Up in Smoke is a feature documentary about a technique that could save more carbon emissions annually than all global transport combined. It is a film about one of the biggest contributors to tropical deforestation and global warming: slash and burn agriculture.
The film follows British scientist Mike Hands, who has laboured for 25 years to perfect a sustainable farming technique to replace slash and burn farming in equatorial rainforests.
And he’s found it.
Using an agro-forestry system that replicates the natural regenerative powers of the rainforest, he has proven beyond doubt that it is possible to grow organic and virtually fertiliser free crops throughout the humid tropics. Otherwise known as alley-cropping, and using the species of the inga tree, it regenerates exhausted soils and could, in conjunction with food cropping, be used to reforest vast swathes of land worldwide, sequestering huge amounts of carbon.
This is a film about life and death struggles. About the struggle of Mike Hands to get people to understand his revolutionary technique. It’s about the life and death struggle of the impoverished farmers who can ill afford to take the risk of adopting a new farming method. It’s a film about our driving need to change what’s happening to the remaining rainforests of the planet, and about the forces that may prevent that change from happening.
We follow three principal characters: Mike Hands, and two Honduran farmers, Faustino and Aladino. One has adopted and embraced Mike’s technique, the other is waiting to be convinced and drive the change forward.
Filmed over 3 years in Honduras and the UK, the film presents a historic opportunity to address one of the most urgent issues of the present day. It parallels the farmer’s struggles with Mike Hands attempts to get heavyweight political backing, as he tries to get his technique onto the agenda at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit. But politics has its own way of interfering with the science.
We are already supported by the Channel 4 BritDoc Foundation, CBA-DFID, with broadcast pending on More4, SVT Sweden and NRK Norway. Other international broadcasters are all awaiting a copy of the full film. Which is why we are here. We are desperately trying to get the money to complete the fine cut, put it through post, build a dedicated website, and submit to global festivals and broadcasters alike. This is a film which could make a difference to hundreds of millions of farmers around the world, but also directly to all of us and the planet we live on. Please pass this message around, every person can make a difference.
For further information on the charity which has been set up to drive this forward, please visit www.ingafoundation.org