Event Report: Exclusive Screening of “The Promise” with Special Guest Alison Sudol
On November 21, the same day the G20 summit met to discuss global funding of biodiversity, MuggleNet sat down with Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein) and Nicola Davies (author of The Promise) to simply watch a film and chat – but it was so much more than that.
A heart can change.
The Promise, a BBC animated short film, is an adaptation of Davies’s children’s book of the same name. Starring Katie Leung (Cho Chang) in the lead role of the Thief, it centers around the issues of change and the environment, specifically our part as humans in this most important issue.
Directed by Chi Thai and focusing on the stunning illustrations of Laura Carlin, the film transports viewers into a gray, cold, and ugly world where every person is out for themselves, and the sprawling concrete world they live in only adds to their despair.
We watched as the Thief stole to live, not caring that those she stole from were just as poor as her, until one day, she made a promise that changed her trajectory and her environment. The juxtaposition from resignment to hope prevalent throughout the film was incredibly moving; it affected not only the protagonist but those around her as well.
It was a powerful message of hope and connection and how we as a society can each be better versions of ourselves.
The screening included a special introduction with Katie Leung, as well as a video clip called “Planting Acorns” starring Alison Sudol where Sudol learned how to successfully grow a forest. We learned that there is a Wood Wide Web in the forest that shows community makes us function better as individuals.
Following the screening, the audience was invited to join a Q&A with Alison Sudol and Nicola Davies, where we learned that both Sudol and Davies advocate cutting down on meat and finding sustainable solutions for growing your own produce. Both grew up at some point around nature, something that is apparent in their individual art forms, Davies with her books that speak across boundaries of language to connect children and adults together through learning about the importance of plants in urban spaces and Sudol with her music, which is heavily influenced by nature.
Sudol does quite a bit of activism herself and was introduced to Davies after she watched the rough cut of the film. She thought it was something special, and after meeting Davies, she was immediately on board. (I sensed a womance going on between these two, which is utterly delightful.) Sudol described the feeling of the state of affairs of the world before reading the book as a feeling of being stuck, heavy, and depressed. The Promise, to her, was a chance to do something that felt hopeful.
Davies and Sudol were warm and inviting. They are the kind of spirits that automatically make you want to be a better version of yourself not because they command it but because they are so inspiring and make you feel like you can be too.
… transform their hearts and through that, change the world…
One of the final questions asked was directed at Sudol: If she could ask the POTUS to mend one thing, what would that be? It would be the preservation of biodiversity and finding nature-based solutions for using biodiversity instead of systems such as factory farming.
Arm yourself with knowledge.
Overall, this was an eye-opening and motivating hour with two very inspiring women who helped me feel empowered to develop my own vision of what I want the world to look like. There are so many resources out there, including the film’s dedicated website, helping individuals like me do my bit in the environment, and I am going to start, as Alison Sudol suggested, by arming myself with knowledge now knowing that this battle isn’t hopeless since all hearts can change.
100% of the ticket profits went toward providing screening opportunities of The Promise to children in schools in nature-deprived communities.
Alison Sudol still goes and checks on her acorns. They are growing well.