Rise of the Eco Warriors
A good documentary should inspire action, and Rise of the Eco Warriors does this. Henkel’s capture of the project is imperative to spreading awareness, however this is dwarfed by the importance of the project itself. It’s clear that Henkel never compromised the process for the sake of the documentary - heavy use of observational footage and few formal interviews with the volunteers, means the film focuses on capturing a candid view of the progress. The dynamics between, and individual feelings of the group were lithely conveyed through unobtrusive footage of their meetings. Despite often dealing with tragic topics, sentimentality is never employed to manipulate an angle, or to fabricate a particular representation. All of this has been expertly edited for the overall clarity of the documentary.
I think this type of film is really important. It not only creates awareness of the severity of these problems, but also acts as a clear blueprint for other activists to tackle issues in the wider world. We’re still in an age of limited education in strategies to overcome the unsustainable use of natural resources, but what Rise of the Eco Warriors does exceptionally well is conveys an entire process, right from its conception. The documentary illustrates the team’s first-hand evaluation of causes, and its strategizing of realistic plans for funding. It then follows the full 3 month implementation. Things go pear-shaped throughout the film, almost resulting in the disbandment of the team, and failure of the whole project. Henkel captures and communicates each hiccup and presents them in an honest, unbiased way. This conveys the message that action against ecological problems is possible, and can be successful.
The individuals carrying the project are well documented, in a way that allows the audience to engage with their plight. I think this is a large factor of the effectiveness of the documentary – like all films, characters are important to maintain the audience’s interest. Although real-life people aren’t as malleable as fictional characters, the documentary makers have done a nice job of using what exists in the individuals, and bringing out relatable characters from them.
In short, it’s very clear that Henkel and her production team were consistently present alongside the unfolding of the project. Capturing the development in its numerous sections of focus, it’s easy to imagine that the filming team was profoundly instrumental in the solutions made. A highly thorough piece of documentary film, Rise of the Eco Warriors has incredibly pure ethics driving the production of it, and deserves a broad exposure to audiences.