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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - Edition No 911 
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BURNING SEASON, THE

SYNOPSIS:
A young Sydney entrepreneur, Dorjee Sun, travels the globe in pursuit of a carbon trading deal that could protect millions of hectares of pristine rainforest, save the orangutan from extinction - and make his fortune. Every year, there is a burning season in Indonesia. While Indonesian palm oil farmer Achmadi confronts the impact of his deliberately lit fires on climate change, Danish-born Lone Droscher-Nielsen rescues and cares for orangutans devastated by the fires. As the crisis escalates, Sun pursues a solution. His plan involves selling the carbon credits represented by large forest areas to big polluters in the West. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Dorjee relentlessly pursues his deal.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
From Sydney to Aceh to Borneo to San Francisco to Jambi to Washington to London to Bali for the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2007, this globe trotting doco is a handy insight into the tragic deforestation around Indonesia that is not only making the land ugly but pumping millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The subject is urgent, the solutions elusive. Young Sydney man Dorjee Sun (of Tibetan Chinese migrant parents) is the new order entrepreneur: he wants to save the forests (and their orang-utan inhabitants) by trading the carbon emissions into a profitable business.

Think what you like, my bet is that environmental solutions will come chiefly from commerce-driven plans; Sun is on the right track.

The bigger issue of climate change is told here through the particular of Dorjee Sun's grand plans. It's told clearly and with a sense of urgency befitting the subject matter, crisply narrated by Hugh Jackman. And it's not just about the big corporations; it's also very much about the small farmers whose livelihoods are st stake. Solving that problem is in fact the biggest hurdle - rather like the opium farmers of Afghanistan, they need to eat and feed their families. Finding a way to do that would go a long way to finding a solution (to both problems).

With the crucial climate change conference agenda, the film takes on the attributes of a thriller as Dorjee Sun lobbies and argues and hopes for forests to be included in the grand new plan, so that bankers like Merryl Lynch gain confidence in financing the scheme.

But it's not just ideas and ideals, projects and plans; the film shows us the characters involved - from Dorjee Sun to the regional Governors, and glimpses into several other players in the vast machinery of climate change.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BURNING SEASON, THE (PG)
(Aust, 2009)

CAST: Documentary featuring Dorjee Sun

NARRATION: Hugh Jackman

PRODUCER: Cathy Henkel, Jeff Canin

DIRECTOR: Cathy Henkel

SCRIPT: Cathy Henkel

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Leonard Retel Helmrich

EDITOR: Mary Jane St Vincent Welch

MUSIC: Nicolette Boaz

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Freshwater / Virgo / Gil Scrine Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 9, 2009







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