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Film highlights solar energy aims

Monday August 27, 2018 Written by Published in Environment
German Solarwind renewable energy fi lmmakers Dennis Dellschow and Erik Petzoldt: “We need renewable energy and there is no way around it.” 18082615 German Solarwind renewable energy fi lmmakers Dennis Dellschow and Erik Petzoldt: “We need renewable energy and there is no way around it.” 18082615

The Cook Islands policy aiming for 100 per cent renewable solar energy by 2020, is expected to gain worldwide attention once a 90-minute feature documentary called Solarwind is released.


The film is being made by German filmmakers and Climate Change and Pacific Studies graduates Dennis Dellschow and Eric Petzoldt.

Filmmaker and researcher Dellschow has travelled the world and made other films on contemporary issues such as identity, climate change and technological developments and colonialism.

Petzoldt is a film producer and ethnomusicologist and has studied and performed in Israel, Fiji, Japan, Morocco and Switzerland.

Both men co-produced the documentary Undercurrents of a Changing Climate: The 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam 2017, which has been screened in the US, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Germany. 

Solarwind aims to show how shared commitment and sustainable technology can change lives for the better.

The film will also include unpublished footage from 1999, showing the installation of the first solar panels on Penrhyn, Pukapuka and Manihiki. This footage came from another German film team led by Rolf Husmann and Markus Husgen.

“It was amazing how we came across these guys, and they had this footage and contacts for us to use,” says Dellschow.

“We were also lucky enough to be able to interview people from those islands while they were here for the recent festival.

“In the outer islands they have gone from noisy generators running for a few hours a day to being able to use power all day if they want. People on the outer islands say they have been stunned by the change.”

They say solar power has been successful on those islands and last week Atiu’s solar energy installation also opened. The pair were flown to Aitutaki over the weekend by Air Rarotonga, who are sponsors of the film, where they were also able to cover the installation of some off-grid solar panels there.

“We hope the movie will inspire and motivate individuals and groups from around the world to look at their own energy use and how they can save,” says Petzoldt.

They recognise that the scale of the project in Rarotonga is large and say that this is a very special place for it to happen.

“The people on Rarotonga have been extremely open and supportive to us and what we are doing.

“They have been happy to talk to us, and tell us their personal stories and the reasons why they are wanting to make this energy transition. They have been mindful and reflective with the situation they are in and for that we are extremely thankful,” says Dellschow.

He says that in Germany around 18 per cent of energy comes from wind power and it is a growing industry.

“There are positives and negatives with alternative sources of energy. With wind you have noise. The wind farms take up space and interfere with the view.

“But wind and power are still better than the alternatives such as coal and nuclear power, which are very destructive. These things have to stop. We need renewable energy and there is no way around it.”

The movie will show how wind and solar technology has and will change the lives of people in both communities. The two anticipate the film will be broadcast in cinema’s and television in Germany and also hope to return to the Cook Islands for a showing.

Petzoldt says they expect the film to take about a year to complete.

The pair will head back to Germany next week and say the experience of visiting the Cook Islands has been humbling.

“When making a movie like this you have to really listen to the people and capture their voices,” Petzoldt says.

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