Academy Award-winning actor Emma Thompson stars in a new short film made by the environmental activist group, Extinction Rebellion. It was released online last Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the UK becoming the first nation in the world to declare a climate emergency.
Called “Extinction,” the 12-minute film stars Thompson as a member of a group of climate activists who are invited to meet with Environment Minister Lord Grant following last year’s protests in London. More than 30 countries took part in the protests and over 1,100 people were arrested in London in April 2019. Much of “Extinction” was filmed during this time.
Activists met with representatives of the Government and the Shadow Cabinet following the protests and a climate emergency was declared the very next day.
‘Be Active in Your Disobedience’
“Everything depends on what we do now. In a crisis, you have to convince people to take positive and immediate action. The suffragettes taught us that. You have to be active in your disobedience,” Thompson said in a statement.
British actor and filmmaker Jack Cooper Stimpson co-wrote and directed. “Jojo Rabbit” (2019) actor Sam Haygarth, one of the activists who met with Environmental Secretary Michael Gove, co-wrote the film. According to Extinction Rebellion, the film was written months prior to the April protests.
“A year ago, I was on top of a big pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus. Thinking about that now, it feels like a fantasy. But it was real. It happened,” says Haygarth. “Like any movement, we made countless mistakes. We got things wrong and we needed to change. But we also proved that civil disobedience works. We woke people up. I hope our film is a fitting celebration.”
The group was mindful of the film’s carbon footprint. Many cast and crew members took public transportation and catering was vegan. Sustainable vegan brands provided costumes, but Thompson made her own.
“It was important to us that the film was made in a green and sustainable way,” said Stimpson. “The film industry can, and must, change the way that it works, and we – as artists—have a responsibility to show that.”
Last February, Extinction Rebellion released “Guardians of Life” online. Starring vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix, the three-minute PSA highlights the importance of protecting the Amazon rainforest.