Film: The End of an Era?


Ten exploration workers of the oil and gas industry talk to camera for the first time in their life. As  lovers of the Earth, experts of its rocks, and as members of the energy industry, they claim a place to  talk about their industry and its future. The story is narrated by the son of an oil geologist, who moved as an oil expat son from Brazil to Norway, showing the contrast between new generations of  environmental/climate concern and the practical and ethical challenges faced by industry professionals. Following the footsteps of Statoil, the Norwegian oil company operating in Brazil, the film tackles  questions like why to continue exploring for oil and gas today and the ethical dilemmas involved. In a  world where climate change concerns are a priority and where alternative renewable energies seem to  be advancing, this journey explores how the energy transition should take place, asking some of the  people who have been part of the damage if they are ready to embrace change.

The Film

About the Film

Film Details:

Project Type: Documentary
Runtime: 50 minutes
Completion Date: November 15 2019
Production Budget: 15,000 EUR
Country of Origin: UK
Countries Filmed in: Norway, Brazil, Spain, UK
Languages: Spanish, Portugal and English
Shooting Format: Digital
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Film Colour: Colour

Official Selection at Film Festivals and Conference screenings

September 2019. Visual Research Network Film Festival
December 2019. Social Summit for Climate.
October 2019. Energy and Environmental Justice Workshop at ICTA
March 2020. Liberation DocFest Bangladesh
April 2020. International Nature Film Festival Gödöllö
May 2020. Distribute 2020 SVA-SCA Film Festival
June 2020. First-Time Filmmaker Sessions
June 2020. The Lift-Off Sessions
September 2020. The Hague Global Film Festival (Finalist)
September 2020. CinemAmbiente – Environmental Film Festival
September 2020. POLLEN Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration Conference
October 2020. 12th International Unseen Film Festival Film Sozialak Bilbao
March 2021. Bienal Internacional de Cine Científico BICC Virtual (Finalis
March 2021. Capital Filmmakers Festival Madrid

About the Film Makers

Director’s Statement

Films like ‘Crude’ or ‘Virunga’ brought us close to the operations of the oil industry, however  always with secrecy and distance. In Brazil, I found the opposite reaction, attending public oil events  where months of geological prospection work get put to chance through a license bid system, led me to  big structural questions: How much money does the oil industry move, how much corruption is going  on and most importantly why does the industry keep looking for oil through increasingly risky  technology like fracking when the world is at need of an urgent energy transition to sustainable energy? 

Surprisingly, the geologists I met were willing and motivated to give me an answer. Confronting them  with the oil related corruption schemes in Brazil, and the different anti-extractivists social movements,  I was surprised by how the geologists accepted, normalized and claimed to learn from their past  mistakes. It all seemed a bit setup and I was having trouble telling people’s stories apart from their  companies’ mainstream discourses. However, as I traveled to Norway a country that is fully sustained  on hydropower, I saw how being an oil worker is part of a dark growth past that most Norwegians want to forget. In this new setting the geologists I met were much more open then to show their inner side, to demonstrate to the world, they are not the ‘evil ones’. This brought to light new questions to the  documentary project, like: what is the size of demand, what is the place of oil in the future scenarios,  and what are the moral and ethical positions of the workers who continue to look for oil in today’s  world?  

It was very important to maintain this funneling down of structural questions to the human emotional  responses that sustain them. For me this brought the visual quest to a crucial point, leveling the industry to the human eye, showing the contradictions of the individual, as well as questioning its  responsibilities towards the future energy outlook. The visual concept of the film is aimed to draw the  audience closer to the human drama of the problem scene by scene. Starting from the broad picture of  the industry to the role each one of us, with our own behaviour and position, has within the industry,  the film journey aims to bring consumers and producers closer to our own hypocrisies. The objective is  to give representation to an ethical dilemma present in every country in the world: What are we doing  to save our planet? And maybe, the most important question of all, what can we do as individuals to  help our society?

Directors’ Biography

Paloma and Benjamin are visual anthropologists working for the past seven years to bring participatory ethnographic filmmaking to the wider public. They have done so through the Big Tree Collective, a hub for young documentary filmmakers concerned with social issues with a lack of visual representation.  The collective has tackled the unrepresented in the Congolese music industry in ‘Amani Kila Siku’ (60′, 2014), the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of children’s play in ‘City Play’ (30′ 2015), the  reality of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro through the perspective of adolescents in ‘Nosso Morro’ (40′,  2016), and modern day taboos with cancer in the Middle East in ‘I am waiting for you’ (30′, 2017).  They are both organizers of the Visual Research Network and Paloma is a PhD candidate at the  University of Manchester. 

End of an Era – The Game