The trailer of the film, 1.5 Degrees of Peace, is a finalist at the 19th MY HERO International Film Festival.
1.5 Degrees of Peace Kasha Sequoia Slavner
1.5 Degrees of Peace, is a feature documentary directed by Award-winning Gen-Z filmmaker and global youth leader Kasha Sequoia Slavner.
In response to the multiple existential crises facing humanity and the planet, Kasha feels compelled to seek peace and climate justice and has been a photographer, entrepreneur, and social justice advocate for over a decade, as well as a writer, public speaker and contributor to several publications, including National Geographic Learning. She currently works full-time on her positive impact media organization, The Global Sunrise Project, which she founded at 15 years old.
1.5 Degrees of Peace follows its director and narrator Slavner, a socially anxious yet brave and determined peace and climate justice advocate. Like many of her fellow Gen-Z’s, she is empathetic, deeply concerned about the future, and feels the enormous weight of responsibility and urgency to help change the world.
Said Slavner, “Youth are searching for hope, as our rapidly changing climate and increasing global tensions are an ever-present threat, leaving us feeling uncertain of what the future holds for our planet and all living beings…I get overwhelmed with anxiety thinking about the threats facing humanity and our planet, but I can’t let that stop me from taking action.”
In the documentary, Slavner, explores stories of young people, especially those most affected by climate change and conflicts who are working to break down the silos between peace and climate justice movements. Their journeys to find positive solutions and hold leaders accountable, while challenging their own fears and anxieties, are told in order to motivate and inspire viewers to take action alongside them. Throughout her journey, Slavner discovers hopeful and inspiring stories of resilient young climate and peace activists working on the frontline of these pressing climate issues.
Throughout the film, Slavner also seeks the advice of more seasoned peace activists and elders to bridge the gaps between generations, forge alliances and learn from one another, while drawing parallels between climate movements of today, and the once large and lively peace and disarmament movements of the 60s and 70s.
Said Slavner, "Youth have the power to address the threats of climate change and global peace, but the responsibility shouldn't fall on our shoulders alone. We need to build intergenerational partnerships to create sustainable peace."
Watch the trailer here: /15-degrees-of-peace
MY HERO interviewed Kasha about her motivations for making 1.5 Degrees of Peace:
When did you first become aware of our climate crisis?
I grew up with my activist single mom and was raised with the values of respecting and caring for our planet. However, when I was in primary school, our science teacher showed us the film “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore. This was my first exposure to the idea of our climate changing, and our earth becoming uninhabitable. It seems fitting now, that as a filmmaker, this was the thing that opened my eyes to the climate crisis.
What made you decide to make the film 1.5 Degrees of Peace?
As a young person, it’s impossible to turn a blind eye to the intensifying climate crisis in the world, as it’s one of the defining issues of our time. This being said, I’ve grown up in peace and disarmament movements, where we frequently had conversations about the links between militarization, conflicts, and climate change. I noticed that in mainstream climate dialogues, the connections between these issues were not yet being brought to a broader public awareness.
So many of my peers in the climate movement live at the nexus of these issues, experiencing the impacts firsthand. It made me think of how unfair it is that we try to solve the climate crisis but miss an entire piece of the puzzle which accounts for a large part of the problem. I wanted to make this film to break down such seemingly complicated, often siloed linkages. Through a lens of personal stories, I wanted to connect audiences to humanity, and our planet.
Who do you hope to reach with your film?
Solving the climate crisis and striving to create peace is an intergenerational effort. Although it seems so broad to say, my film really is for people across generations. I want 1.5 Degrees of Peace to be approachable for folks who may not already be activists yet. I want to open people's hearts, open their minds, and educate them. I also really want this film to resonate with youth. These converging crises are heavy on our minds, and I want them to feel equipped with knowledge, inspiration, and tools to take action.
What or who inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I developed an interest in photography initially, as a form of creative expression, but then I started to use it as an outlet for my activism. Naturally, as I became more involved in advocacy, the stories of people who are working hard to create a more equitable world interested me. Filmmaking became the clearest path for me, as a way to share and uplift those stories.
Who is your hero?
I have many heroes; my mom being one of them. I’ve always been inspired by her sense of justice, her creative out-of-the-box thinking, and strong, outspoken nature. She’s taught me a lot.
What are your future plans?
To continue doing exactly as I am. I’d love to tell more stories, perhaps experimenting with shorter-form films so I can create more.
How did you discover MY HERO and how do you feel about being a finalist at the MY HERO film festival?
I originally discovered the festival through Film Freeway during my first film’s festival circuit. I love the inspiring educational platform of MY HERO as well so I am very honored to be a finalist at the festival this year with my new documentary. This community has been so supportive of my journey and growth as a filmmaker.
Kasha Kasha Slavner
The Global Sunrise Project
The Global Sunrise Project is a Canadian youth-led social enterprise that creates positive impact media and was founded by Slavner at the age of 14. Slavner was the youngest member to join Canada’s longest-standing and only feminist peace organization, The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW). Since then, she has accompanied the organization as a youth delegate on their annual trip down to New York to The Commission on The Status of Women at the United Nations. After attending her first UN conference and hearing incredible stories of grassroots organizations efforts to find positive and sustainable solutions to daunting obstacles faced within their communities, she was inspired to create The Global Sunrise Project to put her storytelling talents to use for social good and to motivate others to take action as well. With the help of her mom, Marla Slavner and through a series of crowdsource funding campaigns, in-kind sponsorships, and mentorships, the mother-daughter duo set out to East Africa and Southeast Asia in June of 2014 for 6 months to gather stories for The Global Sunrise Project. Since then, the project uses its storytelling platform to conduct educational outreach, exhibitions, documentary screenings and workshops to empower youth civic engagement and action for the SDG's.
The Sunrise Storyteller
Slavner’s first documentary The Sunrise Storyteller has screened at over 61 film festivals and 31 awards, including “Best Documentary” at Carmarthen Bay BAFTA Awards Qualifying Film Festival, “Rising Star filmmaker” at the Colorado International Activism Film Festival, “Spirit of Activism” at the Nevada Women’s Film Festival, the “Golden Jury Prize, Youth Visions” at the Social Justice Film Festival, Seattle, and the “Ron Kovic Peace Prize” and “Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award” at our very own MY HERO International Film Festival, Los Angeles.
Watch the trailer here: /15-degrees-of-peace
Kasha Kasha Slavner
The MY HERO International Film Festival
The MY HERO International Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing films of up to 10 minutes in length that celebrate the power of the human spirit. Categories include documentary, narrative, music video, experimental, and animation. There are Special Awards, with cash prizes, for films with themes of Peace, Activism, Women Transforming Media, Relationships, Immersive Storytelling, Youth Reporters, and Sing for Hope Music Videos.
Philanthropist and mentor Eva Haller is hosting the Virtual Awards Ceremony for The 19th Annual MY HERO International Film Festival on November 18, 2023, at 2 PM PST, as part of her weekly salon series. You can register your interest HERE.