8 April 2011 – [Updated 25 May 2011] The Total Environment Centre  film Waste Not is to be screened at the Cannes and several other film festivals after an enthusiastic reception at its launch in April at the NSW Parliament House.

The 25 minute film, which is for corporate or educational screenings, is a departure from the usual warning message on environmental issues.Instead of fear and doom, it mixes the passion of inspired people who work in waste reclamation or in how to avoid it, with the glamour of exotic and sustainable food harvested from street gardens for one of Sydney’s top restaurants.

According to publicity for the film  NAB manager environmental communications and engagement Carla Khoo, said: “Waste Not is the first environment film I’ve seen which hasn’t made me want to run from the cinema screaming ‘We are all going to die!’”.

Running out of landfill by 2017

Funded by the City of Sydney, and written and directed by TEC’s director of communications Ruth Hessey, the 25 minutes film centres on the human side of waste – rather than the threatening deadline of 2017, when the landfill sites around Sydney are expected to run out.

There are the early morning waste collectors who must negotiate the piles of rubbish for signs of dangerous chemicals in unmarked containers, the migrant waste worker who is in awe of the amount of goods – much in working order – that Australians throw out, “especially at Christmas”.

Luke Powell

There is the passion of those who revel in the harvest of precious metals from e-waste from mobile phones to valuable compost from organic matter.

Michael Mobbs, a columnist with The Fifth Estate,  makes an appearance at his Chippendale sustainable house, in clear delight that no sewage has left his property for 15 years, that it collects its own water and makes its own solar energy.

Luke Powell, head chef at Tetsuya’s, shows  how he harvests flowers and unusual edible plants for salads, from the garden verges that Mr Mobbs has cultivated.  Samples of the salads are served to guests after the showing.

James Bradfield Moody

According to the Ms Hessey the film is pitched to a broad audience from corporates to school children and has been at the Rodos International Film Festival in Rhodes and has won an award at the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival 2011.

TEC director Jeff Angel said: “We are all in this together. And luckily there is already an army of truck drivers, scientists, environmentalists, gardeners and even a famous chef, working to transform the mountains of stuff we throw away into something valuable again.”

Edible plants and flowers harvest from street gardens

Mr Angel told The Fifth Estate that although the film was a huge departure from TEC’s usual activities, the film medium was clearly a powerful way of communicating change and did not rule out another venture.

Most of the music for the film was composed by Peter Fenton with a track contributed by Chris Abrahams. Editor was Aden Young, cinematography by Bonnie Elliott and producer was Sophie Alstergren, for TEC.

Others appearing in the film included James Bradfield Moody, author and executive director development, CSIRO; Narelle Mantle, general manager, Reverse Garbage; Kumar Radhakrishnan, chief executive officer, Simms.

To hold screenings or to donate towards costs of the film and international showing contact rhessey@tec.org.au

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