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The Rise of Eco-Activism in Film

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Erin Brokovich (2000)

While environmental filmmaking sprouted in the fifties and sixties, it wasn’t until the 21st century that eco-activism spread like wildfire across the filmmaking landscape. The turn of the millennium marked a surge in films tackling environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and corporate violations of ecological safety standards.

According to FilmFreeway, more than 300 environmental film festivals were established over the past 21 years. Perhaps more noteworthy is the fact that the majority of those festivals focus on documentary films. The boom in eco-activism has stimulated public interest in environmental films, especially documentaries. The critical nature of environmental themes infuses documentary filmmaking with potency and popularity surpassing that of its fictional counterpart.

While the award-winning Erin Brokovich (2000) ushered the new era of environmentalism on film, documentaries like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2014) garnered international acclaim and served as an impetus in green movements all around the world.