A FILM BY JOSH FOX
There’s no normal anymore. Climate change is here.
Every day another place is destroyed.
Floods, fires, droughts, mudslides. Famine, war, conflict. Every day more and more people are displaced by climate change. People have to make the painful decision to leave their homes and seek a place of refuge.
The United Nations predicts that at least 1.2 billion people will be displaced by climate change by 2050. Where are all these people going to go?
Governments across the world are building walls, but a wall is just a metaphor. A wall turned on its side can be a table.
What if instead of keeping people out, we welcomed them?
What if instead of building walls, we built longer tables?
For six years, Josh Fox has been tracking the story of climate refugees across the U.S. to the Caribbean to South America to Asia to Europe, for a documentary film called THE WELCOME TABLE.
In Fall 2023, we are building a long table. We are inviting displaced people from around the world to New Orleans to sit and celebrate with each other, to tell their stories, and to heal. The Welcome Table will be a testament to mutual aid, community, welcoming. The work we need to do in this climate-changed world.
A gathering like none that has ever happened on the face of the planet. If we are going to survive the coming climate emergency we have to work together.
We have to knock down the walls and build longer tables.
When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher wall.
We are facing the largest migration in human history. Josh Fox goes to the frontlines of displacement - Paradise, CA, Boulder, CO, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Caribbean - and meets people faced with the impossible decision to flee their homes. The current global migration policy is based on borders, walls, incarceration, dehumanization and fear. What is possible, if instead, we welcome each other? In the final scene, like a great Shakespearean comedy, lovers unite at the table, elders share wisdom and predictions for our shared future. There is much struggle and strife, but we unite in celebration and sincere hope for a caring future amidst the painful reality of climate displacement. Music, food, and conversation overflow from the table. We celebrate the power of human connection, of mutual aid, of love. The table itself is a metaphor for what is possible if we open our physical and metaphysical borders to each other.
The UN estimates that atleast 1.2 billion people will be displaced by climate change by 2050. Everyone will be affected, but communities with fewer resources and less responsibility for the crisis are being hit worse.
Unprecedented fires and floods are destroying communities and killing hundreds in a matter of hours. Slow changes in the environment, such as ocean acidification, desertification and coastal erosion, loss of biodiversity, rain pattern shifts, and air pollution are directly impacting people’s livelihoods and their capacity to survive in their places of origin.
Borders around the world are being stressed due to an already rising tide of people seeking refuge. The current global migration policy is rooted in violence, incarceration, dehumanization, xenophobia, scarcity and fear. We are seeing walls being built around the world.
THE WELCOME TABLE brings the audience on a journey, meeting US citizens who have been displaced, and paralleling them with families around the world who are fleeing the effects of climate change. We visit borders and see brutal policies in action. Through these stories, we build empathy and outrage for the current situation, and in the wake of destruction, we see the power of communities to care for each other - the inspiring acts of bravery and mutual aid within communities and throughout diasporas offer a map for our survival.
Throughout the film artists, musicians, policymakers, activists, and all of the people in the film displaced by climate change together at a giant table, a huge celebration, to connect across cultures and experiences, to tell stories, to share food, to heal.
We celebrate the power of human connection. This action, the welcome table itself, might serve as our generation’s unifying media event around our climate displacement crisis. The table is a metaphor, laden with critical ideas about mutual aid, community, and policy changes necessary to help us face this migration crisis with dignity and care.
We are inviting climate displaced people from around the world to New Orleans to sit and celebrate with each other, to tell their stories, and heal. The table is a testament to mutual aid, the work we need to do as the effects of climate change become increasingly dire.
We are going to have to build bigger tables all over the world, not longer walls. The walls are built by hatred, racism, greed, competition, nationalism, xenophobia, greed, colonialism and fear. What knocks the walls down is love and mutual aid, community, support understanding, art, music and love.
We are modeling a better future where we love our differences rather than hate them. What makes us different is what makes the world beautiful.
And this table is just the first. As the impact campaign for this film, we will build tables around the world at contested borders, sanctuary cities, places of welcome, and sites of difference to model a different way forward.
Josh Fox is best known as Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning writer/director of Gasland Parts I and II (HBO), Josh Fox is internationally recognized as a spokesperson and leader on issues of fracking and extreme energy development. He is the winner of three Environmental Media Association awards for Best Documentary, including for How To Let Go Of The World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, toured the world theatrically and was released on HBO. In 2017, he produced, co-directed, and co-wrote Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock (Netflix), and in 2018 co-founded the Awake Media Fellowship for indigenous youth. In 2018, Fox created The Truth Has Changed, a solo performance about misinformation, propaganda, and psycho-graphic targeting aimed at manipulating our current media and political ecosystem, which toured to over 25 cities in the US and Europe and spawned a book and feature film adaptation. He is the host of Staying Home With Josh Fox, a nightly interview program which premiered on TYT Network in 2020 garnering over 250,000 nightly views. He has just completed his fifth narrative feature, The Edge of Nature, which will be released in 2023 and tour as a live performance film.
Gabrielle Alicino is a development strategist and fundraiser, working across non-profit sectors from healthcare to housing to education, with a focus on social justice.
Gabrielle currently leads development and communication for International WOW Company, a film, theater, and art company that produces socially relevant projects that make real impact. International WOW is a leading climate change documentary production company, with two forthcoming feature-length films that Gabrielle is producing, THE WELCOME TABLE (HBO) and THE EDGE OF NATURE.
Gabrielle was awarded the Fox Leadership Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania for non-profit leadership, focused in New Orleans for long-term recovery after Hurricane Katrina. She received a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Molly Gandour is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker raised in Indiana and based in Brooklyn. Her documentary Peanut Gallery played Slamdance Film Festival and was distributed by STARZ. She produced the Oscar-nominated HBO documentary Gasland (dir. Josh Fox), the AFI Fest Shorts Grand Jury Prize winning "Buffalo Juggalos" (dir. Scott Cummings), and script supervised the Criterion film It Felt Like Love (dir. Eliza Hittman). Her short films have played New York Shorts IFF, Prague IFF, Sarasota, and more. She attended Berlinale Talent Campus, holds a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and an MFA in Filmmaking from NYU Tisch.
Amali (she/her) has extensive global experience in refugee protection, refugee resettlement and in forced migration and displacement contexts, having worked globally for numerous NGOs, the UN Refugee Agency and the US Refugee Admissions Program. Years of interviewing refugees fleeing conflict afforded her the chance to hear their stories of also fleeing climate change. Through this, Climate Refugees was born. She has conducted country and regional case studies and research in climate-induced displacement contexts, including in urban and camp settings. Her research on climate, conflict and displacement in the Lake Chad Basin in Africa’s Sahel was presented as evidence of loss and damage at COP 26.
Matthew Sanchez has been involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process, from shooting to editing. For 6 years, he worked as an editor and cinematographer at a non-profit for environmental awareness. While lensing over 25 short films, his varied work includes commercials for VH1, documenting the NYC underground music scene, Wired Magazine, and College Humor. Matt’s film HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRIS MALDEN premiered at CINEVEGAS film festival. He has also earned 4 Telly awards and cut a program for PBS that was nominated for 2 Emmy awards. He was editor, cinematographer and co-creator of GASLAND and GASLAND, Part II.