Vulcan Productions helps create stories to inspire people to move the planet towards a better future. In 2016, the Film4Climate Global Video Competition invited aspiring filmmakers to express their vision for a sustainable future by creating a short film or video about climate action. We recently talked to German filmmaker Benjamin Pfohl to hear what inspired him to make Eternal Summer, the lessons he learned and how climate change is impacting his life.
What inspired you to make this film?
First of all, I wanted to do my part in preventing climate change and I wanted to do so with what I can do best, through filmmaking. I wanted people to get aware of what is at stake. After watching many other climate films, which mostly address their audiences with information about the matter, I wanted to do something different. I think to change a person’s mind, it has to come from the heart. So, I confronted the audience with an emotional, dystopian vision of a world past climate change and combined it with a fictional, contrary speech of how we think about the future today.
Why is climate change important to you?
The world is full of conflicts and problems and will always be, but living on this planet is the one thing where life itself starts. It’s the one thing that will stay. So I think the most important thing is to keep this world safe and vivid. I see mankind more as a guest on this planet and therefore we need to behave like such. It is a symbiotic connection and we need to do all that is possible to protect it.
What is one thing that you wish people knew about your region of the world and how it is being affected by climate change?
I am lucky to live in a region that isn't affected by obvious climate change as much as others are. Still, even central Europe is affected by climate change and the harmful actions people and companies do to nature such as shaping rivers to canals and remodeling whole landscapes through open-pit mining. There is a change going on and I hope that we stop these actions in the near future.
What is one thing you learned from embarking on this film?
Filmmaking is a very expensive endeavor and getting this film done without the needed budget was a tough thing at first. Going deeper into production, we found so many people who cared about climate change that they were willing to spend their time or money on the project. I learned that a lot of people actually care about this world, which gave me hope that there is a change to come.
What is one thing people can do to make a difference?
First, we need global acknowledgment that climate change is happening. Then, everyone needs to find the things they can change to do their part in preventing it. As a filmmaker, I used my craft to make Eternal Summer. And as a private person, I try to do the little things: I don’t own a car, but take public transportation or bike. For longer distances, I prefer going by bus or train instead of flying whenever possible. I use electricity from alternative energies and buy regional products whenever I can. But again, every single life gives different opportunities to act.