My Super Sea Wall

    • Gina Abatemarco
    • United States, Germany
    • 2009
    • 12 min
    • Best of Fests
    In 2008, the Dutch documentarian Jan Louter made The Last Days of Shishmaref, about a village on an island in Alaska that has been rendered uninhabitable because of erosion. My Super Sea Wall is a short documentary that focuses on a similar subject, the tiny island of Kivalina, Alaska, which is likewise in danger of being engulfed by the sea. In recent years, climate change has led to storms so powerful that the unprotected coast is eroding and the 377 inhabitants, all of them Inupiat, are starting to get wet feet. In 2004, they suffered the worst storm in human memory. The rescue helicopters had to fly 300 miles to get there and were too late for some. In 2007, an evacuation also set alarm bells ringing. Ever since, inhabitants have been leading an uneasy existence, as it becomes clear in the interviews and town meetings intended to keep people informed about future plans. The towering -- and costly -- wall of sandbags that has been built to protect the island will not hold out much longer. The only other solution is compulsory rehousing, but this is not something most locals want to hear. They have no intention of exchanging their island and the ocean that has always provided their ancestors with food for life in the city. Nonetheless, they will probably go down in history as the first climate-change refugees.


    • 12 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: English
    • Subtitles in: English
    Gina Abatemarco
    Anna Wendt for Anna Wendt Filmproduktion GmbH
    Jay Keitel
    David Rivello
    Emily Colon

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