Greg Hemmings is the founder and CEO of Hemmings House, a film and television production company based in Saint John.
My friend, filmmaker Craig Norris of VideoBand wrote, directed, shot and edited a gem of a film in partnership with Community Forests International (CFI), a New Brunswick and Tanzanian NGO that fights climate change by empowering rural communities to thrive with nature. The film is called Kokota: The Islet of Hope.
Kakota tells the story of a Tanzanian man named Mbarouk and his quest to help Kokota, a small, drought-ridden island off the east coast of Africa dealing with the direct impacts of climate change. The story features an unlikely partnership between Mbarouk and then 21-year old New Brunswick tree planter, Jeff Schnurr, as they catalyze an island-wide transformation to reforest the island to regenerate groundwater reserves transforming the lives of the islanders.
This inspiring documentary introduces viewers to the resilient people living on the front lines of climate change and explores how these unlikely heroes have innovatively adapted to a changing climate while restoring their islands forests.
Although I have known the founders of Community Forests International before this film, it really helped me understand who they really were, what they do, and how important their work is, not only in Tanzania but also right here in New Brunswick. CFI purchases woodlots that would otherwise be clear cut. When the land is in their hands, they sustainably manage the forest in ways that wood can still be carefully harvested, and regenerated at the same time.
The film recently caught the attention of National Geographic, and they requested that CFI produce a short version of the film, which is where Hemmings House came in. We worked with our producers and with Craig Norris to create a shorter version that would have a similar impact as the longer version, but in a way that would fit National Geographic’s platform.
Hemmings House, CFI partner to protect N.B. forests
As a result of getting to learn more about CFI’s regenerative forest management practices and about what they do internationally, Hemmings House has partnered with them to offset our carbon production.
Our film crews fly in planes and drive vehicles all of the time to make films. The air travel is our company’s largest carbon producer. To offset this, Hemmings House is investing thousands of dollars to help CFI purchase New Brunswick forests to protect and sustainably manage the wood harvest.
The trees that are managed in our plots absorb the equal amount of carbon that our company produces yearly. Our investment helps save three acres per year of our endangered Acadian Forest.
If Craig didn’t make this film with CFI, Hemmings House would not have been inspired to offset our carbon. To me, that is a measurable impact.
You can watch the film on National Geographic’s YouTube channel here: