Tales from Planet Earth brings stories of environmental futures to Stockholm

April 8, 2014

In its first trip overseas, the Tales from Planet Earth film festival will premiere in Stockholm April 9-12 through an international partnership with the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

Tales presented more than 35 new and classic films in Madison in November 2013, drawing more than 3,500 attendees. Many of those same films, and some new additions, will now screen at Filmhuset and Nobelmuseet (The Nobel Museum) in Stockholm. 

“We are delighted that Tales from Planet Earth will now be shared around the planet,” says founder Gregg Mitman, director of UW-Madison's Nelson Institute Center for Culture, History and Environment, which organizes the festival.

The films, ranging from science fiction to documentaries, examine how past and present modes of living have either intentionally or inadvertently contributed to different "futures" for the planet. They span topics such as energy landscapes and nuclear power, environmental justice, immigration and global migrations, cultural resilience and identity, indigenous rights, and climate change impacts.

The Stockholm festival will also feature a series of lectures, workshops and panel discussions on narrative in science communication, the use of film in spreading and creating knowledge, and the intersections between research, filmmaking, policy making and activism. Nelson Institute faculty affiliate Rob Nixon, the UW-Madison Rachel Carson and Elisabeth Ritzmann Professor of English, will present an opening lecture titled "Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene."

“It’s in the Tales spirit to bring together artists, faculty, students and community members to explore and further the power of storytelling through film as a force of environmental and social change,” says Mitman.

Tales in Stockholm is part of a longer-term collaboration around the theme of environmental futures between the Nelson Institute Center for Culture, History and Environment, the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich.

The festival will be followed by a three-day international workshop, “The Anthropocene, Cabinet of Curiosities Slam,” at UW-Madison Nov. 8-10. The workshop will feature a keynote address by Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the recent New York Times bestseller The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change.