Vancouver International Film Festival: Revolution

By guest blogger, Kyle Empringham
Rob Stewart, the Director of Sharkwater, is at it again with his new documentary, Revolution. Through his experiences with his previous award-winning film, and with a new mindset, Stewart takes a new approach to conserving the world’s oceans.

© United Conservationists

While at a screening of Sharkwater in Hong Kong, an audience member asked Stewart a prolific question. “We appreciate the work you’re doing for shark conservation, but why should we care about this when scientists predict that global fisheries will collapse by 2048?”
Stewart himself notes that he didn’t know how to answer the question, and thus, he embarked on his new journey.
Through this film, Stewart uses what he knows best – including scuba diving and stunning shots of neat underwater creatures – to show the audience what’s at stake if we don’t change our ways and clean up the environment at large. We see dazzling creatures and communities, all of which deserve the right to prosper in a pollution-free space.

© United Conservationists

Revolution also tackles the ideas behind making a change. We follow Stewart to over 15 different countries, where he is at the forefront of protests, rallies, and other mechanisms for change. Although not all result in success, we see the constraints that him and so many others are trying to push through – just so we can leave a clean planet for the next generation.
The film’s promise doesn’t end at the final credits. After a standing ovation, Stewart mentioned his Revolution application for smartphones, which he hopes to release soon. This app will allow users to “make a difference” at their phone, by signing up to receive messages about the environmental issues that matter to them the most.
He also has ambitious goals for his new movie – he’d like 1 billion viewers to see the movie (a far cry from Sharkwater’s 150 million views, or the 500 million that the eco-documentary Home has received). He’s got a plan, though – Canadians will be purchasing the film to cover the costs of the movie, with the rest of the globe enjoying Revolution for free. It’s a fair price to pay when considering his budget for Revolution was slashed drastically during production (imagine going from $5 million to $150,000 overnight!).
To read more about Revolution, check out United Conservationists, the US non-profit group that aims to make conservation and activism a part of everyday life.

Kyle Empringham is co-founder and editor of a environmental news site, The Starfish. He is also currently enrolled in graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, studying Resource and Environmental Management.