#TIFF2020; #GretaThunberg; #Documentary; #NathanGrossman; #IAmGreta
Toronto, Nov 1 (Canadian-Media): Tom Powers, documentary programmer for Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) discusses with Nathan Grossman, director of TIFF 2020 film, ‘I Am Greta’, about Greta Thunberg’s meteoric one-year rise from high-school climate strike organizer to inspiration for a global movement.
Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media brings you the excerpts of Part 1 of the conversation between Nathan and Tom:
Greta Thunberg. Image credit: TIFF
To Nathan: What drew you to Greta’s story and what allowed you to get in before other people were paying attention?
It was that classical documentary serendipity. I learned from a friend of mine, who knew the family, that she was going to do this school strike before the Swedish election. Having covered environmental issues earlier in my documentaries I was interested to portray children and their relationship with climate change. So, I decided to take my camera and go down to Rick Scott street, outside the Swedish Parliament. That was how I came across Greta in the beginning.
To Nathan: A film about Greta Thunberg could take many different forms. When people come to see this film, they would have got some preconception of what it will be in mind. How did you choose your focus on what you were going to keep in and what you were not paying attention to?
I could see that Greta is picked up by the media very quickly and Greta is very articulate about how she speaks about this matter. When I listened to her answers to the journalists, and while listening to her speeches, I wanted to understand her inner monologue, which is the background noise that spins in our head before the formation of words that come out of our mouth. Anxious to get beyond those words that just came out in the media, I tried to get her point of view which would enable me to portray her much from her perspective. There were no interviews with Greta’s family. I mostly relied on her narration, based on her interviews and to a large extent to her diary notes. We also worked very hard to get the camera down to her level as I am fairly tall being 190 cm. while she is very short. So, I really scrunched my back to be able to film what I was interested in about Greta.
Tom Powers (left) with Nathan Grossman (right). Image credit: Screenshot
To Nathan: How did you handle the sensitivity with Greta and her family when she is retreating to her room, understandably needing a break from all the pressures of the world?
My early acquaintance with Greta and her family before she became an activist star, resulted in Greta and I became very close friends. I also had this deal with Greta and her family not to film something, they did not want me to. But actually, that seldom happened because we filmed only when we were in very close contact, as I could not always follow Greta and her family on their expensive traveling.
To Nathan: Around the world, we see climate activists, who are black, indigenous, people of color, who do not receive the same attention that Greta does. I remember last December at a UN meeting in Madrid, Greta was trying to put more of an emphasis on turning the microphone over to other people. Can you reflect on the way that the media focuses on Greta?
Recalling one of her quotes during one scene in the movie, when she sits with another activist in Belgium when she says what’s so good about this movement is that everyone is important in this broad, and inclusive movement. The core of what she has been speaking about is a lot about climate justice. Being aware that this will affect people of color disproportionately, and also that she comes from a privileged background, she speaks for these less privileged people to the media by diverting media’s attention to these people. As I did the film from her point of view, I had a chance from the beginning to show the variety of tasks and activities that are out there.