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WALKING WITH CLIMATE PILGRIMS FOR CAMINO TO COP FILM Screening at Broadway Cinema, Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June, 6pm as part of GREEN HUSTLE FESTIVAL

Join Broadway Cinema in Nottingham at 6pm on June 2nd and 3rd, as part of the GREEN HUSTLE FESTIVAL for two screenings of OF WALKING ON THIN ICE, a film made by Ben Wigley following the 500-mile journey (Camino to COP26) made on foot by hundreds of climate activists from Bristol and London to Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Conference in November 2021.

There will be a chance to hear from director Ben Wigley and Green Hustle’s Adam Pickering at a Q&A screening on the Friday, and then an expanded cinema walk event on the Saturday, walking along the canal and through the festival site to the cinema screening.

Film runtime: 55 minutes. The film is suitable for all ages with some flashing lights, and loud drumming in the soundtrack.

The CAMINO TO COP26 was a people’s walk carrying a message of love, hope, grief, fear, and connection with the natural world to leaders deciding on the future of our climate. Ben walked with the group, who became known as ‘CAMINISTAS’, filming their experiences and capturing the sense of pilgrimage on this emotional and purposeful journey. More than a thousand walkers, aged from eight to 80 plus, joined the Camino for a few hours, a day or more, with a core group of about 30 completing the entire route to Glasgow. Completing the 500-mile journey involved intense physical and mental effort, emotional and spiritual upheaval, but it brought transformation and a sense of hope, despite the looming threat of climate breakdown.

Ben rigged himself with binaural microphones (putting microphones in his ears), and shot on 16mm film with his hand-crank Bolex camera, which he then developed, by hand, in his lab.

He captured an immersive and poetic film memory of the Camino, with beautiful black and white footage of landscapes, slow and quick movements of flag-waving pilgrims, and the ethereal sound of unseen voices sharing reflections as they walk.

The impressionistic film moments are captured in an iterative and incisive way; inspired by the words of Werner Herzog in his book ‘Of Walking In Ice’. Herzog describes the physical act of walking as “DREAMING ON FOOT” – and this sense is present in the walkers’ hopes, imaginings, stories, and connection with nature, and these merge to create a new world.

Locations and communities continuously change as viewers journey with the pilgrims. From London where the walkers share stories of why they are starting on this journey, through Milton Keynes where we hear their feelings about the climate emergency, alongside the voices of local schoolchildren. Struggling together through the heavy rain in Manchester, the pilgrims then reveal their deep connection as a community as they travel from Carlisle to Scotland, before uniting with pilgrims from across the world for a final jubilant walk into Glasgow.

Ben recorded conversations with the walkers, and people who witnessed the walk – politicians, community leaders, and passers-by who are stunned by this unique pilgrimage. The closeness of the walkers, who must rely on each other each day, reveals how people will need to create a caring community to succeed in saving our planet. Singing is heard throughout the film, spurring the walkers on and changing as they journey northwards to Glasgow. The film is shot in black and white celluloid until the final walk into the city, when the brightness and hope of the destination is revealed, like a dream, in Kodak colour celluloid, as we enter the COP26 ‘Zone’, (a reference to Tarkovsky’s film ‘Stalker’).

In September 2022, some of the walkers relived their Camino experiences on a nine-day walk from London to Bristol for the film’s premiere. Audience members joined the Caministas on their final stretch across Bristol City Centre to the harbourside where the film was screened on the side of the ampitheatre, an empty building once owned by Lloyds Bank.

The film is now being shown at about 60 unique events around the country, including sold out cinema screenings, headphones screenings in a tunnel shaft at the Brunel museum, showings at Glasgow Short Film Festival and at COP27, as well as other exciting venues, festivals, and community locations across the UK.

OF WALKING ON THIN ICE has become an expanded cinema project, where walking to the film screening is a key part of these immersive film events – led, in song, by the film staff (a carved wooden staff with the film on a USB stick inside), helping to build a sense of community. The audience arrives at the screening and often eats together before the film. Those who walked sit back with the sinuous memory of the walk still live in their legs and watch the film unfold. The routes are also accessible for wheelchair users. Caministas have also been holding workshops in schools and community buildings, involving storytelling, printing, flag-making and drumming to further raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency.

More information about future screenings and events will be available on the film website OFWALKINGONTHINICE.COM

The vision of the Camino to COP states:

“We are united by our faith; a faith that we can advocate and influence and be the change that we want for our world. We choose to walk as a practice of that faith, an act of connection with the earth on which we walk and the people with whom we walk and the communities through which we pass; and we make our way in kinship with the peoples and creatures of the earth who are suffering and displaced by climate and ecological breakdown. We do so peacefully and lawfully, ready to engage and learn, because we care and we have hope.”

“My work is often about humanity’s relationship with the Earth, which is how I came upon this project,” said Ben. “As an artist I work in collaboration with subjects, and the XR walking community is no exception.

“I discussed ideas with the pilgrims individually or in small groups, and we would explore those ideas through recorded conversation, through soundscape, and through image making. We were all active participants in our collaboration, working together to make this film.”

Posted on 19 May 2023

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