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Just Back From: SXSW

Mar 21 2023 - Austin, TX, USA

Just Back From SXSW feature image.

By Hilary Sparrow


Head of Communications & Content, The Climate Pledge

The Climate Pledge’s upcoming documentary series, Future Forward, was featured at South by Southwest’s “A Party for the Planet” experience with EarthX Film.

Last week at SXSW—the annual part-festival, part-conference intersection of tech, film, music, education, and culture in Austin, TX—The Climate Pledge co-hosted a “Party for the Planet” featuring a sneak peek of our upcoming documentary series, Future Forward. Aligned with the mission of co-host EarthX Film, an environmental film movement, the event aimed to create an engaging experience that makes room for informational storytelling that inspires audiences to get outside, push boundaries, and protect the environment. Held at the Moody Theater, the afternoon included film clip screenings, a panel discussion, and live music from critically acclaimed composer and multi-instrumentalist, Kishi Bashi.

At the intimate event award-winning director Ondi Timoner, who has a rare achievement of having received the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice, shared a teaser of her Future Forward film “The Future of Flight.” The short film (5min, 30sec) tells the story of a groundbreaking collaboration between Climate Pledge signatories Neste and JetBlue working together to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry. The audience whistled and cheered when they watched the film trailer, signaling an appreciation of content that provides hope and a path forward when facing the climate crisis.

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Next, guests got a sneak peek at Winter’s Eve, directed by Max Lowe. In the short film, made in partnership with Polar Bears International, Kishi Bashi composes his new single inspired by the plight our planet faces under the threat of climate change. The screenings were followed by a panel discussion between Timoner, Lowe, Bashi, and polar bear scientist Alysa McCall around the intersection of climate storytelling and activism.

“It’s about bringing human stories to the forefront. I think that’s the only way out of this climate crisis, and the way we can help as filmmakers. It’s extremely important. It gives people the feeling that they can get involved, that there’s a career route. So many kids right now don’t know what they’re going to do with tech and all of the changes when they’re coming out of college, and this series alone will inspire them about so many potential jobs.”

—Ondi Timoner, director of The Future of Flight, of the importance of visual storytelling on climate change

The Future Forward series premieres on the Climate Pledge website and Amazon Prime April 4th. The six films highlight Climate Pledge signatories trailblazing paths to a cleaner future, demonstrating to other companies that a net-zero carbon journey is possible and crucial, and inspiring businesses from all sectors and regions to make their own climate commitments and join the Pledge. Learn more at