Rise of the Eco-Warriors, 2014, Cathy Henkel, Producer/Director

Cathy Henkel’s most recent film ‘Rise of the Eco-Warriors’ was a passion project that took her “Right outside the system.” The project follows a group of youths who spend 100 days in the jungles of Borneo to battle against the palm oil companies in a bid to confront deforestation and save the endangered orangutans.

Involving a prolonged struggle raising private investment and a huge Crowd-funding push, just getting the project up and running was a major effort. Making the film in Borneo with a group of activists in high-risk situations was the kind of challenge perhaps only Cathy could pull off with such persistence and heart.

“I’m an activist first and a film-maker second. I think film is an amazingly powerful tool to bring issues out in our society and to address them. I try to focus on solution focused activism in my films so that audiences come out of my films with a call to action that they have a way to engage with directly.” Cathy says.

A global movement inspiring Eco-Activism and networking activists across the planet has sprung up in the wake of the film. Cathy is somewhat modest about the enormous impact her film has had, but others are less circumspect in recognizing the way this documentary affects viewers who are not already activists, in exactly the way Henkel sets out to achieve.

John Carozza, Head of Development for ‘Signature Creative Industries’ says: “Henkel’s ‘Rise of the Eco-Warriors’ is a must see for not only the environmentally conscious and the students of the world, but for those who have never thought larger than their own backyard. Cathy Henkel’s call is for the ‘Eco-Warriors to assemble!’

Henkel sees her ‘Eco –Warriors as the true heroes of the story: “I was blown away by those people,” she reflects. “Watching the resilience and determination and what they went through and how hard it was for them to achieve something in these remote places with limited resources, knowledge and facilities and yet they kept powering on!”

‘Rise of the Eco-Warriors’ is a natural follow on from ‘The Burning Season,’ Cathy’s 2008 IF-award winning film. The clear message of the film is that it is better to do something than to sit in despair and not act to protect the environment.



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