Demonstrating the power of the masses to challenge Big Oil interests, Not Without Us is an all too timely document of the grassroots struggle for significant climate action. Taking place in the months leading up to COP21 in Paris, the film chronicles activists from around the world and the different tactics they use to make their voices heard.
Starting nine months before the conference, the film takes us around the globe -- from North America to Europe to West Africa to South America -- as several activists fight for meaningful change. Indigenous activists in particular are highlighted as they outline how environmental rights are also human rights and that violations often hit them the hardest. Unfortunately, the presence of corporate sponsors who still have much to gain by maintaining the status quo indicates that the result of COP21 may be more empty promises and half measures than civilization saving actions.
Leading up to COP 21, the activists most essential tool -- the right to peacefully assemble and protest -- is threatened due to fallout from the Paris attacks two weeks before the conference. Ultimately, Not Without Us paints a hopeful picture of a united resistance from grassroots organizations and highlights the perseverance of the people's will even in the face of mounting political disappointment.
"As a San Francisco filmmaker who cares deeply about social and environmental justice issues, I am continually inspired by the communities where I live and work, and the people all over the world who make real commitments to social activism. Pedantic facts often only plant the seeds of discontent. It is my intent to create inspiration by telling the stories of real activists, and to follow the Participant model of 'storytelling as gateway to action'. It is with the story that emotional cauldron come to a boil, and that decisions to change awaken and come forth."
Reviews & Awards"A must-see portrait of frontline communities and activists who gathered in Paris in December 2015, fighting for the strongest possible climate deal while fearlessly exposing its limits."
-Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
"A multitude of viewpoints are presented which provide much food for thought and topics for discussion or further research...Useful in social studies, political science, and environmental science classes."
-School Library Journal
"RECOMMENDED. Decena's film offers an interesting look at outside forces trying to become equal partners in a process where their input is neither requested nor desired by the world's power brokers. The Trump administration's widely reviled decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Accords agreement makes this a highly relevant documentary."
"For those of us concerned and engaged on the issue of climate change, it's increasingly clear that the political and economic changes required to solve the problem hinges on the will of the people. Not Without us serves as a masterful example of those who understand this and are leading the way.”
-Jamie Redford, Filmmaker, Redford Center Chairman and Co-Founder
"The film interweaves the personal stories and motivations of the activists portrayed, conveying to a broader audience why the call for deeper and far reaching change is not only necessary, but also humane."
-Festival Internacional de Cine del Medio Ambiente (FICMA)
"This film personalizes the issues of climate change...The film beautifully evolves in real time as real world events unfold around the director and his crew members...The film is inspiring and heart wrenching."
-San Francisco Green Film Festival
"Not Without Us captures climate change as a matter of human rights, indigenous knowledge, economics, community and most importantly: the future...A stunning achievement in filmography...A startling reminder that effective action against climate change is a choice, and one that begins at the level of the individual."
-The Grassroots Journal
"Follows frontline activists as they fight to make us all give a damn, as well as face the fact that even things like the 2015 Paris climate agreement [...] don't do nearly enough to mitigate and reverse the damage."
-The Village Voice
•Green Tenacity Award, San Francisco Film Festival
•Gold, Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest / Human Rights Art & Film Festival
San Francisco Green Film Festival
Justice Matters Program, Filmfest DC
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival
Planet in Focus Film Festival
Festival Internacional de Cine del Medio Ambiente (FICMA)
Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest / Human Rights Art & Film Festival