Produced by Propagate Content and Amazon Studios, and executive produced by Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films, the film marks Amazon’s first feature-length Australian documentary commission. In addition to directing, Orner produces Jonathan Schaerf, with Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens as executive producers.
Burning was selected as the winner by a jury of filmmakers and climate advocates: school student and Strike4Climate activist Natasha Abhayawickrama; documentary filmmaker Bettina Dalton; deputy-vice chancellor research office and Climate Council Member professor Leslie Hughes; actress and philanthropist Amanda Maple-Brown, and documentary filmmaker Tom Zubrycki.
“This compelling documentary serves as a reminder of the devastating bushfires that ravaged Australia in 2019-20,” said the jury in a joint statement.
“Burning is an urgent and angry call to action. It probes and investigates the fires from the perspective of victims, fire-fighters, activists and scientists, as well as the lack of political will to address climate change.”
Other films shortlisted include two other Aussie titles, Justin Krook and Luke Mazzaferro’s A Fire Inside, which also looks back at the 2019/20 bushfire season and Jen Peedom and Joseph Nizeti’s River.
Others to compete include the The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, The Magnitude of All Things, Taming the Garden, From the Wild Sea and How to Kill a Cloud.
“I’m thrilled to be back at Sydney Film Festival for the Australian premiere of Burning,” said Orner.
“It’s such an honour to receive this award and be considered amongst so many incredible films and by such an esteemed jury. I hope the film encourages and inspires audiences to act now and call governments to action immediately on climate change.”
Blanchett added: “Alongside my partners at Dirty Films, I applaud the Sydney Film Festival for not only honouring Eva’s powerful work on this important subject matter, but for also acknowledging the power of documentaries – in this instance to inspire global audiences to engage in positive action against the ongoing threats of climate change so that we can ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”
Sydney Film Festival will run in-person November 3-14.
SUSTAINABLE FUTURE AWARD NOMINEES • A Fire Inside, Grammy-nominated Australian filmmakers Justin Krook’s and Luke (Red Hill) Mazzaferro’s documentary, reflects on the selfless acts of everyday Aussies that inspired the nation during the 2019-20 bushfires. • From the Wild Sea by Danish director Robin Petré. The documentary, which premiered in the 2021 Berlinale, tells the story of the volunteers working tirelessly to rescue Europe’s marine life from pollution and violent weather fuelled by climate change. • How to Kill a Cloud screens in SFF program strand, Europe! Voices of Women In Film. The film from director Tuija Halttunen follows a Finnish scientist who takes on a multimillion-dollar project to make rain in the desert, but soon becomes caught in an ethical dilemma between research, finance and the environment. • The Magnitude of All Things, from director Jennifer Abbott looks at the frontlines of climate change and featuring interviews with Greta Thunberg and other vital activists. • River is from the Australian creative team behind Mountain, Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti. A cinematic love-letter to the world’s waterways, narrated by Willem Dafoe, the film features footage from 39 countries, matched by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s score that includes music by Bach, Jonny Greenwood and Radiohead, and First Nations musician William Barton. • The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, tells the life story of eco-activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, the rock star of the organic food movement, tracing Shiva’s story from the Himalayan forests to the Sydney Peace Prize, childhood to activism, a difficult marriage and to the world stage. • Taming the Garden, from Georgian director Salomé Jashi tells a shocking, surreal environmental tale that follows the journey of ancient trees uprooted from their home in a Georgian coastal community by a wealthy, anonymous man. This film was selected for Sundance, New Directors/New Films, CPH:DOX and Berlinale this year.