EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated filmmaker Fernando Meirelles, known for hits including The Two Popes, The Constant Gardener and City Of God, is launching a slate of environmental films in association with UK production firm Make Waves.
Four of the projects on the $20M documentary slate have already attracted talent and funding.
Meirelles himself will direct Soil, a feature-length documentary about the little-known microscopic world beneath our feet, which will reveal the revolutionary solutions that could help avert a planetary food crisis.
The “flagship” film on the slate is Blue Carbon, which will be directed by BAFTA and Emmy-winning filmmaker Nicolas Brown (Serengeti Rules). With 2021 Grammy-nominated DJ Jayda G as its protagonist, the feature will spotlight a movement to grow an ocean forest across the planet to help combat climate change. The film will weave together stories of ocean activists, scientists and frontline communities, and will feature music from Brazilian samba artist Seu Jorge (The Life Aquatic). The film’s development is being funded by HHMI/Tangled Bank Studios (The Serengeti Rules).
The Shackleton Solution will look at what iconic explorer Ernest Shackleton can teach the world about how to save a continent facing a catastrophe. It will draw parallels between Shackleton’s epic Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) and a planet on the cusp of imminent environmental emergency.
Also on the slate is Law Of The Land from filmmaker Coral Brown (My Life), which asks the fundamental question: what if nature, like corporations, had the same legal rights as you and me? The feature doc will follow grassroots lawyers and Indigenous communities as they take the battle for the Rights of Nature movement into the courtrooms and onto the streets.
The slate has been co-created by Meirelles, former UN environment diplomat/producer Alexander Asen (The Great Green Wall) and Irish author Don Mullan (Bloody Sunday), and BAFTA-winning producer Sarah Macdonald (Newsnight) and former Director of BBC World News Sian Kevill, all of whom will serve as EPs on the slate. Two additional films are due to be added to the lineup later in 2021.
Meirelles, who is known to be a passionate environmentalist, recently teamed up with Make Waves, Asen and Mullan on green documentary The Great Green Wall, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival two years ago.
The Brazilian filmmaker told us: “There is nothing more urgent than the climate crisis. Information is what can turn the tide. Our goal is to make films that not only inform, but that enchant and engage. For my grandchildren and the grandchildren of others, that will be the theme of my work until the day I die.”
Former BBC journalist Macdonald heads investigations and documentary specialist Make Waves with former BBC journalist and executive Kevill.