When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. Abbott’s new documentary, The Magnitude of All Things, draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
For the people featured, climate change is not happening in the distant future: it is kicking down the front door. Battles waged, lamentations of loss and raw testimony coalesce into an extraordinary tapestry, woven together with raw emotion and staggering beauty that transform darkness into light, grief into action.
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The Magnitude of All Things links a story of personal grief for a sister lost to cancer to globally felt grief for our beleaguered planet. With stunning cinematography and skilful editing, it gives voice not just to scientists and activists but also to people in communities around the world who are suffering the full force of the climate crisis. Poetic and nuanced, the film conveys the magnitude of nature, the magnitude of damage already done to it, and the need to channel ecological grief into change. A Special Jury Mention goes to The Magnitude of All Things, directed by Jennifer Abbott.
— Maria Coffey
Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning filmmaker who has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years. She is best known as the co-director and editor of The Corporation, frequently described as the most successful documentary in Canadian history. She also co-directed, co-wrote and edited Us & Them; co-wrote and edited Sea Blind; executive produced and edited I Am; and made the short Brave New Minds, among other films. In 2020, Abbott will release two feature documentaries: The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (co-director and supervising editor) and The Magnitude of All Things (writer, director, editor, sound design and co-producer).