Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023

Human/climate impact explored

Most documentary films end leaving the audience on its own to deal with the complex issues raised in the subject matter, but one film coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival will be offering a bit more to viewers.

The film called Metamorphosis was created by Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper. It deals with climate change and the ways that humanity can transform itself to deal with the crisis. The film looks at the effects of climate change and goes through solutions that people can begin enacting in order to help stave off the biggest effects.

“It looks at how humanity is dealing with change — how we resist change, how we move through change and embrace change,” Ami said. “It’s a very cinematic film that is kind of like a poem. We explore the themes of the psychological impacts of climate change, and we also incorporate the work of artists with ecological themes.”

The experience of Metamorphosis also includes an experiential workshop that helps personalize the climate crisis and explores the psychological effects of dealing with climate change.

“For us, the workshop is almost as important as the film itself. It’s great to see the film, but the workshop is so rewarding,” Ripper said. “We feel that people really need this: to come together and go deeper because we’re all confronting this right now.”

“A lot of people might come out of the film wanting to do something, to make change and might not be quite sure how to go about doing that, or how to go about sparking change in their communities,” Ami added. “It provides a container for people to really focus on the feelings that they experience during the viewing of the film.”

The film follows the path of the monarch butterfly from its birth as a caterpillar to its annual migration from Canada to Mexico. That metamorphic journey is a parallel to humanity’s path through the crisis. The film compares our current state to the caterpillar, consuming everything in sight, and says that the way we can survive is through transformation.

“We need to recognize that we’re in a climate emergency, and we can’t continue business as usual, we actually need to change almost every angle,” said Ripper. “In a shift to a carbon-free future we also need to change the kinds of jobs that are available. Sustainability can’t just be for those who can afford it, it has to be for everyone.”

The experience of Metamorphosis is not just a gloom and doom tale of climate change. Ripper and Ami wanted to incorporate some of the beauty and love that people have for the Earth as part of their work. The original idea for the film was to have it look like a painting. Using cinematography techniques like drone flying, time-lapse motion control and macro lenses, Ripper and cinematographer Grant Baldwin were able to incorporate art and beauty into the film, creating stunning visuals to go along with the subject matter.

“This could even be a climate change date movie. This is the kind of move that you can go to and take your family, friends or date and not be totally depressed afterwards. You’ll be inspired and have a cinematic experience,” Ripper said.

Some islanders may know Ripper from his time spent living on Galiano Island.

The film shows at the film festival on March 3 at 12:30 p.m., and the workshop, co-sponsored by the Salt Spring Arts Council, will be held at Mahon Hall on the evening of March 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. See the film festival and Salt Spring Arts Council websites for more information.


  1. Also on the big screen at ArtSpring with filmmakers present for Q&A on Saturday March 2nd at 7:30, part of the special presentations for the 20th anniversary Film Festival.


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