A documentary by Cosima DANNORITZER and Nicolas KOUTSIKAS
Co-producers ARTE NHK LUNA BLUE
With the support of Creative Europe CNC Procirep ANGOA
With the participation of UshuaïaTV NRK DW SVT RSI Ceska TG4 LTV SRF RTP TV3 TVN VRT RTBF ERT
A threat to our planet
All over the globe, wildfires of unprecedented force are devouring our forests. Each year, 350 million hectares go up in smoke, the equivalent of six times the size of France. In the US, the fire season now lasts up to two months longer than a generation ago, and the surface burnt annually has multiplied by three. The world’s forests are on fire, threatening not only our homes and our lives, but also the climate and our future.
This film travels to Europe, the US, Canada and Indonesia to meet a dedicated community of scientists, firefighters and experts who are investigating why the fires are getting out of control and what we can do to protect ourselves. Can we learn to live safely with megafires before our communities and our forests are all burnt up?
Investigating a global threat
1 hr 33 min
Cosima DANNORITZER and Nicolas KOUTSIKAS
The authors of the film
Author and Director
Cosima Dannoritzer is a documentary filmmaker with a special interest in history, ecology and the impact of technology on society. She has worked for broadcasters in the UK, Germany, France and Spain. Her film about the history of planned obsolescence, THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY (75 min, 2010), was broadcast in 40+ countries, won 12 international festival awards, and inspired a new law in France. THE E-WASTE TRAGEDY (85 min, 2014) investigated the international trafficking of e-waste, and was screened by numerous festivals and broadcasters as well as Interpol and the World Resources Forum. TIME THIEVES (85 min, 2018) looks at the economic value of our time.
Nicolas Koutsikas is a France based filmmaker and producer of documentary films. He has been working in this field for more than 30 years. With his production company Georama TV, co-founded in 2007 with Emeraude Zervoudis, he has a long experience in addressing environmental issues on a global level. The 90 min documentary film “Megafires: Investigating a Global Threat” is the third in a series of major scientific investigations undertaken by Georama, after “Floods: A Global Threat” (92 min) and “Deadly Depths” (90 min). Georama TV received the Prince Rainier III Special Prize at the Monte-Carlo Festival twice: for the “Tipping Point” Film in 2012 and for “Deadly Depths” in 2014. This film was also awarded twice in 2014: at the Deauville Green Festival and at the Green Screen Festival in Germany. In 2017, the film “Floods: A Global Threat”, 92 min, received The Green Gold Award at the Deauville Festival, Green Awards. He has a sepcial interest in ecology, geopolitics and society.
A complex ecosystem
For more than a decade, wildfires of unprecedented force have been devouring our forests at a steady pace. Each year, 350 million hectares of forest go up in smoke, the equivalent of six times the size of France. In the US, the fire season now lasts up to two months longer than a generation ago, and the surface burnt annually has multiplied by three.
The biggest and most ferocious fires, so-called ‘megafires’, are proving to be unstoppable even by experienced firefighters and cutting-edge technology. Even worse: megafires are increasingly attacking our communities, devouring family homes and claiming lives.
The outlook for the future is terrifying: whole suburban communities are becoming deathly firetraps; the scarred and blackened landscapes left behind may never fully recover. Wildfires damage our health, aggravate climate change and affect the economy.
But ironically, the more effort is mustered by modern firefighters, the more susceptible our forests seem to become to the hungry flames; this is a reality we need to face if we want to save our habitat and our lives. Can we learn to co-exist with fire?
During a gripping journey of investigation, from Europe to the US, Canada, and Indonesia, we will follow the work of a global team of dedicated firefighters, scientists and fire experts as they investigate why our forests are going up in flames, why the new megafires are beyond human control, and how we can learn to protect ourselves.
We will also meet the communities whose lives have been changed forever, often fatally, by megafires that engulfed their towns, and find out how ordinary citizens are taking action to protect their homes, families and their future.
In the face of impending catastrophe, can we move on from our ingrained belief that humans can control everything, including fire, and instead, learn to co-exist and live safely with fire, before our forests, cities and our climate are changed forever by the catastrophic flames?
To get started, we need to understand how fire actually works, and fundamentally change our view of it. Fire is not the enemy but a natural process, one that has historically been key to maintaining our eco-system. Now, this elemental mechanism is the starting point for possible solutions and new ways of living with fire in the future.