World premiere of After the Rain sends Skopje the message: Adapt now to survive climate change!

21 Nov 2013

Last night saw the world premiere of the first Macedonian documentary about climate change. Directed by Biljana Gavranlieva, the film was screened in Skopje as part of the European Film Festival Cinedays.

The documentary shows four women farmers coping in different ways with the negative effects of climate change. The women are from diverse ethnic backgrounds—Macedonian, Turkish and Albanian—and each has her own distinct attitude towards farming in this time of great economic and environmental challenges. And yet despite their differences in age, culture and approach, their shared experience of working the land under the same skies has taught them the same all-important lesson—the overriding message of After the Rain—that those who survive climate change will be those who are capable of adapting now.

Speaking at the opening night, the State Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Sonja Lepitkova, spelt out the implications of the documentary:

“The film we are promoting today sends a strong message to local and national institutions about how vulnerable we all are to climate change. It shows how people here have always had to learn to live with nature and adapt to changes. By learning from these examples and raising awareness, together we can build a society resilient enough to overcome all the challenges we face.”

UNDP Resident Representative, Louisa Vinton, praised After the Rain as a powerful call to action.

 

“To many people, climate change still remains an abstraction; a threat with only theoretical, hypothetical impact; something that might raise world temperatures many decades from now. But the point we want to make is that climate change is here, and it is here now. Climate change was behind last week’s apocalyptic typhoon in the Philippines, just as it was behind a wave of other recent weather disasters. As our Secretary-General said during the high-level climate-change talks now under way in Warsaw, “All around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet”. The impact is being felt here, as well, particularly by the farmers who are the heroes of this film” she emphasised. (Click here for full speech)

 

One third of the country’s population make a living from farming. Agriculture accounts for 16% of GDP. It is a vital sector of society and economy. But farmers have long been able to depend on more stable climatic conditions and weather patterns than they are now experiencing.

 

Timely adaptation is essential if they—and all of us—are to survive future changes in climate.

 

UNDP has been supporting the country’s efforts to deal with climate change for over a decade now and is firmly committed to continuing this support. UNDP is currently working with the Ministry of Environment to identify the policies, tools and practices that can help the country’s farmers cope with the dramatic changes they now face.  

In line with this shared commitment, After the Rain was produced with the technical and financial support of UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.

Adding to the impact of last night’s screening was a moving musical performance by the band Ljubojna.

Famous for making their own instruments from recycled materials, the band set to music the lyrics of the famous Macedonian poet and novelist Petre M. Andreevski (1934–2006).

After the Rain will next be shown at the Think Forward Climate Change Film Festival in Venice on 6 December.