Time to watch films and act for a sustainable future

November 22, 2021

As we became fully aware of the limits of our planet and the interconnectedness of life on Earth, now it is time to create a new culture for sustainable living.

Sustainable Living Film Festival (SLFF), supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Turkey for the fifth time this year, will be held online on 1-5 December at Surdurulebiliryasam.net with its 2021 official selection. Once again, documentaries highlighting the pioneers of change will meet the festival audience.

SLFF invites us to keep our hope alive with a special collection of stories at a time when every step of each one of us is significant and acting together has a vital importance for a sustainable culture of living and future.

The documentaries selected unfold the possibility of a future shaped by creativity, purpose, determination and diversity. This future is not far away, it will be determined by our actions within this decade. What kind of a world would we like to see in 2050? And what are we willing to do to create that world together?

The SLFF2021 selection includes examples of change at various scales from society to industry, from community to family and the individual. The ongoing transformation is told through the documentaries displaying serenity within chaos, hope within crisis, adaptation to complexity and the transformation of despair to strength. The 2021 selection gathers inspirational stories from across the world with four prominent themes: System Change, Changing the World through Work, For Climate and Thinking of Water. This year, UNDP Turkey is the proud supporter of the theme For Climate.

The festival invites change-makers and people who want to create their own stories of change to organize and meet at online events at the end of film screenings. Festival followers can register for these events at Surdurulebiliryasam.net as soon as the program is announced.

All screenings are free of charge. Registration page is at surdurulebiliryasam.net

SLFF2021 Official Selection

  • Shelter (Director: Çağatay Ankaralı, Umut Sarıboğa, 2021, Turkey, 45’)
  • Remedy (Director: Jakub Šipoš, 2021, Slovakia, 40') * Thinking of Water
  • Solutions (Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær, 2021, Denmark, 75') *System Change
  • Seeding Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce (Director: Richard Yelland, 2020, ABD, 51') *Changing the World through Work
  • We The Power (Director : David Garrett Byars, 2020, USA, Germany, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Spain, 39') *For Climate
  • Discovering Hydrogen ( Director Nicole Scott, Don Dahlmann, 2021, Germany, 60') *For Climate
  • Black Trail (Director: Zeynep Şentek, Craig Shaw, Micael Pereira, 2021, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Greece, 57')
  • Blue Future (Director: Ante Gugić, Emanuele Quartarone, Rabii Ben Brahim, 2021, Croatia, Italy, Tunusia, 35')
  • The Keepers of Corn (Director: Gustavo Vasquez, 2020, Mexico, 60')
  • Nanoworld: The Key to Our Survival (Director: Pascal Moret, Julien Guiol, 2020, France, 52')
  • Building Common Ground (Director: Lars Ostmann, 2021, Germany, 90')
  • Beyond Zero (Director: Nathan Havey, 2020, USA, 90') *Changing the World through Work
  • Reflection: A Walk with Water (Director: Emmett Brennan, 2021, USA, 79') * Thinking of Water
  • Journey to Utopia (Director: Erlend E. Mo, 2020, Denmark, Norway, 89')
  • The 25% Revolution (Director: Dries Coomans, Bastiaan Lochs, Tone De Cooman, 2021, Belgium, 21') *System Change
  • Current Revolution: Nation in Transition (Director: Roger Sorkin, 2021, USA, 30')
  • Shepherd's Song (Director: Abby Fuller, 2020, USA, 21')
  • Our Sea of Waste (Director: Morade Azzouz, Anca Ulea, 2021, France, 26')
  • Transforming Lives and Landscapes - The Inga Tree Model (Director: Mike Hands, 2021, USA, 11')
  • Plankton (Director: Eskil Hardt, 2020, Denmark, 3')
  • Tibetan Harvest (Director: Jasraj Padhye, 2021, India, 18')

SLFF2021 Supporters

  • Festival Supporter

Heinrich Böll Stiftung Turkey Representation

  • Theme Supporter

Arçelik (Changing the World through Work)

UNDP Turkey (For Climate)

  • Friend of the Festival

PETRA The Flooring Co

  • In Kind Support

Local Makers

LÖRN Creative Agency

Mikado Sustainable Development Consulting

  • Media Support

Magma Magazine


About Sustainable Living Film Festival: Since 2008, SLFF has been providing a better understanding of the concept of sustainability and systemic problems that interact with each other, contributing to the formation of a new culture of living through inspiring stories collected from different parts of the world, and inviting the audience to action for transformation with its impact-oriented selection.

SLFF cooperates with Surdurulebiliryasam.net to ensure that the selection of films reaches large segments of the society. Surdurulebiliryasam.net provides content to the events with its SLFF selection so that non-governmental organizations, local governments, educational institutions and companies can benefit after the festival.

SLFF2021 Official Selection

  • Feature Length Films

Beyond Zero

Director: Nathan Havey

2020, USA, 90'

How does a global company in one of the world's dirtiest industries come clean?

After a life-changing epiphany, the CEO of a global public company embarks on a high-stakes quest to eliminate all negative environmental impacts and reinvent what it means to run a business. Directed and written by Nathan Havey, the film chronicles the 25-year sustainability journey of flooring manufacturer Interface as it transforms its business toward having no negative impact on the planet by the year 2020.  To succeed, they must overcome deep skepticism, abandon the status quo, and ignite a new industrial revolution. One of the most globally recognised ethical organisations, Interface has become an iconic example of how a business can thrive after reinventing itself as a force for good. Beyond Zero offers an inspirational roadmap for how business can reverse climate change.

Black Trail

Director: Zeynep Şentek, Craig Shaw, Micael Pereira

2021, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, UK, 57'

From Lisbon to Genoa, Athens to the Arctic, Black Trail is an investigation into the shipping industry's efforts to hide from climate debate, regulations and taxation. The shipping industry is a massive climate polluter. Is it committed to change?

Shipping is an industry apart from any other. It is a linchpin of the global economy, transporting around 90% of the world's goods, 11 billion tonnes every year. And not only goods, but people, too. Every year, 30 million people board huge, floating cities decked out with cinemas, bars, and swimming pools and sail to foreign lands to experience the culture, taste the food, drink the wine.

All this comes at a cost. This multi-trillion-dollar industry produces a massive amount of greenhouse gases, which causes climate change, and toxins, that cost thousands of deaths each year in coastal regions, port towns and cities.

Blue Future

Director: Ante Gugić, Emanuele Quartarone, Rabii Ben Brahim

2021, Croatia, Italy, Tunusia, 36'

One sea. Three voices. A shared vision for the Mediterranean.

This film tells the stories of three young individuals who did not stay silent in front of the threats and the exploitation suffered by the sea they deeply care about. Instead, they decided to take action and put themselves on the line. Marina, Rania, and Simone do not know each other. They live in different countries, and yet they share the same vision: A future where the Mediterranean people look to the sea as the source of solutions, innovation and job opportunities to tackle today's climate and economic challenges.

Building Common Ground

Director: Lars Ostmann

2021, Germany, 90'

How to live together in a world of exploitation of nature and people? This is the story of an unlikely place: Here, young people with very diverse backgrounds can live together, regardless of their social, financial or cultural background. By learning from shared experience, the focus is on peace and on the quest for a sustainable future. The film shows how the idea for this unusual school takes shape.

Discovering Hydrogen

Director: Nicole Scott,  Don Dahlmann

2021, Germany, 60'

Hydrogen is a great source of energy, so why is there so much controversy around it? If we're going to move away from Co2 heavy energy sources we're going to need multiple sources of green energy. Don Dahlmann and Nicole Scott take a look at the role Hydrogen will play in our lives. It's not just for cars, it's for so much more!

Journey to Utopia

Director: Erlend E. Mo

2020, Denmark, Norway, 89'

Domestic bliss – meets climate crisis

The enlightened, forward thinking Mo family lead a picture-perfect life on their farm in Norway. But recently, climate anxiety and fear for the planet that will be left to their three children is keeping them up at night. Taking a giant leap of faith, the family decides to take action and move to 'Permatopia': a brand new self-sufficient, organic farming cooperative in Denmark.

But will green community living really be a sustainable solution for a family of five headstrong individualists, each with their own very different expectations and dreams? A heartwarming and brutally honest film about one family's attempt to make a real difference under the shadow of climate change.

Nanoworld: The Key to Our Survival

Director: Pascal Moret, Julien Guiol

2020, France, 52'

 Nature is an inexhaustible source of knowledge. After 3 billion years of evolution, it has created amazing mechanisms, even at a microscopic level, that allow plants and animals around us to protect themselves, to grow, to move or to face the attacks of the elements.

This "nanoworld" questions our imagination with its beauty and intelligence. Scientists have finally managed to unravel its mysteries, thanks to photonics. Let's take an unprecedented journey into this other dimension, in which nature-inspired solutions are found to meet the meet the ecological and climatic challenges that threaten us.

Reflection: A Walk with Water

Director: Emmett Brennan

2021, USA, 79'

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of water: anywhere life exists, in any form, water plays an essential role in the ecosystem. But in his documentary Reflection: a walk with water, filmmaker Emmett Brennan makes the compelling argument that society has lost touch with this delicate and crucial place water occupies in the environment. In the midst of a climate emergency, Reflection: a walk with water is an enlightening investigation that urges humanity to rethink life’s most basic resource.



Director: Jakub Šipoš

2021, Slovakia, 40'

The story of group of young people travelling by boat from the Canary Islands to the southern part of Senegal to bring simple water filters to the Casamance area. The visual mosaic captures life of citizens of seven local villages and shows the process of implementing the Water for Senegal project of People of Hope (civic association). The Remedy show their successes and failures, the pitfalls and problems that accompany their journey. It shows the culture and life of local people and also points out the impact of climate change on the life of communities in the region. It discusses the effectiveness and sustainability of this project and raises a question about the community's dependence on aid development. The aim of the film is to raise awareness of the world's water problems, highlight the visible effects of climate change and inspire people to take an active part in what is happening around us.

Seeding Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce

Director: Richard Yelland

2020, USA, 51'

20 years ago, a young group of social entrepreneurs started a company to sustainably harvest acai in the Brazilian rainforest. Along the way, they joined a movement of purpose-driven companies looking to change the world through an alternative economic model. These "triple bottom line" businesses measure success not only financially but also socially and environmentally. Their practice of "conscious commerce" addresses some of today’s most challenging issues. This award-winning documentary empowers viewers to be part of the solution by "voting with their dollars" and supporting brands and products that make positive change for the planet.


Director: Çağatay Ankaralı, Umut Sarıboğa

2021, Turkey, 45’

Climate change negatively affects not only land life, but also marine life as the sea water temperatures keep rising. One of the most important problems in our seas is the disappearing of reefs. Many sea creatures such as algae, seaweeds, crabs, sea reptiles and sea turtles are creatures that thrive and live on reefs. Some people build artificial reefs to sustain life in water, protect the coastline from erosion, and diversify the aquatic ecosystem. While artificial reefs were used to increase fish production in the years when we did not talk about climate change, in recent years they have been used for protection purposes such as preventing sea pollution, increasing water quality and regenerating the ecosystem. But could artificial reefs really be the solution? Could it be a shelter for aquatic creatures?


Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær

2021, Denmark, 75'

Throughout the ages, each time a new technology has appeared, it has transformed our lives and society - today more than ever. Lead by digitalization, followed by new living and intelligent technologies, our world is being transformed in a way that's difficult for us to comprehend. A group of the world's leading scientists isolate themselves for 10 days at the renowned Santa Fe Institute, hidden away in the desert of New Mexico. They come from all corners of science representing environment, economy, democracy, social media, education, status of institutions and artificial technology. Together, they want to start a revolutionary movement with an ambitious goal: To secure the future of humanity through science by finding the path to a new paradigm.

The Keepers of Corn

Director: Gustavo Vasquez

2020, Mexico, 60'

Indigenous farmers, artisans and cooks all tell this story – in Spanish and in their own languages - of the origins of native corn and how their ancestors shepherded the ever-evolving seeds out of the dawn of agriculture and into the 21st Century; a collective labor involving over 350 generations. Their voices are joined by community leaders, scientists, chefs and others whose knowledge and activism stand, not only in defense of food sovereignty and the genetic integrity, diversity and community ownership of native seeds, but in defense of a durable cultural legacy and a way of life.

We The Power

Director: David Garrett Byars

2020, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA, 39'

Restore Power to the People

Together, we can bring the benefits of renewable energy production home. One million European citizens are involved in today's growing community-energy movement. By 2050, it could be more than 260 million citizens, each helping to generate up to 45 percent of the European Union's electricity from community energy—providing local jobs, reduced energy bills, a healthier environment and a stronger social fabric. We The Power chronicles local energy cooperatives as they pave the way for a renewable-energy revolution and build healthier, more financially stable communities.


  • Short Films

Current Revolution: Nation in Transition

Director: Roger Sorkin

2021, USA, 30'

Building on the success of its award-winning debut film in the Current Revolution series, American Resilience Project presents Nation in Transition, an exploration of the energy transition in the Southwest, where power and water systems are increasingly stressed due to more frequent extreme heat and drought, and where increasing numbers of coal-fired power plants are closing due to market forces. Within the wider context of our global energy transition, the film highlights the coal-to-renewables transition on the Navajo Nation and across northern Arizona through the stories of workers, their families and communities, business and tribal leaders, utility executives, policy makers and environmental activists. The film offers a roadmap for accelerating and navigating just energy transitions for workers and communities affected by the rapidly changing energy economy towards a carbon-free future.

Our Sea of Waste

Director: Morade Azzouz, Anca Ulea

2021, France, 26'

The Mediterranean is Europe’s most polluted sea, with some 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste entering its waters every year. As more disposable masks and gloves wash out to sea due to the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals are taking action to find permanent solutions up the supply chain. In France, we meet some of the people on the frontlines.


Director: Eskil Hardt

2020, Denmark, 3'

Find out more about the crisis currently unfolding in our oceans and what YOU can do to change it. The oceans are being destroyed by micro-plastic and pollution from highly toxic chemicals from industry and domestic sources. We need to eliminate this pollution. What are we waiting for?

Shepherd's Song

Director: Abigail Fuller

2020, USA, 18'

Growing up in San Francisco, Jenya saw the world around her changing and after the death of both her parents, she became desperate to find a sense of belonging and connection. The film explores her journey as she embarks on a new path restoring ecosystems with the help of her flock of sheep. Through her journey, the film invites us to think about our ability to participate meaningfully and intentionally with the natural world, and to see that by healing land there an opportunity to heal ourselves.

The 25% Revolution

Director: Dries Coomans, Bastiaan Lochs

2021, Belgium, 21'

How big does a minority have to be to reshape society?

Our ‘take-make-use-lose' economy is destroying the planet and systems that keep us alive. Together with leading economists and NGOs, we're demanding systemic change for people and nature. From the hidden costs of our current model to existing alternatives and inspiring resistance to environmental destruction: The 25% Revolution shows what is possible right here and right now.

Tibetan Harvest

Director: Jasraj Padhye

2021, India, 18'

Following in the footsteps of the 14th Dalai Lama more than 150,000 Tibetan refugees fled to India in 1959. The largest Tibetian Refugee community in the world inhabited is located at Doeguling, 50 km from Hubli, in Karnataka. Doeguling is a challenging place to stay for the Tibetans with its hot and arid climate and a scarcity of water. To tackle the water crisis, Tenzin Thakpo, Chairman of the community's water committee successfully implemented rainwater harvesting projects in the Tibetan refugee camp which recharged their bore wells.

Realizing that neighboring Indian villages are also facing the same water crisis, Tenzin, then, reaches out to the parched Indian villages and offers help to recharge their bore wells using the technique they developed. This initiative by the Tibetan community is not only staged to benefit over 3,000 village households but also has strengthened ties between the two communities.

Transforming Lives and Landscapes - The Inga Tree Model

Director: Mike Hands

2021, USA, 11'

Slash and burn farming is rapidly destroying the world’s remaining rainforests and sending vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yet for more than 250 million farmers across the world, it is the only way they can survive. Through implementing Inga Alley Cropping – the sustainable alternative to slash and burn – we can change this.

The Inga Tree Model- showing Inga Alley Cropping-for food security, improved nutrition, saving rainforests, protecting water sources, improving soil, and sequestering carbon-a regenerative farming system which replaces slash and burn--scalable and replicable to the entire tropics (scientifically-proven and bottom-up).