“I wanted to engage in a project that studied people and their attitudes toward climate change,” says Danish filmmaker Nina Holmgren, the director rounding up Survival Season—our special program of films on environmental damage. “Human passivity is the core issue of climate change.”
I Want You To Panic presents a family oblivious to a fire that gradually rips through their home. Each person engages in different activities; lifting weights, riding an exercise bike, applying make-up or facial tanning. An egocentric preoccupation with their physical appearance distracts them from the rising smoke and flames. Holmgren says, “This indifference in the face of disaster raises the question—what will it take for humans to react?”
The film features speeches from climate activists Greta Thunberg and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, two teenagers celebrated for inspiring worldwide environmental youth movements. “Thunberg and Martinez are important voices on climate change because they rally people together, create awareness and put pressure on those in power,” says Holmgren. “Their voices are important. We can all make the change our planet needs, not just for our generation but for generations to come.
“In the film, the pleas from two of the biggest youth climate activists go unheard. They are trying to awaken a family that is sleepwalking through life, but no one reacts,” says Holmgren. “They don’t see the fire right in front of their eyes.”
I Want You To Panic forms part of Survival Season, our special program charting the impact of human exploitation of the earth. Taking inspiration from the four classical elements—earth, air, water, fire—the films profile weather-beaten islands, the desolation of the earth’s natural resources, oceans clogged with plastics, and fires that rage as a consequence of global warming. Each film is a creative response to the harrowing effects of climate change, while reminding audiences that only humanity can be the fulcrum for transformation.