Fogo Island Film 2019: Resistance and Resilience

May 30 to October 24
Fogo Island Inn
Free and open to all


Fogo Island Film: Resistance and Resilience is devoted to international films that consider the diversity of relationships between nature and society. Now in its second year, Fogo Island Film features 10 screenings and special events held from May through November at the Fogo Island Inn Cinema. The program will culminate in two Festival Weekends on Fogo Island and in St. John’s featuring highlights from the series and invited guests in conversation around the themes of the program.

Fogo Island Film is dedicated to contemporary artistic and scientific debate that addresses nature and culture as an indivisible whole. Broaching themes of environmental degradation, the interconnectedness of species, geopolitical migration, the commodification of nature, Indigenous perspectives, social activism, as well as lives lived in deep connection with the natural world, the films question or condemn our actions, offer alternative perspectives and occasionally, suggest hope for a brighter future.

Fogo Island Film 2019: Resistance and Resilience is co-curated by researcher and theorist Goran Petrović Lotina and FIA Director of Programs and Exhibitions Alexandra McIntosh.


May 30 – When Lambs Become Lions
Jon Kasbe. USA, 2018, 79 min.

In the Kenyan bush, a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he turns to his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn’t been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. Director Jon Kasbe followed the film’s subjects over a three-year period, gaining an extraordinary level of access and trust as he became part of their everyday lives. The result is a rare and visually arresting look through the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicentre of the conservation divide.


June 13 – Anote’s Ark
Matthieu Rytz. Canada, 2018, 77 min.

The low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati faces a daunting challenge: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. As Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President, races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many Kiribati are already seeking safe harbour overseas. Set against the backdrop of international climate negotiations and the fight to recognize climate displacement as an urgent human rights issue, Anote’s personal struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Sermary, a young mother of six, who decides to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake are the survival of Sermary’s family, the Kiribati people, and 4,000 years of Kiribati culture; yet the story also serves as a cautionary tale for low-lying populations everywhere.

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June 27 – Modified
Aube Giroux. Canada, 2017, 87 min.

In the award-winning documentary Modified, the filmmaker and her mother embark on a very personal and poignant investigative journey to find out why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labeled in 64 countries around the world. Interweaving the personal and the political, the film is anchored around the filmmaker’s relationship to her mother, a gardener and food activist who battled cancer during the film’s production. Their intimate mother-daughter quest for answers, fuelled by a shared love of food, reveals the extent to which the agribusiness industry controls our food policies, making a strong case for a more transparent and sustainable food system.

Grisen Inger på kunstgræsbane, Qaqortoq. Foto Vivi Nielsen

July 11 – Lykkelænder (The Raven and the Seagull)
Lasse Lau. Denmark, Greenland, 2018, 70 min.

The relationship between Greenland and Denmark is shaped by a history of colonialism, subjugation and dependence. With Lykkelænder (The Raven and the Seagull), Danish filmmaker Lasse Lau sets out to dispel some of the myths and prejudices that persist to this day, even as Greenland is moving ever closer to independence. Lau and his troupe of performers blend authenticity and reconstruction to paint a portrait of how such misconceptions have influenced the collective consciousness of both nations. The result is a beautiful and relatable film about post-colonialism and indigenous identity.

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July 25 – Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Gabrielle Brady. Germany, UK, Australia, 2018, 94 min.

On an isolated island in the Indian Ocean, land crabs migrate in their millions from the jungle to the sea. The same jungle hides a high-security Australian detention centre where thousands of asylum seekers have been locked away indefinitely. Their only connection to the outside world is trauma counsellor Poh Lin Lee. Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a hybrid documentary that moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures.


August 8 – A Whale of a Tale
Megumi Sasaki. Japan, 2017, 96 min.

In 2010, Taiji, a sleepy fishing town in Japan, suddenly found itself in the worldwide media spotlight. The Cove, a documentary denouncing the town’s longstanding whale and dolphin hunting traditions, won an Academy Award and almost overnight, Taiji became the go-to destination and battleground for activists from around the world. A Whale of a Tale reveals the complex story behind the ongoing debate. Told through a wide range of characters including local fishermen, international activists and an American journalist (and long-time Japanese resident), this powerful documentary unearths a deep divide in eastern and western thought about nature and wildlife and cultural sensitivity in the face of global activism.

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August 29 – Genesis 2.0
Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev. Switzerland, 2018, 112 min.

On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths. One day, they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass. Resurrecting the woolly mammoth is a first manifestation of the next great technological revolution – genetics. It may well turn our world upside down.


September 19 – The Green Lie
Werner Boote. Austria, 2017, 96 min.

Environmentally friendly electric cars, sustainably produced food products, fair production processes: Hurray! If everything the corporations tell us is true, we can save the world through our purchasing decisions alone. A popular and dangerous lie. In his new documentary film, Werner Boote (Plastic Planet, Everything Under Control) shows us, together with environmental expert Kathrin Hartmann, how we can protect ourselves. They easily banter, they agree to disagree and ultimately bring freshness to a never-ending debate.


October 10 – Naturales Historiae
Pauline Julier. Switzerland, 2018, 56 min.

Through different natural stories filmed between China, France and Italy, Naturales Historiae questions our way of thinking and representing nature. Each chapter explores a situation of human beings grappling with Nature and its images, which reveals their obsessions and shakes up our certainties.


October 24 – Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas
Joakim Demmer. Sweden, Germany, Finland, 2017, 80 min.

Around the globe, there is a massive commercial rush for farmland – the new green gold. One of the most profitable new spots for farming is Ethiopia. Hoping for export revenues, the Ethiopian government leases millions of hectares of allegedly unused land to foreign investors. But the dream of prosperity has a dark side – the most massive forced evictions in modern history, lost livelihoods of small farmers, harsh repression and a vicious spiral of violence. Contributing to this disaster are the EU, the World Bank and DFID, providing billions of dollars in development money. Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas investigates these foreign land-investments and exposes their impact on people’s lives. In the pursuit of truth, we meet investors, development bureaucrats, persecuted journalists, struggling environmentalists and small farmers deprived of their land.

November 15-17 – Fogo Island Film Festival Weekend on Fogo Island

November 22-24 – Fogo Island Film Festival Weekend in St. John’s

Presented in partnership with The Rooms

* Program and dates subject to change. Programming for Festival Weekends to be announced.


Fogo Island Film expands upon the 2016-17 FIA Film series of socially and politically engaged film, and is equally inspired by Fogo Island’s longstanding relationship to film that emerged through the National Film Board of Canada’s (NFB) Challenge for Change program of the 1960s and 70s. A participatory project that used film as an instigator of social change, Challenge for Change led to the hugely influential Fogo Process films, which documented Fogo Islanders’ way of life and shared concerns, empowering communities to act together to determine their future.

Conceived by Goran Petrović Lotina following his 2016 residency with FIA, Fogo Island Film offers ambitious programming and invited guests with the eventual goal of establishing a recurring film festival on Fogo Island. The festival will be dedicated to the same concept and enriched by short and feature-length film competitions to encourage new research and production.