Programme 2024

18:00     Pizza and mingling!

18:30     Welcomes

18:35     Film One: Les glaciers parlent. Écouterons-nous? (3mins)

18:45     Film Two: Achewiq: The Song of the Brave Women (16mins), and Q&A with director Elina Kastler

19:15     Interval

19:30     Film Three: Intranquilities (20mins) and Q&A with director Edward Owles (15mins)

20:05     Film Four: Until the Tide Creeps In (18mins)

20:25     Panel discussion with Neil DentonPenelope AnthiasTeti DregasEdward Owles, and Elina Kastler (30mins)

20:55     Closing comments

21:00     End

Exploring Risk 2022 Grand Prize Winners

There are two Grand Prize winners from the Exploring Risk : Red by Paula Szczyrba (UK), and The Shack by Tebogo Chologi (South Africa). Each film displayed novel approaches to communicating risk.

Set in a dystopia, ‘Red’ deals with the reality of climate change and global warming when the temperature rises to an unacceptable and dangerous level to the point that the country is in lockdown.

The Shack, directs by Tebogo Chologi, is a story about a shack, who is telling a story about Buti’s daily life amidst his daily struggles in the immediate and greater environment he lives in, more especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feature Film: “The Salt in Our Waters”

Salt in our waters screenshot.

The Exploring Risk 2022 Feature Film is “The Salt in Our Waters” by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit.

Set in a tiny mangrove isle in the Bay of Bengal, The Salt in Our Waters is the story of RUDRO (32), a city-raised sculptor who comes to this place, hoping to understand the people and way of life that captivated his coastguard father. He is welcomed by local headman and religious leader, CHAIRMAN (60), and hypnotized by the lowering sky and restless seas of the teeming delta.

He rents a makeshift studio from native fisherman, BASHAR (45), whose children TUNI (19) and TAHER (12) are enchanted by Rudro’s artistry and way of being in the world. With them as guides, Rudro explores this extraordinary land and seascape, which nature both restores and menaces, seeing for himself what motivated his father’s lifetime of work in these waters.

On the first day of fishing season, the men of the village take to their boats, but return with empty nets: the plentiful local Ilish are not to be seen. While Rudro describes climate change as the reason, Chairman blames Rudro’s lifelike sculptures. The devout Muslim villagers call him an idolator and shun him. As Rudro rethinks his plans and choices, Tuni continues to visit and inspire his art. The Ilish finally arrive which persuades the locals to re-think their conclusions about Rudro and their blind allegiance to Chairman.

But when a cyclone’s approach threatens the village, Chairman overplays his hand, demanding the fishermen ignore the storm warnings and return to their boats to recoup earlier losses. Concerned for his friends and neighbors, Rudro inspires a revolt among the fisherman leading to the precautionary evacuation of the village. As a deadly storm threatens this defenseless spit of sand, Rudro finds himself center stage in a primal, elemental conflict between land and sea, man and nature, past and future.

Exploring Risk 2022 Programme

10:00 BST Welcome by Sim Reaney on behalf of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience

10:05 Sensing and Telling: Short Films of Climate Emergency

Introduction by Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián, MLAC / School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Najil Aak, directed by David Díaz, Mexico, 2022, 29’21”

Najil Aak explores the terrible environmental problem of the marine turtle’s loss of habitat in the Mexican Caribbean under growing pressures by the tourist industry and by plastic particle contamination.

TR333, directed by April Lin 林森, UK, 2021, 10’

TR333, by artist-filmmaker April Lin 林森, is a speculative construction of a new species of tree developed in conversation with ecologist Dr Nalini Nadkarni. Using 3D animation, found footage, and a musical score based on data sonification, TR333 recasts the ecological crisis from a multispecies and affective gaze.

Water is Life / Cansuyu, directed by Anıl GÖK, Turkey, 2020, 4’52’’

Water is Life (Cansuyu) is the story of people who carry a lifeline to fish trying to survive in a dried-up lake.

10:50 Panel discussion one 20 mins

Chaired by Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián

11:10 Break for Coffee

11:30 BST Films about Lockdown experiences and struggles

Introduction by Hanna Ruszczyk, Department of Geography

The Shack, directed by Tebogo Chologi, South Africa. 7’13”

In The Shack, Shack tells the story of Buti’s daily life amidst daily struggles in his immediate and greater environment, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, The Shack tells the story of Buti, who stays in The Shack.

Fragile, directed by Ersin Sel, Turkey, 2021. 13’01”

Niyazi, a café owner, has to shut his café down due to the coronavirus pandemic. He feels lonely as he loses his social environment. Along the restrictions and economic problems, his concerns transform into depression. That situation causes him to come across Murat more frequently.

Red, directed by Paula Szczyrba, UK, 2019. 5’

Set in a dystopia, Red deals with the reality of climate change and global warming when the temperature rises to an unacceptable and dangerous level, to the point that the country is in lockdown.

Michael’s Map, directed by Claire Webster Saaremets, UK 20’14”

Michael’s Map has been produced in a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and Skimstone Arts. It is based in a research project funded by ESRC held by Charlotte Clarke and Heather Wilkinson and in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation and Alzheimer Scotland.  

12:20 Panel Discussion Two

Chaired by Hanna Ruszczyk with Alex Halligey, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg, Dr Rishika Mukhopadhyay, Department of Geography and Dr Leonie Newhouse, Department of Geography.

12:45 Break for Lunch

13:15 BST Films about Drought, Floods and Volcanic Ash

Introduction by Sim M. Reaney, Department of Geography and IHRR

Life with Ash – Accounts from the 2010 Merapi Eruption, directed by Een Irawan Putra, Indonesia. 7’53”

This film shares the experiences of communities living near the Merapi volcano, Indonesia, and how they coped with the volcanic ash which fell during the 2010 explosive eruption. The film aims to help people learn about eruptions and what it is like to experience ashfall.

Cracked, directed by Mahmut Taş, Turkey. 5’

A little girl lives in a village with her mother, where water sources are dwindling by day. Drought affects her imagination, even her doodles and drawings. Not only people, but also nature, struggle with the unrelenting aridness. This little girl, though, never loses hope. She tries to do as best she can, sacrificing herself for her beloved nature.

Pathways to Resilience in the Indian Himalaya, directed by Richard Johnson, Pushpam Singh, Kesar Chand, Esther Edwards, Pushpam Singh, Kesar Chand, and Esther Edwards, UK. 15’30”

The ‘Pathways to Resilience’ film documentary is set in the Kullu District of the Indian Himalaya. Starting with reflections on a disastrous flood in August 1994, this provides a catalyst for wider evaluation of science and local community knowledge of hazards, disaster risk reduction and resilience.

On the Fringe, directed by Annie Griffiths, Mick Davie, Bangladesh. 6’

When Runa Khan saw that climate change was eroding away land in Bangladesh, she decided that the best way to help people was to outfit a ship as a floating hospital. But that was only the beginning…

The Last Mile Is the Longest, directed by Melanie Buford, Cambodia, 8’

In Cambodia, the monsoon season can turn entire communities into islands for months at a time, cutting them off from medical services. In a country dealing with an alarming tuberculosis crisis, this is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully for the people of Cambodia, the dedicated health workers of Operation ASHA travel on foot, by motorcycle, and even by boat to bring cutting-edge tuberculosis care to the most isolated.

13:45 Panel discussion three

Chaired by Sim Reaney with Prof. Clare Horwell, Department of Earth Science, Dr Jessica Lehman, Department of Geography, Prof. Simon Mathias, Department of Engineering and Mr Ivo Pink, Department of Geography.          

14:05 Break for Coffee

14:30 BST Feature film

The Salt in Our Waters, directed by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit, Bangladesh. 106 minutes

Salt in our waters screenshot.

For his latest art installation, Rudro journeys to a remote mangrove isle on the Bangladeshi Delta, a day’s boat ride and a world away from modern, crowded Dhaka. Welcomed by the local fishermen and their leader Chairman, Rudro’s modern ideas and lifelike sculptures enchant the village boys and his landlord’s daughter. But when the local iIish catch proves elusive, the elders blame Rudro’s “idolatry” for the curse of empty nets. In this vanishing land where sea and sky merge, a storm is brewing and change – welcome or not – is coming.

More details on the feature film are here.

16:10 Q&A with The Salt in Our Waters director Rezwan Shahriar Sumit

Chair: Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián

16:40 Closing remarks on the day and Grand Prize Winner Voting. Sim Reaney

17:00 Close

Note: all times are British Summer Time (GMT+1)

Exploring Risk 2023 Venue

The Exploring Risk 2023 Film Festival will take place on the 16th-17th of February in the Calman Learning Centre at Durham University.

There is no car parking at the site. There is on-street parking nearby and car parks within the centre of Durham. There is also the Park and Ride within Durham.

There is catering available within the Calman Learning Centre.