Thule Tuvalu (educational)

    • Directed by: Matthias von Gunten
    • Produced by: Valentin Geurtert and Simon Hesse
Released: 2015
Running Time: includes both the 50min and 92 min version
Language:  Subtitled in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish 
Subjects: Environmental Studies , Multicultural Studies 

Two places at the edge of our planet are making headlines due to climate change: Thule, Greenland, because of record ice melts there; and Tuvalu, because this remote Pacific island nation is one of the first countries on the verge of sinking as a result of rising sea levels. Whereas for us the warming of the planet occurs almost solely in the media, it is changing the entire existence for the inhabitants of Thule and Tuvalu. The film portrays how they are forced to abandon their traditional way of life as they move towards an unknown future.

Reviews / Quotes:

"As the effects of global warming become ever-more obvious, the rate of docus tackling the subject will undoubtedly increase exponentially: “ThuleTuvalu” should be remembered as one of the earliest to sideline impersonal statistics and talking-head scientists, focusing instead on the communities directly affected. Editing by Caterina Mona and Claudio Cea adeptly balances these two drastically dissimilar worlds, and lensing by Pierre Mennel (“Pepperminta”) captures the distinctive beauty of both locales, soon to be lost." - Variety
"Poignant and understated, Thule Tuvalu peers beneath the technocratic language of climate change to reveal the human story of what’s at stake. As the credits rolled, I felt the sort of sadness that comes from thinking of a long-lost friend or a place I’ll never see again. That the film could make an Australian feel nostalgic for the loss of a culture so different from his own is a remarkable achievement indeed." - Environment Victoria 

"Fests will respond well to a doc whose nicely photographed observational material makes its point — for those living far from industrialized nations, warming matters now — without the addition of talking heads or Green activists." - Hollywood Reporter

     "Climate change might still be an abstraction for many people, but Matthias von Gunten's documentary demonstrates that the effects are very real for some, including the residents living around Qaanaaq (formerly Thule) in extreme northwestern Greenland, and the inhabitants of the tiny Polynesian nation of Tuvalu. In Greenland, the cameras follow Lars Jeremiassen, a 65-year-old seal hunter, as he and his neighbors struggle to maintain their traditional lifestyle even as the ice on which their livelihood depends continues to contract year after year (and the winter hunting season with it). In Tuvalu -- comprised of three small islands and six atolls in the Pacific that together encompass only 10 square miles -- the rising sea level has begun to contaminate the groundwater with salt, killing off the local vegetation. Some of the natives have already fled to New Zealand with their families, but those left behind who lack resources to emigrate are worried about their children's future. For both locales, the sense of sadness and loss is palpable and deeply poignant. A hauntingly personal portrait of two regions that are immediately threatened by global warming, Thule Tuvalu delivers a sobering warning about the fate that could soon befall many other places. Presented in its full-length version and abridged edition, this is recommended." - Video Librarian