Bloomberg Green at COP26 evening 1 Live Q&A for the Virtual Audience - Day 1 Transcript Thank you so much for being here with us and for sharing your film - the BURNING of Austrial. It was really remarkable to get to see it. I want to start by asking you how things have changed in the time period since you completed the movie, I mean for one thing you're getting to show it outside of a cop. I know at this cop Australia, unlike in the movie has a pavilion. We reported on the fact that Australia put out a net zero. Plan ahead of this cup without very much detail. Scott Morrison is still Prime. Mister. What wood is changed after 1/5 of the forest land in Australia burned? I knew that coming up to cough. They were going to be some announcements and I think he resisted committing to Net Zero 2050 until the last possible. Second. It was very very recently and very reluctantly, but also was done without any plan. It was just a blanket statement and I think we can all agree having seen a little history and some of his politics. He's very good at saying things and not following through or saying things that don't make much sense. So basically we commuted, I actually live in America now, but yeah, I understating and weave. And committed to Nazareth. Without any solid plan budget legislation to get there and the targets for 2030, have not changed and their voice. And that's, I think we can. All agree are more important than the 2050 targets. Because since the UN report came out recently. I think we've all realized when Dire Straits than we thought. Yeah, so that's one thing, and the other sort of almost comical thing. Was that Scott Morrison said, he wasn't gonna come to Cops a long time. He blamed quarantine and covid of a long time. And on my belief is that he was shaded by the queen. Very soon after she did that. Yeah. Me to cop. So it's it's pretty griemann and Australia's on to perform terribly a cop. We were a signatory to the methane agreement to the call agreement. I'm you know, it's pretty sling. Well. Yeah. Well, I want to I want to Oh, I'm sorry. It's working though, right? Is that better? Okay. Sorry about that. What is it? Just a quick summary. I'll say that I think one of the scientists character in your film describe it as sleepwalking into a catastrophe. And that's the train. I thought it was my microphone. It feels like we're you know your sense after completing this film? Is that that's still? The prevailing sensibilities. I yeah, do I needed or That better. No. Yes. Hello. Okay, so still still sleep walking into a catastrophe. I guess is the recap. Yeah, we have a little more of a PSP and I would say, you know, by a financing something like NetZero 2050 but having no for solid plans to make to materialize them. Well, so I want to ask you more questions about the making of the film. But before I do that, I want to say, I think we've handed out QR codes or people to scan, and if you don't have a QR code, you can use your phone and go to be Green Dot Live /. Ask. And that's the way you can put questions in that will appear on this screen here. And I can ask them to evolve about about the movie. Thing else that you want to ask. So let's let's talk about the making of the film. So when in the black Summer of the Australian firefighters did you decide that you were going to make a documentary about it? So I was leaving. I live in LA and I was watching it unfold from a distance and I think it was August 2019. I saw the first thing on probably CNN or something saying the fires had started in Australia. And as Greg Mullen says in the film, you know, fires happen in Australia, where a fire prone country, but this was something different and Remember the times being like, Oh, it's August. It's not even spring. It's actually winter when the fires were started. Which is unprecedented and Incredibly early. So, I was on my radar and in October I saw again from La Sidney was completely covered in Smoke, which I'd never seen in my lifetime, and by chance I was going home. As I do my summers in Australia to visit family. So I arrived back in December and I was there December January. So I was there through the brunt of it and it was, it was just unbelievable. I mean, the whole I felt like the whole country is burning, everyone was impacted a lot of friends. As and family. Lost times and just our public radio ABC. We were driving around a lot and we listen to it all the time. When we drive and it was like an emergency radio station. It was just constantly about evacuations and fires. It was that was shocking but I think the thing that really threw me over the edge was on December 27, in Melbourne, my hometown where I lived for 34 years. It was 47 degrees Celsius, and I lived there for 34 years and it never got above 44 degrees, which was Generally one week in February and late summer. So this Early summer and you know anecdotally, that's a 3 degree temperature, increase in my lifetime, and that's not the science. It's one and a half degrees that we've increased temperature. But in what is Ground Zero for climate change, the temperature has actually increased three degrees in my hometown and everyone was kind of walking around in that Australian kind of laconic. Relax. We're going. Yeah, it's really hard and I was kind of like guys it's like Baghdad. What is happening here? So that was one of the moments that really affected me. And then you know, being In Sydney, in January, and the whole city was in. Again, so I think by the time, you know, we got on the plane to go home to La, I was kind of like, I think, I think there's a film here, but I thought I was thought from the beginning. It shouldn't just be stories about fires and victims. It needed to be about climate change, and it needed to be all encompassing that. Now, there was a review of your film in the guardian. And I think, when we spoke previously you said that there's been some other films about the fires that actually didn't mention climate change very much. Is that? Is that, right? Yeah, and I'm not wondering at all to Sighs. I think a lot of the five films are very strong and they are very much about victims, but they do tend to Maybe in the third act, someone kind of goes around climate change and that. And I kind of get to the end of those films. And I was really frustrated because I don't think you can tell the story of fire or, or anything. That's a result of climate change without talking about the cause and what we need to do. And I know why people stay away from it because it's a challenging subject and, you know, my editors would tell you, if they were here that they want to kill me when I came back with all this footage and said, yeah, it's like an essay stick film about the last 30 years and it's really hard to put together. And make compelling. But I just thought, you couldn't just tell a story about the fires. It's irresponsible. Well, I want to talk about some of that imagery because, you know, the team that I work with climate journalists and editors, you know, we see a lot of the, you know, very difficult, images surrounding climate impacts, the ones in your film are remarkable and, you know, really hard to erase from your mind. After you see them. They really stay with you, are those? I mean, we've all seen the kind of orange Sun blocked out by a smoke. We've all seen very devastating pictures of wildfires, but some of the footage that you found of animals experiencing the fire and the way that people are You know, trying to flee from the fire on the ground for those familiar images to Australians in the aftermath of the fire or where these kind of unprecedented. Scene. Looks at what it's like, it's a combination. And again, a film. Like, this is really heavily archive based because it's told in the past and I wasn't at the event. So I think probably 70% of the film is actually archive, despite. We shot a lot. Obviously, it's some of it has been seen before some of it hasn't, you know, we have like at an amazing team. I have an amazing archive producer who you know hunts things down. But also everyone that you meet, you know along the Journey of making the film you say do you have footage, you know, anyone who took footage Do you know, do you have anything on your phone? And so it's this endless? The Holy Grail of footage, but it's funny because some of the footage has been seen before but not the contextualized like this and so it's amazing what you can do to make footage seem different the way it's edited and also where it comes in a story and also music. But we did try not to be. I mean, II know it's horrifying but we actually pulled back, you know, I think there was there was actually a bit of editorial pressure to sort of put more animals in and, you know, I was like, you just need to see this. This section. That is all, that is enough. You Can't, you know, completely? Push it down people's throats. You have to be, you know, somewhat subtle about it, but there's nothing subtle about seeing, you know, a koala crying, which is probably, you know, the most horrific image in the film and that koala did not make it Louis the koala. Well, I mean it really, it gives you the respective like you're in the fire which I'm grateful for because I hope to never have to experience it. But I do feel like I got to borrow from the people's experience in the film. And one of the questions asked, by the audience, is about the communities. Who survived the fire that you spoke. Spoke to and we see Scott Morris interacting with two words. Did they build back differently of people just remained in those communities that you focused on. And I forgot I think some people have moved a lot of people stay. You know, that one of the we did interview someone that but it didn't, you know, there's always amazing footage that ends up on The Cutting Room floor. And one of the people, we talked to with someone who's building new housing, that's fire-resistant housing and actually in kabah go. They were building a number of houses like that and they're actually really affordable, really cool and fire resistant, and that's the future. But, you know, there's not like a lot of government subsidies going into that. Obviously. There's not a lot of thought, it's just One, its kind of one guy doing. His own and it's the same with him housing, which is something I didn't know about which is becoming a thing as well, because hymns fire resistant as well. So you would think all new construction in Australia, particularly in the country, you know, would have these new building codes and standards and there's definitely a lot of talk, but I don't know really that that much has happened. Another audience question that I also had wanted asking myself is by somebody who's from British Columbia, which is a highly prone to fires, you happen to live into fire zones. With pure Australian Origins and living in La. Now, You found that there's a different culture or awareness around Wildfire risk in the different communities that you live in what sort of similar or different about the California. Vs. Australia Wildfire approach. It's sort of California's very strange. I mean, Australia is a country of drought. We grew up with drought, you know, we grew up with water restrictions, when you have water restrictions, if you break them, you get find, you know, and if you see your neighbor breaking them, you call someone. Like, it's really, it's serious. And in La, I live already lived through massive droughts and everyone's Gardens. Look fantastic and nobody cares in the water restrictions are sort of irrelevant. So it's very different way of dealing with things like water and climate. I don't No, I feel like in California. I don't feel like very much has changed. I feel like we're all buying, you know, air purifiers for our house to use in summer because it's inevitably going to be Smoky. I mean, I know about a handful people who lost their houses in the last couple of years, but I don't see a lot of I don't know, it feels different to me. I'm sure if you talked to Firefighters here though, they would have a lot to say because they seem to be working more and more and one of the really awful stories that Greg Mullins his wonderful. Fire. Commissioner in the film, told me he To take teams over to California and vice versa a lot, too. Because our seasons are opposite because of the hemispheres and he said they can't do that anymore because the fire seasons have extended so much. Well, straighter in California, that they overlap, you can't do that anymore. And to me that was one of the more shocking stories that I heard. Now, great minds is a very memorable character from your film. Another question from the audience is about the youth activist Daisy. I found one of the things she says in the film a couple times about how condescending she He finds people telling her that she's the Hope or she gives people hope question from the audience is about her. Concern about having children and not being able to safeguard their future. I guess. You know, what do you make of the, that kind of view from the, you know, very compelling youth activist. You kind of is like, one of the central characters in your film. Yeah. I fell in love with Daisy before I met her, and I always refer to her as Australia's gratitude bag and she's uniquely Australian. And she's funny and joyful, and she's actually studying at University now and she'll probably end up doing something pretty amazing. And as she and Greg and a few other people were just at the Australian premiere on Friday night in Sydney. Which is great. And Greg introduce the film. I mean, I don't have children. So it's really interesting that I make these kind of films, you know, because what if I got another, I don't know 20 or 30 years left. So why am I caring so much about what happens in the future? And what ways astonishes me is that politicians? All have children and grandchildren and don't seem to, you know, give a sheer to sorry. I swear. I'm Australian that but I know I completely think days. She is really smart speaking, like, But how heartbreaking is it seeing as at the time, she was 17 a 17 year old saying, I'm not sure if I should have children. That's what she's thinking about at this point, because of what we've done. And I completely understand and agree with her point about, you know, please don't say you give me hope because I mean, they're going to have that generation is going to have to solve this. Ultimately. Look, it looks like we're not going to do a very good job and they're going to have to live through it as are their children. So I think she's right, and when she says, I'm not angry. I always in my head say you should be angry. I'm angry. So I think she's quite extraordinary that but also think about the trauma that a 16 year old has his. Now 19 at college and she spent her last couple of years at school, doing what she did instead of, as she said, just having like, an existential crisis or, you know, worrying about Out. Grades and boys or girls or whatever. So it's a lot of pressure to put on the kids and I find that pretty heartbreaking being here at cop. I keep thinking about the idea of going to buy blue jeans to go to the prior cop. Well, the Wildfire smoke, you know, that's like not a teen experience. That one should have, there's a sort of off-screen character in the film, but with all the sky clips, and I wanted to ask you about the Murdoch media. There's recently there's been moved by the Murdoch media to get into climate journalism. Is that something that you've seen? Being in terms of the way that the, you know, that part of Australian media is reporting on climate change. I mean, clearly, I mean, I'm sure none of us are a fan of Sky, which is Murdock, which is the biggest source of news in Australia and I live in America. So, you know, I've watched the damage that foxes wreak all over the country in the world. I mean, you know, a cup. When was it a couple of months ago the Murdoch, press came out with this really cynical announcement saying, they were reverting their stance on climate change and they were going to start admitting to climate change and what? Kind of killed me. Was that everyone reported? It was in the New York Times. It was all over, you know, it was all over the Press globally and then it to my knowledge, they did nothing. So it was just you know, smokes and mirrors. And and also if you're going to do a hundred and eighty on the opinions and the News, you've been putting out that's false for the last however long, then you need a rationale and you need an apology and you need an explanation and nobody asked them for that. And I thought, well, that's interesting. Testing. So you can just come out one day and say or today, we're going to be That anyone will believe you and then they've done nothing to follow up with that. I mean, I think they should be Held Responsible for so much this happened and during the fires that were putting out news, that was, you know, going out globally, that defies record spy arsonists. And when they retracted it, it didn't matter. Because we all know retractions are later and you know, small print and the damage was done. You still hear people say they're arsonists in Australia, which is just completely fact free. Now, at the end of the film Greg Mullins. I think the firefighter talks about, you know, leaving deniers behind. And you know, you're showing this with this one's going to be on Amazon. So it's going to be available to a very Audience, but you're showing this film here at cop where presumably everyone in this room is taking the issue. Very seriously is your expectation that this is a film that people who are in doubt or skeptical will see and it will change their mind, or do you feel like that's a difficult, ask for a film to do? Yeah, to lot of political films and often people say, you know, what do you want to achieve with this film? And, you know, you're preaching to the converted and I agree that a lot of people that are going to watch this going to be liberal on this subject. But I always say, you know, there's like 40 percent here and 40% here. And there's 20% in the And you get those 20% in the middle, you know, you're winning. So that's kind of I guess who my dream is to see this film, you know, people who are confused or not sure or don't know enough about it. So that's kind of one thing. And I think the other thing that I really would like audiences to Come Away with his being so concerned that finally, they put climate change as a number one reason, when they vote as opposed to the economy or whatever else drives them. Because we've got our Australia, has an election coming up, probably in the next six months. And you know, I have a horrible sinking feeling that Scott Morrison will get in again and you know, you make your bed, you lie in it, but there's got to be a point where enough people care and are so concerned that they vote. Better. Now. I know this is your first climate film but a lot of your films will do with very heavy subjects. I'm wondering if there were any climate documentaries or just films in general, that you sought inspiration from when you were making this documentary. It's a good question. I guess anything that's heavily on the kind of based you. Do you start when you're making a heavily heavy archive film, you just watched archive films a lot. So I things I don't know things that I love that have completely off topic, you know, Center and Amy, which 100% archive and I mean, I think, you know, have this. Funny anecdote from Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, all those years ago when it came out and I went back and watched that again, but I people say, you know, how do you get people to watch films about climate change and my answer or about refugees or about any tough subject which I tend to deal with and I was there will you make a good film. That's a compelling story and then people will see it. And I remember really well the year that An Inconvenient Truth came out, we missed it at Sundance and I was working with Alex Gibney and New York and shortly after Sundance. He Want to come see that Al Gore slideshow? Maybe that was you know, a huge hit at Sundance and I went. Yeah, I mean, it sounds terrible. He wants to see an hour ago. Maybe you know, about a slideshow. I said, oh, you know, it's bad Angel take a nap and we went to see it and it was fantastic and it was amazing. And I guess that was the last time I probably said something that terrible and facetious about a film that, you know, you can make anything compelling. It's all in the storytelling, you know, you can make any story riveting and so, I think, you know, people always used to say You can't make a film with a TV show about advertising and then someone made Mad Men. Mad man, excuse me, but that was, you know, that was for years. It was, it was that kind of approach and I just feel like we have to get past this. Hesitation of, how do you make a film about climate change compelling when it's the most compelling issue on the planet? Well, I think one of the things that you did so well is in addition to the footage that I think everyone who watched the movie, won't forget the people who you bring in to help tell the story. They have agency. They're doing something that you didn't just seek out people who had the, I mean, obviously, we talked to people that have hardships. How did you find the characters in the movie? Like, I mean, you talked about Daisy, but how did you go about rounding up the human voices that you use? I mean, usually when you start a documentary you it's I mean, it's like I love making documentaries because every film is like doing a course at University and he's sort of start with nothing and you find a few people when you start talking and they refused food and more people more people. So it's really just it's my favorite part of filmmaking which I call Discovery is the first few months because by the end of it, you know, you you've been in it for a long time. So it was doing covid actually and it was sort. The really bad part, the beginning of covid-19, all didn't really leave the house or know it was happening. And you know, I was in LA and I just spent a ton of time on zoom and most of the people in the film. I didn't meet until the day we filmed them because the covid restrictions, you know, by the time I got to Australia did Hotel quarantine for two weeks. There was very limited travel, you know, everyone had to do covid test before we got to see them even in all these small towns and it was kind of tricky convincing. Some of them to take over test because there was no Kai over there that It was really, I was on Zoom like just non-stop for months talking to people and and you often find people who are great, but then you don't put them in the Will you film them and they don't make it? So to me, it's always about. A person has to have a reason to be in it and they have to progress the story. And so, one of the things I was very wary of was having, you know, sort of victim after victim after victim, not that their stories aren't incredibly valuable and we have so much empathy for them, but it can't be repetitious you have to keep progressing. So, you know, there's only really one person Jan in mallacoota, you know who talks about losing a house, but she does it in a way that I don't think we've seen before because so many people Australians are laconic and sort of, you know, proud and and Quiet about tragedy and she when she says, no I've lost. All of my parents and my grandparents things. I've lost a part of my life. She just says it in this very calm Manner and I think that's sort of heartbreaking, but every person was there for a very specific reason. One question of the audience is how they can help get people to see your movie. It. Is there any advice you have on that? I guess I'm, you know pies tell everyone about it. So I shall media, you know, just be annoying. One thing that I'm really grateful for is that will get to continue working together on Bluebird, green docs, and I guess one question. When I wanted to leave you with is now that you've made a Fantastic climate film. What are you hoping to see in terms of the next generation of climate filmmaking of climate documentaries? Mmm. Is. It's always really fun, watching new films. And because this is short dark. So I feel like there might be a lot of young filmmakers. I mean, I would say, I think with short dark so you can really hone in on a subject. So I'm guessing they'll be some things that I've never heard of, or know of, and I'm assuming it's Global range. It is. So, I'm expecting lots of stories that we've never heard of that. Will be really great. And I'm also expecting, probably if it's, I'm thinking, it's going to be young filmmakers. Some reason that submit films, but I feel like a lot of them might be optimistic, which would be a nice. Change. It would be I'm but I'm sure there'll be some horror stories too. Well on the hoop. The balance between optimism and horror stories. I think we'll leave it there. I'm so grateful that you were with us. Today. I want to just make a few last announcements before we wrap this up. The first is to remember that burning is going to be on Amazon Prime. By the end of this month. Is that right? November 26th. Globally. We are going to be. We already spoke about the bluebird, green Docks, but there's going to be a website with more information about how to submit 10-minute films. It's a bloomberg.com / green docks, you can also sign up for the Green Daily newsletter while you're there. And follow the rest of my team's reporting from cop 26 and Beyond. And I wanted to just remind everybody that we're going to be back in the same space tomorrow for a day-long, Bloomberg, green Summit event, including a one-on-one interview with u.s. Climate en Voyage on carry in our editor-in-chief and a great list of scientists and Executives. And climate leaders who are all going to be here throughout the day. I hope you'll come back here tomorrow. And I'll see you all the summit. And thank you for being here tonight for burning.