Together Films had the pleasure of working with Patagonia to support the European Community & Grassroots Screening Initiative for the documentary Blue Heart, as part of the global #SaveTheBlueHeart campaign from February - October 2018.
The last truly wild, unaltered rivers on the European continent are dispersed among a handful of countries between Slovenia and Albania in the Balkans region. Decades of communist dictatorship, war, and economic instability have stalled the march of development that have altered the rest of Europe’s ecological landscape forever. But this is about to change. With Balkan countries looking toward European Union membership, international development banks have poured billions of Euros into the region for “green energy” projects. Like many global development projects, hydro schemes in the Balkans are rife with corruption.
At a time when dams are being decommissioned and removed in the U.S. and other developed countries, a flood of concessions have been dolled out to developers for dam construction with almost no oversight and accountability, threatening to destroy this incredible resource. The impact would be staggering, nearly 3000 dams have been proposed for the region, flooding historic villages, agricultural fields, and conservation areas. Most of the people affected have no idea what’s coming.
In March 2018, Patagonia launched a global campaign to encourage the international community to oppose the construction of so many dams. The central campaign ask for for individuals to sign a petition, calling for the private international banks to stop investing the destruction of Europe’s last wild rivers. Patagonia also produced an accompanying short film, Blue Heart, to raise awareness and support for the campaign.
Develop a clear Impact Distribution Strategy covering all the key territories across Europe
Build partners with hundreds of organisations interested in the issues to host screenings throughout 2018
Create and distribute a range of screening resource guides to propel people to action
Screenings were coordinated by a diverse range of organisations. All screening hosts were encouraged to ask audiences to sign the global petition and host a post-screening discussion, using the Screening Discussion Guide that we created.
Blue Heart screenings covered a wide geographical area, with a clear focus on European territories. The conversation around the film reached outside of Europe, to organisers as far away as Chile, China, Singapore and South Africa. We screened the film in 35 countries!
Conservative estimates, based on venue capacities and reported audience attendance, would suggest that around 30,000 people saw Blue Heart as part of the screening campaign, which is around 125 people on average. Screenings ranged from small cafe shops with 20 people, to outdoor screenings with 600 in attendance.
As part of the campaign over 120,000 people signed a petition, which was delivered to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to demand the banks stop funding projects that will damage the wild rivers.
Here are a few highlights from some of the European screenings we coordinated.
Host Organisation: Urgul Mountain
San Sebastian, Spain
Borja coordinated a whole day of activities around his screening of Blue Heart, and turned it into a full day festival, with yoga, live painting and music alongside the film screening.
Host Organisation: Balkan River Tours
Location: On the Soča River, between Srpenica & Trnovo, Slovenia
Rok hosted a fantastic outdoor screening for 600 people in the Soca Valley, with a big flotilla of rafts and kayaks! The film screening was organised as part of a large event to apply pressure to SENG (Soča Hydropower Plants Company) and demand that they finally cancel plans for the dams on Učja River and upper Soča River.
Host Organisation: Manifesto
Mercado Municipal Matosinhos, Portugal
Tiago hosted in screening in this incredible fish market! Check out the amazing before and after pictures of the screening space.
As part of the campaign, we secured screenings of Blue Heart at the following International Film Festivals:
International Human Rights Film Festival, Albania
Sörf Film Festival, Austria
Kulturverein Röda, Austria
Crossroads Festival, Austria
Planetarium Film Festival, Belarus
Zelena akcija, Friends of the Earth Croatia Film Festival, Croatia
Flussfilmfest Berlin 2019, Germany
Flussfilmfest Munich 2019, Germany
Vovousa Festival, Greece
Panorama Film Festival, Greece
Moving Waters Film Festival, India
il richiamo del Trebbia, Italy
Bridge Film Festival, Italy
CineZoldo Alpin Film Festival, Italy
Cinema Jusuf Gervalla & Anibar Film Festival, Kosovo
Ladek Mountain Film Festival, Poland
Idrija Fly Fishing Film Festival, Slovenia
Filme für die Erde, Switzerland & Germany
Take One Action, United Kingdom