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After two years of 100% online editions, Sanfic Industria opened with a bang on Aug. 11 with an onsite event for Chilean audiences at Santiago de Chile’s Teatro Oriente and a screening of “Soy la Tierra. Historias desde el fin del mundo.”

“Soy la Tierra” is produced by Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s Fabula, behind “Spencer” and Academy Award-winning “A Fantastic Woman,” with direction overseen by Maite Alberdi, helmer of the Oscar-nominated “The Mole Agent” – Chile’s crème de la crème.

In attendance was Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonia Urrejola, as well as serried ranks of representatives from Chilean development agency Corfo, its Ministry of Energy, Invest Chile, Prochile, and Chile’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Patrimony. The doc is backed by Imagen de Chile, the Chilean agency promoting Chile as a brand in the world.

They didn’t come for crowd pleasing entertainment, often the staple of festivals’ opening nights, but rather a medium-feature documentary turning on an issue which will shape a lot of the film-TV business and events in a post-pandemic world: Climate change.

A 46-minute medium-feature packed with images of spectacular natural beauty and human devastation, “Soy la Tierra” kicks off with a voiceover from Alberdi herself representing nature, which warns humanity of its potential extinction.

It then segues along five axes – sustainable agriculture; the conservation of forests and biodiversity; renewable energies; the water crisis and astronomy – as experts in Chile analyse climate change and other challenges, arguing that answers have to be employed fast, can’t wait decades.

Chile has a vast coastline, the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, and the globe’s Southern-most inhabited land, Tierra del Fuego, of extraordinary biodiversity. That puts it in a privileged position to observe and investigate change, researcher Andrés Jordan observes in the documentary.

“This documentary is in the line of the fundamental axis of the foreign policy of President Gabriel Boric government. There can’t be a chancellery which disregards an urgent reply to the climate emergency,” Urrejola said on stage at Sanfic Industria’s opening ceremony.

Sanfic Industria itself certainly isn’t untouched by this emergency. From 2023, it will host “a development lab for stories which address sustainable development, making us conscious of our ecosystem and what to do to confront climate change,” Sanfic Industria head Gabriela Sandoval told Variety.

Expect more climate change strands to appear at other festivals, given the issue’s paramount importance.

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Gabriela Sandoval, Antonia Urrejola, and Constanza Cea Courtesy of SANFIC