It was 2018 when former organic farmer Roger Hallam decided enough was enough. If he was going to save the planet then it wasn’t going to be through petitions, compromise, or conciliation. It was time to make a nuisance of himself and hit the powerful where they hurt by disrupting the economy. And so Extinction Rebellion was born. By April 2019, the movement was strong enough to block traffic across central London for several days, and over 1000 supporters were arrested—Hallam’s key metric for success. And it seemed he was right: before the week was up, the UK became the first industrial nation to declare a climate emergency, Extinction Rebellion’s primary demand. But then, as this candid observational documentary shows, things got messy.
First-time filmmakers Maia Kenworthy and Elena Sánchez Bellot were in on the ground floor before even Hallam knew what Extinction Rebellion could achieve. They focus on several activists, including international climate lawyer Farhana Yamin and many first-time protesters, among them Roger’s daughter Savannah Lovelock. It’s an empowering testament to the impact of collective action and taking an individual stand, but also a cautionary tale about the stresses of this kind of work.
Coarse language, violence
Open to youth!
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Maia Kenworthy, Elena Sánchez Bellot
Maia Kenworthy is an independent documentary filmmaker from London. She has directed and produced films for charities and arts organizations, and taught creative workshops in schools and universities across the UK. With a background in history and art, she has always been interested in visual storytelling and the ways it can connect us to each other. In 2018, she met the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion and has spent the last four years immersed in the world of activism.
Elena Sánchez Bellot
Elena Sánchez Bellot is a Spanish filmmaker based in London. She is a self-shooting director and editor, keen on capturing the nuanced and complicated ways in which we are human. Her previous work includes films for public sector institutions such as the National Housing Federation and Arts Council England, as well as private clients like the NBA, MTV, and NBC. She runs workshops for filmmakers and teaches in the MA in Documentary Film program at University College London. Rebellion is her feature directorial debut.