The new short, lyrical film SOLASTALGIA from director Millefiore Clarkes, producer Emma Fugate, and poet Tanya Davis is beginning its festival life this fall on both coasts of Canada.
The film has premiered at FIN Atlantic International Film Festival at the Atlantic Shorts Gala and Cinefest Sudbury in September, and now will go on to screen at the Vancouver International Film Festival and then back home to the Charlottetown Film Festival in October.
SOLASTALGIA explores the anguish that climate change and a global state of uncertainty can weigh upon the human psyche. It is film born from a very personal place for the director Millefiore. “After watching the film Chasing Coral at a film festival—I walked out of the theatre in a stupor. I had been very aware of climate change for decades, but this was perhaps the first time that I understood the crisis on a cellular level. Perhaps it had something to do with having recently become a parent. Later that day I collapsed in the shower…heaving with sorrow over the unnecessary loss of such a beautiful, intricate, ecosystem: Our Earth. This was the seed of the idea for the film.”
The word “solastalgia” is a neologism that describes a form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change, coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht.
Millefiore reached out to acclaimed poet Tanya Davis to write and perform an original poem that expressed the complex emotions that she was feeling. Tanya and Millefiore had worked together in a similar fashion on a documentary about organic farming in 2013 (Island Green/NFB). “Tanya has a way of bringing global issues into a very intimate and personal space. That is what I hope this film can do—to bring an issue that is often framed in a political light—into the realm of the personal and lived. Because climate change and ecological collapse are anything but political—they are something every human from every corner of the globe will be adversely effected by. This film is a contribution to a global chorus of voices confronting this overwhelming issue. And as Canadians, we have an opportunity to make this issue a top priority in the upcoming federal election.”
SOLASTALGIA weaves Tanya’s poetry together with a dramatic storyline, archival footage, and a rich soundscape created by sound artist Simon White. The film’s soundtrack incorporates music by Philip Glass, Devon Ross, and Russell Louder. Actor Rebecca Parent plays Ava—a mother of two young children who navigates her day while being bombarded by the catastrophic news of the effects of climate change. Her mental health unwinds as she searches for a way to move forward through despair.
“SOLASTALGIA is not an expressly hopeful film. I don’t know what the future holds. But life itself is always uncertain. So, on that level, this threat is no different from any other that humans have faced. SOLASTALGIA is a contemplation of this broader philosophy. It is also a celebration of the awesomeness of the earth’s ecosystem. We have to remind ourselves of our insignificance in the big picture – to foster humility in the face of nature. I believe this will aid us in our survival,” says Millefiore. “I would like to run around screaming like the house is on fire—because it is—but this film is a different approach. I hope this film reaches people through poetry and emotion.”
The team behind the film are working on strategies to use the film to create impact. They are open to anyone who wishes to share the film as a way to create dialogue and action within their community. SOLASTALGIA was created through FilmPEI and InnovationPEI’s new short film fund Film4Ward.
Contact Millefiore Clarkes at firstname.lastname@example.org.