“Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai,” the award-winning film about the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and creator of the Green Belt Movement, released in 2008, is being re-released in 12 languages by Vermont’s Marlboro Productions. The film is now offered in Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Indonesian, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. To broaden access to Maathai’s inspiring story, the international versions are dubbed rather than sub-titled and are being made available online to environmental NGOs, grassroots organizations, and activists worldwide at no charge – an unusual provision in the documentary filmmaking community.
Maathai said, “It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change…We cannot be intimidated…We must stand up for what we believe in.”
In the spirit of Maathai’s holistic approach to environmental stewardship and citizen empowerment, the film’s outreach effort is being focused on those groups and individuals who are fighting for environmental sustainability and human rights. The filmmakers hope that the film will motivate people facing destructive natural resource practices in their own communities to take action.
The release of “Taking Root’s” international language versions has been coordinated to coincide with the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which kicks off today, November 30th, in Paris, and runs through December 11th. The release timing is designed to call attention to the connection between the worldwide problem of deforestation and climate change.
Funding for “Taking Root’s” outreach effort has been provided by the Ceres Trust, a foundation that supports innovative documentary films that bring to light issues affecting human health and the resilience of ecosystems. The films are meant to spark public conversation and support action leading to social change.
Marlboro Productions invites the NGOs, activists, and concerned citizens using the film to share their work, initiatives, and experiences on social media and build a community among people facing similar challenges around the world. Visit https://vimeo.com/marlboroproductions/videos/.
In her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2004 Maathai said: “Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking so that humanity stops threatening its life support system. We are called to assist the earth to heal her wounds. And in the process, heal our own… In the course of history there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness. To reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”
Since the founding of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977, the GBM has planted 51 million trees in Kenya.
Maathai died in 2011, but her legacy lives on through the work of the organization.