Matthieu Rytz, Canada
Imagine a string of atolls and an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where palm trees line white sandy beaches lapped by shimmering turquois water. Now imagine the ocean washing it away. This is not fiction, but a real crisis. Situated in all four hemispheres and just three meters above sea level, Kiribati is a country without land high enough to survive the effects of global warming, with parts of the country already melting into the Pacific. Director Matthieu Rytz follows President Anote Tong as he travels the world advocating for a new home for over 100,000 Kiribati. Tong seeks to raise money to buy land beginning with a small purchase made in New Zealand. Some special visas are available for people who want to move to New Zealand and work as laborers. Rytz highlights the difficulties facing the Kiribati citizens by featuring Sermany Tiare and her search for security for her large family. Families face separation as those who are fit to work leave behind aging parents and less adventurous friends. Rytz captures the beauty and simplicity of Kiribati and contrasts it with city life in Auckland. The challenge faced by all Kiribati includes preserving their culture and traditions in the face of losing their homeland. Rather than using statistics, graphs or scientific models of what global warming will bring, Rytz provides a sobering glimpse into the real life effects of climate change playing out in real time. That time is now.