Clunes film-maker Cathy Henkel and her activist daughter Sam Lara Canin-Henkel are focusing their attention on climate change.
Clunes film-maker Cathy Henkel and her activist daughter Sam Lara Canin-Henkel are focusing their attention on climate change.

Local film focuses global solutions

By HANNAH ROSS hannah.ross@northernstar.com.au WHERE there is a problem, Clunes film-maker Cathy Henkel looks toward finding a solution.

So rather than focus on doom and gloom predictions about climate change in her latest documentary, The Burning Season, Mrs Henkel set about finding the human face of the global movement for change.

"I am an optimist by nature and this film gave me a whole new interest in the subject of climate change because I was so over hearing about the problem," Mrs Henkel said.

The Burning Season follows three narratives those of a Borneo-based conservationist fighting to save the Indonesian forests as habitat for endangered orang-utans; a poor Indonesian farmer becoming aware of the damage he is doing to the environment by burning his patch of land for a palm oil plantation; and an international carbon-trading entrepreneur working to halt climate change through economically viable solutions.

"Because I'm following three characters, the film has great entertainment value. To me this is everyone's story; to realise that our actions make a difference. If an Indonesian farmer struggling to feed his family can make a change, we can too."

The climax of the film is set to play itself out at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.

"I don't know how the film is going to end, and I want to build that tension and suspense into the film," she said.

The project, involving a crew of 12, cost $650,000 and has been funded by the ABC, BBC, CBC, The Film Finance Corporation, the NSW Film and TV Office and National Geographic.

The film will be on our small screens later next year, and a cinema release of the feature-length documentary is also in the pipeline.



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