Artists, Activists, and Storytellers Join Forces to Release a Hopeful New Animated Short Film | Amazon Watch
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Artists, Activists, and Storytellers Join Forces to Release a Hopeful New Animated Short Film

Opal Tometi, Emma Thompson, Gael García Bernal, and Nnimmo Bassey come together as an all-star cast of narrators for the film Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair

October 1, 2020 | For Immediate Release

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Oakland, CA – At a time when everyday life feels like an apocalyptic Hollywood movie, a new animated short film Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair imagines a future in which we emerge from our current crises to build back a better society. Produced by The Leap and The Intercept, the nine-minute film launched online today including a high-profile cast of narrators: Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Emma Thompson, actress and writer, Gael García Bernal, actor and activist, and Nigerian poet and activist Nnimmo Bassey. The Years of Repair comes as society is dealing with converging crises: COVID-19, systemic racism, economic freefall and climate breakdown, all converging in a bleak U.S. election season. It puts forth a new narrative featuring the art of Molly Crabapple, and the political storytelling of Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis and co-writer Opal Tometi.

“The pandemic has reminded us – for better and for worse – that we are all interconnected. And the uprisings against systemic racism have shown that there is power in the streets,” said Opal Tometi “It is clearer than ever before what is essential in our society, and whose lives must no longer be treated as expendable. This film envisions a way to build a better world out of overlapping crises, one in which no one is sacrificed and everyone is essential.”

The short film is a sequel to the 2019 Emmy-nominated Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and portrays the living leadership of essential workers and the power of historically marginalized communities. The film was released in five languages: English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Following the online debut, The Intercept will host a virtual panel discussion on Thursday, October 1 at 3:00 p.m. (12:00 p.m. PDT/8:00 p.m. BST). The event will be moderated by Emma Thompson and feature members of the team behind the film: Naomi Klein, Opal Tometi and Nnimmo Bassey. Register for the online event here.

According to Emma Thompson, “In the best utopian tradition, this film doesn’t indulge in wild-eyed futurism, divorced from the hard reality of people’s lives. It offers a picture of our future grounded in the best of our present – in the political demands, creativity and courage of social movements. It translates the chants rising up from the pavements into a coherent and hopeful vision of the future.”

Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair launched with a coalition of partner organizations that have been campaigning for years on various elements of the vision the film brings to life: The Movement for Black Lives, Public Services International, La Via Campesina, The Sunrise Movement, The NDN Collective, Global Nurses United, Amazon Watch, Greenpeace International, The Dream Defenders, Haymarket Books, Institute for Policy Studies, V-Day and The Leap.

To view Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair online, visit or YouTube. Follow the #messagefromthefuture conversation online at @TheLeap_Org and @theintercept. Social media assets can be accessed via the Partner Toolkit. Interviews with filmmakers and narrators available upon request – please contact: Danielle Sullivan

From Partners of the film Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said: “In the eye of the pandemic, we are witnessing the best and worst of humanity, and have been compelled to understand that we are part of, not apart from, nature. We can see the failing system flailing and profiteering; their stories of fossil fuelled recovery must and can be rejected. ‘Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair’ is more than a call to action, it is an opportunity to join hands to create a better fairer sustainable future.”

Zina Precht-Rodriguez, Deputy Creative Director at Sunrise Movement, said: “As a movement for the Green New Deal, we’ve found that using our imagination and creative vision has been our fiercest political tool. The Green New Deal comes to life with stories– it offers a vision that doesn’t just dwell on what we have to lose to the climate crisis but expands upon everything we have to gain. In order to make the government actually serve its people, we must continue to promote prophetic stories like the Message from the Future series has so beautifully done, to expand the expectations of the future we deserve.”

Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective, citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, said: “In these historic times we as a people are rising up from all walks of life. Fueled by the strength from our ancestors and the revolutionaries that have come before, and hungry for radical change for the generations to come. In this moment we not only fight for justice in the streets and on our sacred lands, we are also building the communities of tomorrow. We are not tired, we are not scared we are coming from a place of power and strength. Our liberation is bound up with one another and the future we are fighting for has a role for everyone. We wipe the tears from our eyes for all the lives lost and we lift each other up recognizing that collective liberation is the path forward.”

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, said: “For decades, our leaders have lacked the imagination needed to build a better future, telling us there is no alternative to the corporate-capitalist model. Yet, as this film shows, the only way we can truly build back better in the post-covid world is through a radical departure from the failed policies which generated economic crisis, fuelled austerity and made this pandemic so much worse. This film is a rallying call for us all: progress will only be made when we present a bold and radical vision of a better future – with quality public services at its core.”

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, said: “Our planet is on fire and we cannot breathe. From the criminal arson ravaging the Amazon rainforest for profit to the wildfires raging on the West Coast of the United States due to the escalating climate chaos, our forests and communities are under attack. The smoke has turned our days into nights – in the middle of a pandemic that attacks our bodies’ respiratory system. These are not isolated incidents. They are symptoms of broken systems that perpetuate the destruction of the environment, place profit over people, and enable systemic racism. We are at a turning point for humanity and our future on this planet. A spark has been ignited and we must unite our calls and movements to Protect the Amazon, Defend Indigenous Rights and Demand Climate Justice.”

Zenei Cortez, RN, president of National Nurses United, which is one of the founding unions of GNU, said: “Global Nurses United (GNU) stand in solidarity with nurses and health care workers around the world who are fighting for their patients’ lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. This dangerous virus has exposed the racial health disparities in health care systems that have resulted in disproportionate COVID-19 deaths and infections for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. We need to work together in our communities and across borders to meet our immediate health needs and make the kind of transformative change required to prevent future crises and ensure that healthcare is a human right. We need to address racial injustice, which is intertwined with gender inequity, economic inequality, environmental racism, and other forms of oppression. None of us will be safe until all of us are safe.”

John Cavanagh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies, said: “This film offers a moving and straightforward message about how we can win the world we need. Through powerful and compelling imagery. ‘Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair’ shows how we can transform moments of urgent global crisis — from the pandemic to our warming climate to systemic injustice— into catalysts for demanding and achieving a restorative, progressive vision for the future. Charting a path from despair to repair, this film plants the seeds for growing a future-forward movement that can become an unstoppable force for good.”

About Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with Indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.

About The Leap

The Leap’s mission is to advance intersectional solutions to the burning crises of climate change, racism, and inequality. We develop projects that build solidarity and relationships between climate and other movements and support them with cultural work that brings the world we’re fighting to build to life.

About The Intercept

The Intercept is an award-winning news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Its in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on politics, war, surveillance, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media, and more. The Intercept gives its journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to expose corruption and injustice wherever they find it. Contact Danielle Sullivan

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Amazon Watch is building on more than 25 years of radical and effective solidarity with Indigenous peoples across the Amazon Basin.


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