January 18th, 2024

The 2024 ReFrame Film Festival, running from January 25 to February 4, includes a number of short and feature-length environmental films that take a look at the impact of positive action. "The Engine Inside" tells the stories of six everyday people from all over the globe who reveal the unique power of the bicycle to change lives and build a better world. Presented in partnership with GreenUP, the feature-length documentary screens at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 26 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of ReFrame)

The 2024 ReFrame Film Festival, running from January 25 to February 4, includes a number of short and feature-length environmental films that take a look at the impact of positive action. “The Engine Inside” tells the stories of six everyday people from all over the globe who reveal the unique power of the bicycle to change lives and build a better world. Presented in partnership with GreenUP, the feature-length documentary screens at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 26 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of ReFrame)

By: GreenUP and ReFrame

The 20th annual ReFrame Film Festival returns in hybrid format to downtown Nogojiwanong/Peterborough January 25-28 and online January 29-February 4. GreenUP, like ReFrame, believes that the actions we take toward social change make a difference in our communities.

As festival-goers know, ReFrame boasts the best in environmental and social justice documentary film. While it aims to present a diverse range of content on a wide variety of themes and topics, the subject matter can at times be overwhelming for some viewers.

This year, the festival is striving to present films that focus on positive action in addition to raising awareness of pressing global issues. This extends to its environmental programming, and includes The Engine Inside, presented in partnership with GreenUP and screening Friday, January 26, 8PM at Showplace Performance Centre.

The Engine Inside tells the stories of six everyday people from all over the globe who reveal the unique power of the bicycle to change lives and build a better world. Through their stories, the film uncovers the often-overlooked potential of this 200-year-old machine, exploring its impact on a wide range of global issues such as physical and mental health, socioeconomic inequality and climate change. The film aligns with GreenUP’s work in the community to support bicycle travel through programming and advocacy for safer cycling infrastructure in cities.

Solutions-focused climate story, How to Power a City (Friday, January 26, 5:15 PM at Showplace) also demonstrates the societal and human health impact that climate justice action, in this case renewable energy, can have on individuals and communities. The film provides a front-row seat to communities battling fossil fuel dependence by bringing solar and wind projects to their hometowns. Filmed in six locations, the stories reveal how a diverse cast prevailed against myriad obstacles such as indifferent politicians, technical impasses, public ignorance, cost, and natural and manmade disasters.

Innovative tech also comes to the foreground in Eco-Hack! – this short energetic film screens alongside How to Power a City, and is also presented in partnership with GreenUP. Deep in the Mojave desert, an unconventional field biologist wages a high-tech war against ravens – laser cannons, drones, exploding turtle shells – in a last-ditch effort to save the few remaining desert tortoises from extinction. This unexpected take on biodiversity science will leave audiences feeling fired up.

Another quirky addition to the festival lineup, short film Shitty Little (Sunday, January 28, 12:30PM at Market Hall) critiques attitudes that promote resource extraction and environmental devastation with stunning shadow puppetry visuals, providing solace in its creative approach. This is a playful, poignant and very memorable live action animation, where humans take from forests whatever they desire – leaving nothing.

Similarly, Feeling the Apocalypse, screening with Shitty Little, faces tough topics while caring for viewers. The film makes use of collage paper animation to guide audiences through a discussion of mental health in the face of the climate crisis. It also notes the importance of making time to process the emotional toll of confronting overwhelming issues such as climate change.

One film that makes space for experiencing these emotions is the stunningly beautiful Songs of Earth (Sunday, January 28, 10AM at Showplace) which draws emotional parallels between relationships with nature and relationships with family. A majestic symphony for the big screen, the filmmaker’s father is our guide. Bringing us through Norway’s most scenic valley, he shows us where generations have been living alongside nature in order to survive. The sounds of earth harmonize together to make music in this breathtaking journey.

GreenUP and ReFrame hope you find inspiration and strength in these films and in the community that gathers around them to sustain you throughout the year. We encourage you to make your festival experience greener by walking, cycling, carpooling or using transit to watch the in-person festival, or watch a selection of the program online January 29 – February 4, including How to Power a City, Eco Hack! and Feeling the Apocalypse.

Join us in celebrating 20 years of ReFrame! In-Person, Hybrid and Virtual Festival Passes are available now. Individual virtual screenings will become available to non-passholders through our website on January 17th. Individual tickets for in-person screenings will be available at festival venues on a “rush basis” 15 minutes in advance of each scheduled screening from January 25-28. For passes and more information visit reframefilmfestival.ca/festival/