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Red Carpet Revolutions: Climate Activists Take Center Stage at Berlin Film Festival 2023

February 18, 2023
1 min read

The opening ceremony of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2023, was disrupted by climate change activists. The Last Generation group, made up of two activists, glued themselves to the red carpet in front of the Berlinale Palast, calling on the German government and society to take urgent action against climate change. Before stepping on the red carpet, Raphael Voellmy (26) and Lisa Winkelmann (20) both emphasized the urgent need for immediate action. They called for a social council to be formed to help find a solution to the climate crisis. Their message to the public and government is that society is the last chance to prevent billions of deaths and a global climate catastrophe. The group has been known for its protest tactics, which include shutting down Berlin airports and holding sit-ins. Despite the interruption, the festival continued with the screening of the opening-night film, She Came to Me, directed by US director Rebecca Miller, which features Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei, Joanna Kulig, Brian d’Arcy James and Anne Hathaway. The festival’s opening also featured a video address by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The Last Generation is a student activist group that has been behind several climate protests in Germany, including shutting down air traffic at Berlin Airport by gluing themselves to the runway. According to a statement released by the group, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the world’s affluent 1%, responsible for nearly half of all flight-related emissions. The Berlinale is an important event for advertising sustainability, but, according to Voellmy, is not sufficient to prevent the approaching collapse.

The red carpet ceremony at the Berlin Film Festival saw another group of activists unfurl banners reading “Women Life Freedom,” in solidarity with Iranian women and girls fighting for human rights in Iran. Iranian jury member Golshifteh Farahani also called for attendees to pay attention to their cause, saying, “I call it a revolution, I don’t call protest.” She went on to criticize the Iranian regime’s treatment of innocent people in prison, including artists and journalists.

The protests that took place at the opening ceremony of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival were a call to action against climate change and human rights violations in Iran. These protests highlight the need for society to take more action to address the problems facing the world today. By ignoring the problems and escaping from reality, society will reach a point of no return. The Berlinale can help advertise for sustainability on a small scale, but it cannot save the planet by itself. It is time for the government and society to come together to address these problems before it’s too late.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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