Joerg Altekruse founded Youth4planet to make a difference using the power of films. With the #conAction participants, he is working on film projects on justice.
WELTBEWEGT: What is the idea behind Youth4planet, and what are you actually doing?
JOERG ALTEKRUSE: Youth4planet is a network and platform for co-creating films with young people that deal with existential topics of the future, like the climate crisis. We support educational institutions, companies, youth or church organisations to take action. The issues chosen by the participants are framed by the global sustainability goals, the so-called SDGs, which were passed by all UN member states in 2015. This was also the year of the Paris Climate Conference, which inspired me to found youth4planet. As a filmmaker, I have always focused on eco-social issues. Once I made a tv documentary about Lake Baikal. Some years after it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inspired by my film as I was told by the authorities. I have learned that you can make a difference through films, and I wanted to build on this experience in face of the great challenges ahead. How can we use the powerful tool of storytelling to explore and promote a sustainable lifestyle and work out solutions? Social movements need a voice. Youth4planet is building on skills that young people grew up with. In a film and team process they then use their smartphone as a tool to visualise abstract ideas and make them real. Our coaches support this process of filmmaking. Of course, we are pleased that the resulting films are often met with great response, some of them already being shown at festivals.
WELTBEWEGT: How did you come to work with #conAction?
JOERG ALTEKRUSE: When the organisers of conAction asked me for advice, I was immediately thrilled. The opportunity to work with young people from all over the world has a tremendous potential. The topic of justice is very complex, but the good thing about filmmaking is that you alway finish up with very concrete images. In preparation, we encouraged the participants to shoot short sequences in their home country to bring with them. In an online webinar, a virtual seminar, we showed them how to do some research on justice. They uploaded their footage on a digital platform so that all other participants could watch it. It should not be a finished film but maybe interviews or photos. We began with the actual process of filmmaking when the participants which had never made a film before, actually met in late August. After creating six small teams based on their interests they had three weeks to develop films together. There are no limits how you tell your story. You can make explanatory films with line drawings, use actors or do interviews.
WELTBEWEGT: What is your goal?
JOERG ALTEKRUSE: When you want to find options for change you need to get a precise picture of reality first. During their filmmaking process, the young people learn to find and identify stories and systemic interrelations, analyse the background (with journalistic tools) and find strong images to tell them to a larger audience. The ultimate goal is to find an interested audience. Filmmakers experiencing that their film is moving other people strengthen their feeling of self-efficacy, something they will never forget. Films are also a good way to get excited about new ideas. Many people react to an uncertain future with fear which keeps them where they are. But when creative young people show them with strong positive images how we can live even a better life when we tackle all the crises on our planet together, they can get hope to actively shaping the future. Next we will present an app platform to open this kind of co-creation process for every child on this planet.