Extinction Rebellion UK filmmakers block red carpet at Star Wars London Premiere

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  • A group of filmmakers from Extinction Rebellion UK – calling themselves Film Strike for Climate – occupied the red carpet at the Star Wars Premiere in London this evening
  • They are calling for Hollywood’s film industry to use their immense influence and join Extinction Rebellion in Telling the Truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency
  • The action lasted only a few moments before activists were peacefully removed from the area

8 filmmakers from the Extinction Rebellion UK group, Film Strike for Climate, occupied the red carpet at the Star Wars European Premiere in London’s Leicester Square this evening, as some of Hollywood’s biggest stars arrived.[1] 

Dressed as Rebel Alliance characters, they lay down on the carpet and called for Hollywood’s film industry to join Extinction Rebellion in their quest to tackle the greatest threat facing our planet: the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

People from across the UK took part in this dramatic plea to Hollywood to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency and to use its enormous influence to Tell the Truth to their viewers. Several activists also held banners with the words ‘Culture Change not Climate Change,’ ‘Help us Hollywood, you’re our only hope’ and ‘Imagine Green New Worlds’. The group did not intend to shut down the premiere, but to make sure their message was heard.

The protest urged Hollywood to engage audiences in the immediate threats we face by helping Extinction Rebellion to Tell the Truth about the crisis. Organisers want industry leaders and stars of the silver screen to use the power of cinema to show a clear vision of a better and more just world, lighting the way to help guide society through the oncoming crises and man-made disasters. 

Alfie Warren-Knight, founder of #FilmStrikeforClimate, said: “At the world government summit in Dubai, Harrison Ford said ‘We are faced with, I believe, the greatest moral crisis of our time’.

The film industry must use its influence and story-telling powers to help people around the world understand the urgency of the situation and to spark wide-spread public discussion about the climate and ecological emergency before it’s too late. It has shown in the past how it can mobilise around other important issues in society such as the #MeToo movement. The industry must show a brighter future is still possible, and inspire people to rise up against the ‘Evil Empire’ of ecocidal business-as-usual. We need radical culture and system change to prevent climate and ecological breakdown, and must join forces to improve our chances of a liveable future.”

Films can play a vital role in facilitating public discussion and changing attitudes and behaviours, as shown by films such as: Philadelphia, Biko, Blood Diamonds, Gorillas in the Mist, Blackfish and Supersize Me. Cultural figures are increasingly using their influence to draw attention to the climate emergency. Actor Mark Rylance resigned from the Royal Shakespeare Company over its BP sponsorship, and actress Jane Fonda has been arrested multiple times as part of climate strikes in the USA, but industry bodies are yet to make similar commitments.  

Ashley Joiner, Director of ‘Are You Proud’ – the LGBT rights history documentary – said: “Films have the power to transport us to new worlds, to educate us and open our eyes to new possibilities – that’s what Star Wars is all about! The responsibility is on us as artists to create work that educates on the realities and empowers audiences to make change. I fully support #filmstrikeforclimate and encourage the industry to do so too!”

Tom Richards, a respected wildlife film producer, said: “Like the rebels of the Star Wars movies, we are engaged in a struggle against the destructive and dark forces that are already killing countless people in the Global South and threatening civilizational collapse in the near future. We have no time to waste. So we have travelled here today to encourage the industry to become opinion-leaders and role models in climate justice and planetary protection. A better world is possible: one with cleaner air, wildlife saved from extinction, food security and more closely-knit supportive communities. Cinema can light the path to that future with its inspirational storytelling. Help us Hollywood! You’re our only hope!”

Notes for Editors

[1] More about Film Strike for Climate:

Film Strike for Climate is a campaign launched by members of Extinction Rebellion Filmmakers community and Greta Thunberg’s Youth Strike for Climate movement. 

This is the second direct action from the campaign. The first was a mass leafleting campaign, coupled with performances – a Star Wars themed orchestra outside the BBC Natural History Unit and beatboxers at the Bottleyard Film Studios. Call to action leaflets highlighting the parallels of the struggle of the climate and the Star Wars narrative were delivered to around 80 key film locations around the UK.

Film Strike for Climate also hosted a rogue roaming film festival – The Rebel Futures Film Festival – during Extinction Rebellion’s last mass Rebellion in October. Sue Clayton, director of The Stanstead 15, hosted a Radical Filmmaking Workshop. Director Ashley Joiner presented his LGBT rights activist history film outside the Home Office.

Its demands to all global film institutions are to:

  1. Declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  2. Join and show solidarity with Greta Thunberg’s Youth Strike for Climate movement at all future Global Climate Strikes.
  3. Help tell the truth, envision brighter futures and inspire positive climate and ecological action through its storytelling and globally influential networks.

About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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