International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women but also marking a call for action and equity. There is growing pressure to recognise the interconnected impact of climate change, environmental racism and gender inequity. This selection of short films examines this intersectionality whilst also offering hope through Afrofuturism, art and activism. Centring the stories of women who are making change to safeguard their communities and the environment.
System of Systems
Dir: Fabienne Viala and Jean-François Manicom, UK, English, 22 minutes
In a world of climatic and social chaos, the protagonist, a woman in her 40s with Caribbean origins, looks back at her past and reflects on her future. She feels that the life-long struggle for racial and gender equality may have missed the urgency of climatic justice. Looking for answers, she turns back to her ancestors and embarks on a journey to connect with her destiny, a destiny in which all lives – humans and non-humans – have a role to play to restore cosmic balance.
Dir: Artincidence, Martinique, French, 13 minutes
It is the year 2083. On a desert island in the Caribbean Sea, formally known as Martinique, no humans, no animals, no plants have survived, only Sargassum. Toxic seaweed. Manman Dlo, the
legendary mermaid of the Marinican seas, has not survived either. A new entity has formed, who stays there, on the beach, days and nights, nights and days: Mami Sargassa.
The Black Mermaid
Dir: The Black Mermaid Foundation, South Africa, Zulu, English, English Subtitles, 9 minutes
Throughout history, Black communities have had a treacherous relationship with water, depicted as a powerful yet destructive entity by African folklore. This is the real-life story of the Black Mermaid, free diver Zandile Ndhlovu. An intimate picture of the danger of incomplete narratives and what happens when one person decides to take racial justice into their own hands.
L’Eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life)
Dir: Melissa Cox Mutual Aid Media, USA, English, 2019, 24 minutes
On the banks of Louisiana, fierce Indigenous women are ready to fight. This documentary follows water protector Cherri Foytlin as she leads us on a no-nonsense journey of Indigenous resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in the swamps of Louisiana. Risking everything to protect Mother Earth from the predatory fossil fuel companies that seek to poison it.
Dir: Philip Knowlton, USA, English, 2021, 17 minutes
In 2016, the Bronx was ranked “the county in New York with the worst health outcomes”. This documentary tells the story of Clarisa Alayeto, a community activist from the Mott Haven section of the Bronx who, inspired by her Grandmother, sets out on a mission to break that cycle.
This selection of films has been programmed by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage in partnership with Fabienne Viala, University of Warwick. Serendipity’s mission is to centre perspectives from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora, embedded as part of cultural experiences for all. For more information visit www.serendipity-uk.com.