FAMILY SHOT: A still from the film 2040 featuring Byron Shire residents, filmmakers Zoe and Damon Gameau and their daughter Velvet.
FAMILY SHOT: A still from the film 2040 featuring Byron Shire residents, filmmakers Zoe and Damon Gameau and their daughter Velvet.

Doco by local filmmaker to screen at UN environment summit

A DOCUMENTARY by a Byron Shire filmmaker about the possibilities to improve humanity's quality of life has been selected by the United Nations to be screened at an international environmental meeting in New York in September.

2040 is a new 92-minute film by Byron Shire filmmaker Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film, 2014).

The documentary was one of only six Australian films selected to go to Berlinale in Germany last year and has already attracted interest overseas.

2040 is an audiovisual letter from Gameau to his daughter Velvet, who is about to start school, and a reflection about what life she will be living in the year 2040, when Gameau will be 64.

The film is a hybrid feature; it shows what the world could be like in 2040 and goes looking for seeds of that possible future in today's world, while highlighting obstacles but also exposing potential solutions available now.

The filmmaker said the film was aligned with the Northern Rivers' community values.

"I guess a lot of the values in this film are aligned with a lot of the values why people move up here, in terms of community and being more environmentally conscious," he said.

A still from the film 2040 featuring Bangladeshi energy access facilitator Neel Tamhane and Byron Shire filmmaker Damon Gameau.
A still from the film 2040 featuring Bangladeshi energy access facilitator Neel Tamhane and Byron Shire filmmaker Damon Gameau.

Gameau explained that 2040 was more than a film, and the documentary was the first of a number of related projects.

"We are part of an organisation called Good Picture. They choose six films and put you in touch with a whole group of philanthropists," he said.

"I had to pitch the idea of the film at the Opera House in Sydney a couple of years ago and basically people put up their hands to support the idea with an impact campaign, so they don't give you money for the film's production; they give you money to really develop tools off the back of the film.

"We've been able to develop a free lesson plan for Year 5 to Year 10 students in schools across the country.

"We have a website (whatsyour2040.com) which is like a portal that is going live next week that will allow people to make their own climate plan.

"We've teamed up with different organisations around the world and we can tell people who want to do something about the environment, they answer a series of questions and they get a personalised plan.

"This platform is also a hub for solutions and video content, so it will become almost like a media platform for more positive solutions-based content."

A still from the film 2040 featuring Byron Shire filmmaker Damon Gameau and US scientist Brian Von Herzen of the Climate Foundation.
A still from the film 2040 featuring Byron Shire filmmaker Damon Gameau and US scientist Brian Von Herzen of the Climate Foundation.

Gameau said many local film professionals had been part of the cinematic project.

"The main production designer is a local, and then we did all the special effects at Cumulus, in the (Byron) industrial estate, with Will (Gammon)," he said.

  • See 2040 at Palace Cinemas Byron Bay on April 23 at 6.30pm and then at 8pm, with a Q&A after both screenings.