Liter of Light, a Filipino-born global grassroots solar lighting movement, will premiere a pioneering environmental film at Expo 2020 during the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week. The documentary seeks to put a spotlight on the need to address social inequalities and for a call for more urgent and united action “to protect our people and future generations”; specially developing countries already experiencing adverse effects of the environment. The “Theory of Light” will receive its first public presentation at the world’s biggest show on March 27, in front of over 100 dignitaries and guests at the Opportunity Forum at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The film premiere will be at the Opportunity Forum on March 27, 2022 at 7:00pm. It is a unique opportunity to share the impact of a Philippine innovation in building resilient communities with a broad audience that has convened in Dubai because of their commitment to sustainability. This project is supported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where the Liter of Light is a Momentum for Change awardee (https://tinyurl.com/mryxvzec) and will feature interviews of Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, UN Global Climate Action.
Part historical chronicle, part environmental lesson, “Theory of Light” shows how Liter of Light is reinvigorating efforts to take action because of the increasing impact of climate change and inspiring new generations of innovators from the Global South to come up with ideas that will change the world.
The Philippines is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. As part of the typhoon belt, the country expects 20 storms each year, but with the increase in global warming, 25% of these yearly storms are now classified as catastrophic. Just last December, a new Category 5 storm, Super Typhoon Rai, tore through the Philippines, killing more than 400 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. It is only the latest in a series of super storms that pose an existential threat to the island nation’s heritage and way of life.
“Most media coverage to date focuses on the receiving effects of the climate crisis,” says Illac Diaz, Founder and Executive Director of Liter of Light. “Filipinos are admired for our resilience, but rarely do stories focus on the innovative solutions that communities themselves have developed to take dramatic action. In fact, only 1% of all global expenses for filmmaking are spent on the environment, especially in the Philippines. With this documentary, we want to flip the script, and share stories of hope that inspire others to make a commitment to the planet.”
In 2018, Liter of Light has been selected as one of the Global Innovators under Expo Live, Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme, and received funding for its grassroots work in the Philippines. The results of the Expo Live funded projects were recorded in a documentary. This documentary would like to advance bold storytelling that centers the climate emergency through a climate justice lens. With a commitment to uplift perspectives of black, brown and indigenous communities, whose lives are already being impacted by climate change. But also to represent those who feel excluded for the climate movement and whose voices have not been represented in traditional climate storytelling.
The feature-length film is produced and distributed by TBA Studios (https://www.tba.ph/film-catalogue/), the two-time Philippine representative to the Academy Awards. Known for its critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking films, TBA Studios cemented their status as one of the top production companies in the Philippines with its big budget epics and major box office hits such as “General Luna” and “Goyo: The Boy General”.
“TBA Studios has always been committed to bringing to life stories that inspire, educate, and entertain. ‘Theory of Light’ is the first Filipino global environmental film with a local narrative about the harsh realities of climate change. We hope that this project will touch people’s lives—the way it did ours—and continue to influence decision-makers around the world to create more sustainable and tangible solutions for all,” shares TBA Studios CEO E. A. Rocha.
“I believe in the power of collaboration and partnerships to elevate global sustainability. For our children’s children, the present generation must come together and adapt to the challenges of climate change. “Theory of Light” shows us that even the simplest folk can do their part and be an excellent example of resilience and disaster preparedness. We find shining beacons of light amid natural disasters,” says Mr. Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee for SM Prime Holdings.
Development of “Theory of Light” was supported by a grant from SM Prime Holdings, Inc, one of the leading integrated property developers in Southeast Asia. Sustainability and Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience form part of SM Prime’s core business strategies, committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities.
Filmmaker J.P. Gopez, whose works include documentaries for National Geographic and TBA Studios’ legacy docu-series “Habambuhay: Remembering 100 Years of Philippine Cinema”, helmed the project. It is also executive produced by Liter of Light founder Illac Diaz, SM Prime President Hans Sy, TBA Studios CEOs E.A. Rocha and Fernando Ortigas with TBA’s Executive Vice-President and General Manager Daphne Chiu and Film Development Manager Margie Navarro co-producing.