Filmmaker Jared P Scott tells The Adelaide Review why he is compelled to make films about climate change, which includes his latest The Age of Consequences that will screen as part of this year’s Transitions Film Festival.
The Age of Consequences is a climate change documentary like no other as it approaches the situation from a security angle, an issue that received notice last year when 25 American military and national security professionals warned that climate change posed a significant risk to national and international security. These consequences are skillfully covered in the film, which features expert talking heads discussing how a change in the climate will impact migration and limit resources, situations that lay the groundwork for radical groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram to take advantage of.
Scott’s film was originally shown in Australia as part of ABC’s Four Corners earlier this year, but will be screening as part of the annual Transitions Film Festival at Mercury Cinema on Saturday, May 20. Some of Scott’s previous films have dealt with the issues surrounding man-made climate change (Do the Math, Disruption) and he co-directed the Noam Chomsky film Requiem for the American Dream (currently on Netflix) but it is the issue of climate change that he keeps returning to.
“Climate for me is something we have yet to truly address on a global level,” Scott says. “And the more thoughtful stories we can make about it, the better.”
What makes The Age of Consequences so unique and gripping is that the alarming information about climate is being delivered by unfamiliar talking heads. These aren’t scientists or environmentally-conscious celebrities who are warning us but military experts.
“There seems to be a lot of doubt and misunderstanding of the issue [climate change] and a lot of that has to do with concentrated doubt campaigns and a concerted effort to deny (and we don’t need to get into that),” Scott says. “We wanted to target people who for whatever reason are not responding to climate change because they think it’s an esoteric environmental issue or it truly is this inconvenient truth or it is something that conflicts with their world view.”
Scott believes that the American left and the right, Democrats and Republicans, have similar national security views and he wanted the American population to view the issue of climate from an institution such as the Pentagon, which is more or less viewed as a stable organisation. This, for Scott, meant that the security lens was a “pretty safe place” to tackle the climate issue as well as being “frightening”.
“On some level it’s reassuring, ‘Yeah, the military’s onto it [climate change], it must be serious’. But then you think, ‘Oh shit, this must be serious!’”
Transitions Film Festival screened Requiem for the American Dream last year with the festival’s national director Daniel Simons saying the Transitions team have been a fan of Scott and his company PF Pictures for some time.
“They’ve made some incredibly important climate change films over the years including Disruption and Do the Math, which showcased the work of climate change activist Bill Mckibben,” Simons says. “Last year we screened their film about Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, which was an audience favourite, so we knew The Age of Consequences would have the be part of the program even before we watched it.”Simons believe The Age of Consequence is an “impact film that has the power to create massive change”.
“It is such an important film because it perfectly articulates the connections between climate change, military conflict and the refugee crises, which are often seen as separate issues. It is this kind of systems thinking and holistic understanding of the interconnection between challenges that will be so important in the future. It also reminds us how urgent it is to start thinking about resilience and adaptation now.
“There have been a lot of films about climate change over the years, but none that have looked at the impacts of climate change from a national security perspective, which is why this film is so unique and important.”
Transitions Film Festival
Mercury Cinema, 13 Morphett Street
Friday, May 19 to Saturday, May 28
The Age of Consequences screens on Saturday, May 20, 7pm at Mercury Cinema
WIN tickets to a screening of The Age of Consequences by entering ‘AAOCAR’ as a code at transitionsfilmfestival.com/win