Our work uses film to inspire public support for the solutions – whether we’re showing the beauty of bees, working with high-profile figures to secure attention for a new issue, or working with communities in West Africa as they protect marine turtles - film and photos are at the heart of what EJF does.
IT’S ALL A LIE
In 2006, in Ceara, north eastern Brazil, EJF provided training for local partners educating people and policymakers about the harmful effects of shrimp farming in coastal areas. Together we produced 'Mangroves and Shrimp Farming – a violation of the green’, which revealed the feelings of despair as forests and traditional coastal livelihoods were lost. The film was shown on Brazilian television and at public hearings into shrimp farming, greatly enhancing support for more regulation and understanding of the downside of shrimp farming.
In 2007, EJF returned to Brazil and worked with groups in what became a coalition, SOS Abrolhos, working to protect the beautiful coastal area threatened by plans for a shrimp farm, the size of Heathrow airport. The precious coastal area is visited by seasonal populations of humpback whales which go there to mate and give birth, and harbours some of Brazil's most important seabird colonies, extensive coral reefs, and threatened sea turtles. Alongside the coalition’s campaigns, the film helped to generate public support that led to the plans for the shrimp farm being shelved.
SLAVERY AT SEA
In January 2014, a team of EJF campaigners and filmmakers documented human rights abuses onboard fishing vessels in Thailand. The investigation was a follow up to our 2013 Sold to the Sea exposé of forced labour, physical abuse and murder aboard fishing vessels operating out of Thai ports. Little had improved for Thailand’s migrant workforce.
Video and photography were instrumental in allowing us to give a voice to the people who were suffering horrific abuse at the hands of fishing vessel operators and whose plight was ignored by the authorities. Thanks to the film, their testimony was heard by the US Department of State (DoS), which helped ensure that Thailand was penalised in the DoS 2014 Trafficking in Persons report, and secured action by the major players in the seafood industry. Sanctions imposed as a result of this will add to the growing international pressure on Thailand to end slavery in its fishing industry.
In 2004, EJF investigators worked undercover in Uzbekistan, one of the world’s most brutally repressive regimes. The nature of the regime meant that EJF had to meet human rights activists, NGOs and independent journalists in secret; filming interviews openly was extremely difficult – EJF’s team were followed and harassed by the authorities as we tried to document and expose abuses linked to cotton production in Uzbekistan.
The result was a multi-award winning campaign film, White Gold, which showed, for the first time, the brutal reality and environmental ruin caused by cotton production to supply international markets, including those in Europe. The film influenced policy makers and industry alike, and led to a major industry players agreeing to ban Uzbek cotton from their supply chains. The international pressure inspired by EJF’s film and BBC Newsnight’s subsequent coverage of the issue led to the Uzbek Government announcing a National Action Plan to combat child labour, and its signing of two ILO Conventions on forced and child labour. The response to the international campaign, from a Government which rarely reacted to any criticism, was unprecedented.
In 2004, EJF provided equipment and training to Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and together we undertook a covert investigation into bear farms, where bears are kept in appalling, cramped and inhumane conditions in tiny cages. Each day the bears are physically restrained as they undergo a painful and stressful procedure to extract their bile, which is used in traditional medicine.
Our powerful footage helped gain the attention of top Vietnamese pop star, My Linh, who offered to film a short public message, urging people not to consume bear parts or bile. The film, which featured footage filmed by the newly-trained ENV staff, was aired on more than 40 regional television channels throughout the country and significantly raised awareness and support for the campaign to end the bear trade. From 2006-2009, we conducted further video and media training for ENV with the help of funding from the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
The importance of image-based evidence with these kinds of investigation cannot be overstated. It is invaluable as a means by which to document what is happening in real time, to record witness and victim testimony and communicate the findings to policy makers and the wider public. Using film in this way we are able to document irrefutable evidence and share it with the media, the public and the influencers who can make real changes to the lives of vulnerable workers and communities, and to the wildlife and environment that they live alongside.
Our films have received awards including the Environmental Activist & Social Justice award at the Earth Vision Environmental Film Festival
EJF films have been screened on multiple occasions, including at high-level meetings at the European Parliament and Commission, UK Houses of Parliament, US Department of State, Interpol conference on fisheries crime; to industry groups including international seafood and cotton buyer events and at film festivals, in the media, at NGO events and public educational programmes across the globe.
To enquire about using EJF photographs or film footage, please email or call +44 207 239 3310.