Make Reel Change: Make Poverty History

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 04 Jun 2008

Emerging and established filmmakers with a passion for human rights are being invited to make short films addressing the human impacts of climate change.
The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and the Make Poverty History coalition have joined forces to launch the Reel Change climate change short film competition, which is seeking powerful and innovative films from throughout Australia and the world.
The best films will screen as part of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Canberra, throughout November and December.
HRAFF co-director Evelyn Tadros said that for decades, issues of human rights, poverty and climate change had been dealt with as separate, distinct topics, with little attention paid to the connection between them.
“There are countless stories out there which bear witness to this relationship and reveal the serious human impact of climate change, particularly on those who already living in poverty and disadvantage,” Ms Tadros said.
“The Reel Change Competition is an exciting partnership between the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and the Make Poverty History coalition, which we hope will not only encourage filmmakers to bring these stories to light but will also raise awareness of these issues amongst the broader public."
Open to any genre including documentary, narrative, animation, music video and experimental, the organisers are looking for short films that deal with the issues of climate change, poverty and human rights.
Thousands of dollars worth of cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded for the best Australian and International short film. The best films also will be used as part of Make Poverty History’s climate change campaign.
Make Poverty History co-chair Andrew Hewett said the Make Poverty History coalition was already seeing the impacts of climate change on poor and vulnerable people in the developing world. For example, the Pacific nation of Tuvalu has lost about a metre of land around the circumference of its largest atoll due to changes in storm conditions and rising sea levels. Salt-water intrusion has reduced the land’s productive capabilities, and increased coral bleaching from rising ocean temperatures is depleting local fish stocks.
“We look forward to seeing how filmmakers portray this most compelling, and urgent, of subjects,” Mr Hewett said. “We hope the films will tell some of the personal, human stories of climate change and, in doing so, encourage others to consider the injustice at the heart of the issue – that the countries least responsible for producing greenhouse gases are the ones most impacted.”
Make Poverty History is a non-partisan coalition of more than 60 aid organisations aiming to end the injustice of poverty. The HRAFF was established in 2007 to make human rights accessible, relevant and significant to the broader community.
The Reel Change climate change short film competition’s submission deadline is Friday, 15 August. For all other human rights-related films, submissions close on Monday 14 July.
For submission details, and more information about the festival, go to
For more information, please contact Laurelle Keough, Make Poverty History, on 03 9289 9336 or 0409 960 100