New film about the fight to protect Europe's last wild rivers from proposed hydropower dams
Updated: Oct 5
INHERIT and MedINA with the Moving Image Archive to host a screening of Patagonia’s Blue Heart in Glasgow
Blue Heart – the latest documentary film from Patagonia – depicts the fight to protect Europe’s last wild rivers. It seeks to raise international awareness about a potential environmental disaster.
The film will be screened at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 6th February 2019 (doors open at 17:00).
The Balkan Peninsula between Slovenia and Albania is home to the last wild rivers in Europe, but more than 3,000 proposed hydropower projects threaten to destroy the culture and ecology of this forgotten region. If fierce local opposition fails, 20,000 kilometers of pristine sparkling creeks, raging tributaries and swift, braided currents will be forever damaged by thousands of dams and diversions—at a time when dams are being decommissioned throughout much of the developed world.
Local activists and European NGOs such as RiverWatch are fighting against government corruption and foreign investment. Blue Heart documents the battle to protect Albania’s Vjosa River, the largest undammed river in Europe; the effort to save the endangered Balkan Lynx in Macedonia; and the months-long fight by women of Kruščica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are protesting day and night to save their community’s only source of drinking water.
According to Ryan Gellert, Patagonia General Manager (Europe, Middle East and Africa):
“With the deluge of proposed hydropower dams and diversions in the Balkan Peninsula we are looking at what could be irreversible environmental destruction, but there is very little awareness of this issue in Europe or globally.”
“We hope that this film will bring international attention to the local communities fighting to protect the free-flowing rivers they rely on and educate people about why hydropower dams are an outdated, dirty technology.”
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, Inc. has said:
“I believe this wild place requires and deserves protection. To destroy it, especially for an outmoded and expensive technology, is a waste of money and a moral travesty.”
The film was created by Patagonia in partnership with NGOs from across the Balkan region and throughout Europe and directed by Britton Caillouette. It is a powerful moment in the wider Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign. In the film and throughout the campaign, Patagonia asks people to act now and sign an online petition to put pressure on foreign developers and banks, who are funding dam-building projects, including within protected areas.
Blue Heart launched globally on 28 April 2018. The world premiere of the film was held at Idbar Dam, Konjic, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Screenings are now taking place across the Balkan Peninsula and in major cities worldwide.
INHERIT, MedINA and The Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland are co-hosting a screening of Blue Heart at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 6th February. It will be screened alongside Power For the Highlands (1943), a historical film depicting attitudes to hydro power in the different circumstances of mid-twentieth century Scotland. The screenings will be followed by a panel and audience discussion of the Blue Heart film and the situation in the Balkans.
A trailer for the film can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LadlBg9bmfg
Tickets for the 6th February, Kelvin Hall screening event are free and can be reserved online:
Notes for editors
Blue Heart Screening
Wednesday, 6th February 2019
Doors open at 17:00
Moving Image Archive
Lecture Theatre & Screening Room
Kelvin Hall, 1445 Argyle Street
Glasgow, G3 8AW
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corp, Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing $90 million to date in grants and in-kind donations.
About the director
Britton Caillouette has been making films in the outdoors for over a decade. A student of history with a keen eye for photography and a love for challenging production situations, he brings a unique style of visual storytelling and humanity to his stories. Britton directed his first documentary in war-torn West Africa while an undergraduate at Stanford University and has won awards for his work in both film and advertising including a Cannes Lion.
INHERIT – the Institute for Heritage and Sustainable Human Development – seeks to enable people to use their heritage to transform their lives. Working across Europe and in the Middle East, the Institute conducts research, collaborates at a practical level with communities and other partners, and advocates positive change. INHERIT’s aim is to help people to conserve and use their heritage for the purposes of sustainable development, and to make their distinctive voices heard concerning their cultures and ways of life, their communities and their places. Based in Glasgow, INHERIT is part of a larger heritage charity, the York Archaeological Trust.
The Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) has been working at the interface of nature and culture since 2003. Its mission is to contribute to a harmonious relationship between Nature and Anthropos (Humankind), particularly in the Mediterranean Region, through research, action and public awareness raising.
About the Moving Image Archive
The Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland is Scotland's national moving image collection, preserving over 100 years of history on film.