Cyril Dion has been an environmental activist, writer, director, poet since he was 17 years old. He was Caesarized in 2016 with Mélanie Laurent for their film Tomorrow, in the category of best documentary. It attracted more than a million viewers in France, which is very rare for a documentary.
On April 27, the DVD was released with his youngest, Animals, where he gives voice to the new generation.
france info: I Animals, the new generation is represented by two sixteen-year-olds, Bella and Vipulan. They are incredible. They have a power that commands respect.
Cyril Dion: Me, I was really impressed with them. I chose them. Vipulan, I met him during a climate strike in Paris, Bella, I found her on the internet. And it was a bit of a gamble because I obviously do not know them in depth. We took them on this great journey, which lasted almost six months. For each week of footage that passed, we, along with my team, said to ourselves, “wow! Not only were we not mistaken, but they are even more incredible than we had imagined in terms of maturity, relevance, humor“. They’re extremely touching many times. Yes, I’m a fan.
Through this film, we live their questions to teenagers, their gazes also to the future, which seems somewhat blocked. We are more aware of how difficult it is for this generation.
That’s one of the reasons I wanted to make the film is that when I spent time with them, especially during the strikes and marches for the climate, I saw that they had the feeling that there was no future. They were sixteen at the time. And I said to myself: but it is impossible to grow. I wanted to take them on a journey that would allow them to discover other things and find a horizon. And that was sort of what happened.
“After this trip, Bella and Vipulan see a possible trajectory for them in this world today, even though things are going relatively badly, and climate change and the loss of biodiversity are extraordinarily worrying issues.”
Throughout this documentary, you will also remember the importance of these species. That with an ant, a wolf, an elephant. Without them, biodiversity cannot exist, it cannot last as long as we cannot sustain ourselves.
It was crazy because we took our ignorance, and especially me, goal on this journey. We were in Kenya with this wonderful biologist who showed Bella and Vipulan, yes, the elephants’ influence on landscapes by telling them that they are landscape architects, they are sculpting landscapes. He told them that there are elephants, but there are also much smaller creatures that we are not aware of and that are just as important.
And he explains to them that the ants are the species that will look for all the little seeds, all the waste, eventually plants, and which then send them out into the landscape. And that it is thanks to all these ants that there is all the vegetation that we see there on the savannah. It makes you think, because for us ants, it’s just an annoying thing in the kitchen, we’re going to set a trap to get rid of it, but it shows how separated we are from it.
We realize that the solution is actually nowhere else but on Earth, and that being an activist means condemning things, showing them, but also planning an aftermath.
Complete. I wanted Bella and Vipulan to have a strategy, a perspective. If there are significant amounts of plastic in the oceans, it is because industrialists today produce them. The only way to stop this on top of the problem is not to sort your waste, it’s by passing laws banning disposable plastic, which bans companies from overpacking permanently. So this interaction, or more precisely, this interplay between what we can do and structural actions the size of a state or a superstate like Europe: that’s also what we wanted to show through this film.
It has been discovered that 65 million animals are slaughtered every year in slaughterhouses. And one of Bella’s solutions, moreover, is to say: but if it were glazed, there would be many more vegans.
That’s what seems obvious to him, and that’s what happened to the team. They did not all become vegetarians as a result, but we set off to shoot in the morning in an intensive rabbit farm. I had been there a little while scouting so I could see how hard it was for the smell, for the noise, for what one can see there. We had to order meals in advance and I said to them: do not order meat, you can not eat it. So some ordered it anyway, and when they came back at noon, they went back to the people at the hotel and said, “Is it possible to get something vegetarian?”
That’s not to say you’ll never eat meat again, but it’s actually unbearable, that kind of condition. For animals, but it’s also unbearable for humans, that’s what we show in the film. The breeder himself is stuck in a system where he earns € 350 a month, he is in a kind of despair and he has terrible working conditions. And again it bred. A slaughterhouse is even infinitely worse.
We learn a lot about animals, species, the planet, the water, the world around us and we learn more about humans. Are you positive?
“People want to find solutions. They are even ready to make a big effort if we involve them and if we give them the opportunity.”
I do not know if I can say that I am positive, because we can clearly see that the situation is getting worse and worse. The only thing I know is that people are really capable of the worst and the best at the same time. There are bastards, it exists, but it is a very small minority. Most people are of good will, they want to do well. The question is how do we give them the context that allows them to do well.