and post-harvest activities. (Gustavsson, 2021) This film would aim to uncover the undervalued labor of women in aquaculture in Wales, such as the Menai Strait, Ramsey, and Swansea Docks, and in scientific research labs such as The Shellfish Centre in Bangor. These supporting roles can go unrecognized; comparable to the way that the climate change mitigation potential of shellfish is still mostly hidden from public attention.

Climate change is a symptom of our capitalist society; a superstructure that has organised the world into degrees of difference, profiting from the subjugation of women, non-white people, queer people, disabled people, the working class and the non-human. My proposal would seek to avoid presenting shellfish as an insentient resource to be mindlessly exploited. Instead, I hope the film would be a celebration of an efficient carbon sequester and ocean filtration system. With little human acknowledgement, this ‘biotechnology’ has occurred naturally in bivalves for millions of years, providing the potential both as a sustainable and low carbon food source and as an active response to climate change. I am convinced of the potential for Wales’s vast coastline to harbour an underwater carbon sink, offering an alternative to the land and time-intensive efforts of reforestation.

 

Having grown up in West Wales on the banks of the River Teifi, I have a personal connection to the Welsh sea. And, as one of six daughters, I am not one to underrate the importance and resilience of women. With this as my background, understanding the reasons behind women’s prominence in small scale fisheries is of particular interest. Examining the gender imbalances within the fishing industry could, in turn, elucidate the socio-economic conditions which are potentially causing the wider deterioration of the ocean’s health. The low carbon technologies and hand-harvesting practices of bivalve farming could instead inspire a campaign for a down-scaling of food production, and perhaps an opportunity to empower coastal communities and economies throughout Wales with greater gender inclusivity. In addition, there is something curious around the binary notions of gender in human society, when brought in relation to the hermaphroditic genderless-ness of many shellfish species. Perhaps the ‘fluidity’ of these non-human organisms could influence how humans perceive gender entirely.

 

This work would be an extension of my current fine art practice and research. Recently, I completed my dissertation which sought to explore the body in the context of a capitalist economy and ecological collapse. I discussed the imbalanced subjugation of certain kinds of bodies to capitalist structures, the reconfiguration of the subject/object and human/nature binaries, and finally, the porosity of bodies to the invisible by-products of global industrialism. This funding and learning opportunity would allow me to bring this research closer to home by working directly with female fishers, labourers, scientists and the non-human bodies of shellfish in Wales. Millie Violett, an aquaculture fieldwork scientist from Swansea University and Nerys Edwards from Syren Shellfish in Pembrokeshire are potential contributors to the project who I am already in contact with.

 

I have experience as a camera operator, sound recordist and editor but mostly at a low-fi student level; my relationship to moving image comes from an artistic place. I would approach this documentary with a similar creative mindset, allowing the style to morph in relation to the research process, being open to the women I might meet and the locations I travel to, to inform the film’s development. Listening to the shellfish could also be a fruitful approach, seeking to include the perspectives and temporalities of non-human optics, inspired by the writings of Jean Epstein, Ula Ruym and Karen Barad.

 

Creative projects benefit from collaboration, thus, the opportunity to work with a professional crew would undoubtedly transform and mature this concept tenfold. Equally, I would hugely benefit from a mentoring programme to aid in my communication of a story to a wider audience outside of a fine-art context. Aldo Leopold wrote that “we can only be ethical in relation to something we can see, understand, feel,” (1949) thus, this documentary would be an initiative for transparency and awareness; bringing the under-represented labours of women in aquaculture and the unrecognised potential of shellfish cultivation in Wales to the surface.

Doprujhiri

DOPRUJHIRI

Director’s Name: Asma Beethe, Bangladesh

Runtime: 25 minutes (approx.)

Language: Mru

Subtitle: Bangla & English

Logline: The people of an indigenous community face unprecedented trouble as their main source of water, a stream named Dopru jhiri, gradually declines.

Synopsis: In the farthest corner of Bangladesh, deep inside the jungle of the hillside area of Bandarban, a Mru village was founded surrounding a stream of water named Dopru Jhiri. This small village was named after the stream. In Mru language, the word  ‘Do’ means pitcher, and there is a tale of a pitcher full of treasure that was once found in this stream. Be this tale of treasure true or false, this stream of water itself is the most essential part of this community, as it is rare to find a continuous flow of water in that area. Bayan Mru and Ching Pao Mru, a married couple, who are in their late eighties, have experienced the youth of this stream. Their everyday life has been deeply entangled with the stream. There was a time when the stream would provide generously and they never thought that a day would come when they would have to worry about the water for their children and their grandchildren. The flow of the water is gradually decreasing. This is a new phenomenon for this old couple and they are anxious if it continues like this, soon there will be no water flowing from the stream. Now, there are at least two apparent reasons behind this decline: the disappearance of stones that keep the flow of water intact and the intervention of the outside world. People from the outside have been taking away the stones for last few years. The plastic bottles and bags left by the tourists are among the apparent elements of the intervention of the outside world. Mru people used to be completely self-sufficient. Now, things are changing and the old Bayan Mru and Ching Pao Mru are experiencing this change right in front of their eyes. Now they are looking for alternate ways of collecting and storing the water. This community tends to live as far as they can from the mainstream society. But now, they are forced to come in contact with the outside world and become more ‘modernized’ than they were before. Their age old intrinsic connection with the nature is also gradually disappearing. This old couple and their family are among those who are witnessing and also part of this change.  While Pao Mru worries if his grand child will be able to listen to the sweet sound of Jhiri that kept the village alive, Bayan Mru wonders if there is a way to sustain their way of life which includes the stream – the echo of a way of life, the treasure.

Treatment: This observational documentary film will capture the stream in both monsoon and the dry seasons depicting the change of the flow of water. The film, first, exposes us to a world of calmness and serenity and then gradually unfolds the problems in paradise. The conversations among the family members, especially regarding the stream, will be the key in steering the story forward. The mythic tale of the stream will be visualized through the grandmother as she tells the founding tales of the village to her grandchildren. On the one hand, first their old ways will be portrayed and then on the other hand the novel ‘development’ in the villages will be revealed, creating juxtaposition. On the one side a traditional house will be captured and one the other side a newly built house made of concrete. To show their sustainable connection with nature scenarios like the saving of a sentient being other than human will be included. The background score of the film will be a crucial element of this project as the natural ambience sound in the deep forest will be followed by the harsh sound of the breaking of stones. For instance, as the grandmother tells the story of the past to her grandchildren, complimentary natural sound will be accompanied with. The community, especially the family that the film circles around will be closely observed and depicted without exoticizing them. The film may end with a scene of the children staring at the stream of water which no longer provides like it used to.

 

Director’s Statement: The distance of Ali Kadam from Chittagong city is approx. 160 kilometers, and the village ‘Dopru Jhiri’ is about 15 kilometers away from Ali Kadam Upazilla. I first visited Dopru Jihiri in 2011 with my friend Rupa Dutta, who is a researcher of a non-government organization. So, her job and my personal interests both merged in a way. My vision was to explore a Mru village and, I was eager to capture photos.

The first time I visited the village, I felt a good vibe because there I saw Mru’s identity (clothing, food habit, culture) in a less changed state, which is much more unbothered than other Mru communities. Then in various seasons, I went there on holidays as soon as I got free time. I acquainted with the faces of the villagers, and united with a Mru family. There is a relationship with the mountainous plants, animals and many more. These relationships have inspired a recurring theme. I feel attracted by huge socio-cultural features of Mru community. Which is minimal requirement, minimal fixtures, and simple strategy to keep in touch with all the elements of nature without destroying it. Whatever life-sustaining, cultural and common therapeutic solutions, they have mastered from the elements of nature. Once this dependence was perfect for them. While I haven’t seen much of this dependency, what I’ve seen has diminished over the past decade. Before, the village had no cement pillar or verandah, no electric device or electricity, no plastic made water tank, there was huge stone in the bed of mountain stream, no use of cooking oil and so on.

Maybe there can be a debate about whether all changes are good or bad. But in the aftermath of COVID 19, we have come to understand more and more that if nature did not survive than humans, other souls and even the earth would not survive. Everyone knows that ‘Sustainable Development’ will keep nature alive. The word will be free from lexical aristocracy only when people can truly bring it to their senses. Such a point also served as the inspiration for this film. What fascinates me most about Mru’s characteristics is their `Silence’. Apart from festivals and necessities, there is not much fuss or much conversation among themselves. Everyone is aware of their duties. I once asked an old Mru woman – `You do the same thing every morning and afternoon, fetching water from the mountain-stream, going to the Jhum (Slash & Burn), looking after the children, does you not want to sit and relax for one single day? Don’t you want to go to town for a day? ‘ It took a long time to understand this question by her. Then she replied, `Once I went to town to visit an Eye-hospital. Will go to the city again if the opportunity arises. But who will do my stuffs?’ Certainly, everyone does everyone’s work. Like the silent language of nature, the unity that we have discovered while working with them, in our minds without disturbing nature has acted as the ultimate motivation for us.

There are many crises all over the world, there must be many deep forests in the heart of the earth, the mountains and there must a beautiful landscape of mountain-stream. And also, the extinction of the language-village-forest-mountain extinction is no less. I noticed a small hilly village on my small piece of homeland, which is gradually squeezing, and this is equivalent of the earth to me

Latika-লতিকা

LATIKA

Director’s Name:  Samsul Islam Shopoon

Synopsis

Goalbari is a remote village on the banks of the Chitra river in Bangladesh. More than fifty fishing families of the Malo community call it their home. They have been making a living by fishing with otters for the past six hundred years. Latika Biswas, wife of Fisherman Shyam Biswas, is a struggling woman. The family has a tug-of-war with poverty with their two children, an elderly mother and dozens of otters.

If there is water in the river Chitra, they catch fish, if not, they have to fast. Latika takes care of the otter like her own children, takes care of it, feeds it. The otter eats the food and keeps the whole house chirping. Her children rejoice to see this.

As the days go by, the season change, on the one hand due to the changing weather and climate, the entry of salt water into the Chitra river, on the other hand, the money lendres trap of high interests, it becomes near to impossible trying to get rid of their economic misery. At one point, a severe poverty came and attacked their finances. Even if Shyam decides to sell otters, will Latika be able to To keep her pet otter safe …

 

Treatment

Latika Biswas (35) takes the otter out of the cage and feeds it like her own child. If they don’t have money to buy fish, sometimes she has to catch frogs and insects from the field and feed them. But Latika did not forget to feed the children separately. The otters ate the food and kept the whole house intoxicated with joy. Seeing this, his children Simanta (12) and Lagna (6) are happy. Shyam’s younger brother Madhu (36), an unmarried man, lives separately in this house, buys fish and sells it in the market. Their elderly mother Bhabani Biswas (60). Although she is an old person, she loves to travel. Due to which she stayed at the house of her close relatives for most of the year.

Latika and her children interfere when Shyam Biswas decides to sell otters due to poverty. The children are heightened and sit next to the otters without eating. Shyam Biswas fails to convince his touchy wife Latika. Latika does not accompany her husband on the idea of selling the Otters..

 

Due to the weather, the water and environment of the Chitra river are salinated and polluted day by day and the fish die. Seeing this, Shyam cannot find any way to repay the loan installment  which has not been paid yet. He did not wait for water in the river but went fishing in the neighboring district of Narail for a few days.

Along with Shyam Biswas, Nitish (35), Srikanth (60) and Shuvrat (60) catch fish in the boat. They are all residents of the same village. They are all dependent on Shyam. Because Shyam Biswas is the owner of this boat with otters. They catch fish with otters on the way and sell the fish in the market.

Meanwhile, we see Latika’s struggling daily life with her children and family. She is pained when she doesn’t see otters for a long time. She inquires about the otter cubs on her mobile several times a day. With the money that Shyam sends, she has to work hard to pay for his family and children’s education. The people of the NGO money lender association came to the house and tries to force them to pay the late installment.

Shyam stays on the river with the boat. When one of their assistants, Shuvrat Biswas, fell ill, they were forced to return to their village. Latika manages the family as well as the women of the village to go ahead happily in their joy and sorrow. Latika appealed to the district relief and rehabilitation officers knowing that they were being deprived of their basic rights from government grants, rations and other facilities in the village during the winter.

After being at home for a long time, Shyam breaks down emotionally. His assistant fishermen spend idle time with their families. In the shops, they play cards, gamble and take loans. There are conflicts between the fishermen of the Malo community and the fishermen of other communities about selling fish in the market. They despise the otter fishermen.

In winter, there is no water in the Chitra river, no fish, no food in the store of the assistant fishermen in the boat. Shyam and Latika’s family was attacked by poverty due to lack of time. On the one hand, due to the inability to go to the Sundarbans, the interest rate on the loan of the association is increasing day by day and he is in trouble with his family and a dozen otters. At the End Shyam lost his way and finally sold two pairs of otters.

Production Plan:

  • LATIKA is my short / fiction-non- fiction documentary film. We will go through

the journey by following the characters.

  • We intend to use two cameras at the shooting location.
  • I will record the sound in the location as well as I want to add ambient sound.
  • We want to shoot 3/4 for 21 days.

Fro example,

  • Next shooting date 15-19 July (Ashar), Editing (Rough Cut) 23-27 July 2022. Second lot shooting 2-8 September (Ashwin), Editing (Rough Cut) 12-15 September 2022. Third lot shoooting 28 November 02 December (Agrahayan), Editing (Rough Cut) 05-10 December 2022. 05-08 January (Magh), Editing (Rough Cut) 10-15 January 2023.
  • I will complete the post-production work in January, February 2023 and Final submit it or I intend to submit it even earlier.
  • Adding or subtracting our visual planning or lineup will do.
  • The length of the documentary film will be a minimum of 25/30 minutes. The rest is salient on the footage.
  • The budget for the movie is 8 lakh taka. But we want to take on several co-producers..

Director Statement

I am SAMSUL ISLAM SHOPOON. independent filmmaker, writer, producer and social organizer. Although my paternal grandfather’s house is in Tongi of Gazipur district, my maternal grandparents are on the bank of river Titas in Brahmanbaria. Otters have been a part of my childhood memories of growing up in the fishermen’s communities. I found the otter lost in the river Titas as a child again in 2015 in a fishing village on the banks of Chitra river in Narail district.

Talking to a number of otter fishermen, I realized that I was fascinated by the history, culture and heritage of the troubled Malo community. But saddened, to hear the story of the near extinction of endangered otter fishermen. That’s when the idea of making a short documentary film Titled ‘LATIKA-লতিকা’ came to my mind from the Position of my social responsibility.

Director’s profile

Samsul Islam Shopoon, an independent filmmaker, writer, producer and social organizer. and founder of Khiyo films. His first Short documentary titled “Turags Boat” was shot with a handheld camera in 2004 while in high school. He has in past worked part-time in various production houses from 2008-2019 as a producer, writer and director. He has acted as the founding president of the ” Mahanagar Film Society-Gazipur” of which he still  is in charge of ‘ for the last 6 years

SAMSUL ISLAM SHOPOON

filmmaker, producer

Mobile: +88017 1251 1443

Email: shopoonbd@gmail.com