×

Director Damon Gameau Discusses Berlin Film ‘2040’

Bright-eyed Australian director Damon Gameau set out in his previous movie, “That Sugar Film” to challenge everyday thoughtlessness about the dangers of our modern lifestyle — and became profoundly sick while doing so. In his new film “2040,” which plays in Berlin’s Generation Kplus section and which he styles as a “hybrid feature documentary,” Gameau challenges us to improve the planet over the next 20 years. Leaving no room for world-weary cynicism, however, he shows that we already have the technology and skills to do it.

How’s your health?

“That Sugar Film” was four years ago. Fortunately, there’s no lasting liver damage.

Where did the idea for this visual letter to your daughter come from?

I wanted to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us. The aim was to shift things away from the mainstream narrative, which often overwhelms and paralyzes us from taking action. I didn’t just want a white man’s point of view.

Did you meet resistance from vested interests?

The hardest thing was to avoid political traps. We started with the idea of cleaner air, and cleaner water. The many kids in the film, all around the world, helped us with that. I think we can all agree on those. Our target audience is the family. I’m certainly not taking a great ax to capitalism.

With dramatized sequences, animation, and interviews, “2040” seems logistically and narratively complicated. Did you know where you were going?

Not at all. It was an unfolding journey. Early on, we came across a Bangladesh mini (electricity) grid, where people were able to rely on each other. So that when the main grid went down, their lives carried on. It was inspiring. And once you get going it becomes a very organic process. What started out as a film about reversing global warming and lowering emissions quickly became a story about strengthening communities, improving the quality of food and soil, embracing cheaper and cleaner energy and transport, plus restoring habitats and ecosystems.

It sounds like perfect material for a TV series. You’re not taking that route?

It is feature because it works as a package. It is not meant to be a 22-part letter to my 4-year-old daughter. The model promoted by Good Pitch (one of the co-producers) pairs filmmakers with [NGOs]. There’s lots of material there to mine. That’s where we might look at other things, like a series, if this connects. There’s at least two years of work there to be done.”

More Film

  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959, born Eleanora Fagan)

    Billie Holiday Documentary Draws Buyers as Concord Boards Project

    Concord, the successor to the Billie Holiday Estate, has boarded James Erskine’s documentary “Billie,” which tracks the iconic jazz singer’s life. Altitude Film Sales has sold the project to several territories. Also joining the project, now in post-production, is the Brazilian colorization artist Marina Amaral. Most of the filmed and still images that exist of [...]

  • My Extraordinary Summer With Tess review

    Film Review: 'My Extraordinary Summer With Tess'

    Winner of a special mention from the Berlinale Generation KPlus’ adult jury, the family-friendly, light drama “My Extraordinary Summer With Tess” is straightforward youth cinema with surprising emotional depth. Based on a prize-winning novel by Anna Woltz, a beloved Dutch writer of work for young readers, it explores family relationships and emphasizes the importance of [...]

  • UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: Women, Minorities

    Hollywood Diversity Gains in TV but Falls Short in Movies

    Minorities and women have registered gains in several key areas of television but women continue to lag in movies, according to a report issued Thursday by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “My basic take is that TV is improving more for minorities and women than film,” said Dr. Darnell [...]

  • Ghost Fleet review

    Film Review: 'Ghost Fleet'

    The revelatory documentary “Ghost Fleet” condemns the modern-day slave labor fueling the Thai fishing industry while focusing on the work of Bangkok-based advocacy organization Labor Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN), a group dedicated to ending slavery at sea. Combining chilling testimony from formerly enslaved men, some wincingly arty recreations of their ordeals, and on-the-ground footage [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA Plans March 25 Member Vote on Talent Agency Rules

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America plan a March 25 vote for members to decide whether to implement tough new restrictions on how Hollywood talent agencies as operate as agents for writer clients. The vote comes as the guild is in the midst of pitched negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents to renew [...]

  • Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'The

    Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'The Wandering Earth'

    Netflix has bought rights to “The Wandering Earth,“ the smash hit film pitched as China’s first mainstream sci-fi movie. The movie was the sleeper hit of Chinese New Year. It opened in fourth position on Feb. 5 but climbed to the top spot and has not yet relinquished it. After 14 days in theaters, the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan's Hitman Drama 'Silver Bear' Gets Director

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan’s “The Silver Bear” finds a director, biopic “Running for My Life” is in the works, Fox is using new trailer compliance software and the 14-hour “La Flor” gets distribution. DIRECTOR ATTACHMENT Gerard McMurray, director of “The First Purge,” will write and direct Michael B. Jordan’s thriller “The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content