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Filipino environmental film ‘Theory of Light’ to hold world premiere in Dubai

By Kara Santos Published Mar 24, 2022 3:48 pm

Theory of Light, a pioneering environmental documentary film about the Filipino-born global grassroots solar lighting movement "Liter of Light" will have its World Premiere at the Opportunity Forum at the EXPO2020 in Dubai this Sunday, March 27.

With the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” EXPO2020 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the impact of a Philippine innovation in coming together despite the challenges, and building resilient communities with a diverse audience committed to Sustainability.

Part historical chronicle, part environmental lesson, Theory of Light shows the inspirational story behind "Liter of Light" and how it is taking action on climate change and inspiring a new generation of innovators from the Global South to come up with ideas that will change the world.

The Philippines is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. As part of the typhoon belt, the country expects 20 storms each year, but with the increase in global warming, 25 percent of these yearly storms are now classified as destructive.

Just last December a Category 5 storm—Super Typhoon Odette—tore through the Philippines, killing more than 400 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. It is only the latest in a series of super storms that pose an existential threat to the island nation’s heritage and way of life.

“Most media coverage to date focuses on the receiving effects of the climate crisis; as victims and stops there,” said Illac Diaz, founder and executive director of Liter of Light.

“Filipinos are admired for our resilience, but rarely do stories focus on the rising up, building back and innovative solutions that communities themselves have developed to take dramatic action. In fact, only one percent of all global expenses for filmmaking are spent on the environment and the growing climate crisis. With this documentary, we want to flip the script, and share stories of common humanity and hope that inspires others to make urgent and right decisions for the people and planet,” added Diaz.

Illac Diaz, founder and executive director of Liter of Light (center).

The documentary film is produced and distributed by TBA Studios. Known for their critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking films, TBA Studios cemented their status as one of the top production companies in the Philippines with its big budget epics and major box office hits such as Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral. 

"TBA Studios has always been committed to bringing to life stories that inspire, educate, and entertain. 'Theory of Light' is the first Filipino global environmental film with a local narrative about the harsh realities of climate change. We hope that this project will touch people's lives—the way it did ours—and continue to influence decision-makers around the world to create more sustainable and tangible solutions for all," shared TBA Studios CEO, E. A. Rocha.

The development of the film was supported by a grant from SM Prime Holdings, Inc. The project is an official partnership with the office of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Manila Observatory, the key research institution on climate change in the Philippines.

“I believe in the power of collaboration and partnerships to elevate global sustainability. For our children’s children, the present generation must come together and adapt to the challenges of climate change. ‘Theory of Light’ shows us that even the simplest folk can do their part and be an excellent example of resilience and disaster preparedness. We find shining beacons of light amid natural disasters,” said Hans Sy, chairman of the Executive Committee for SM Prime Holdings.

Filmmaker J.P. Gopez, whose works include documentaries for National Geographic and TBA Studios’ legacy docu-series Habambuhay: Remembering 100 Years of Philippine Cinema, helmed the project.

The film is also executive produced by Diaz, Sy, Rocha, and Fernando Ortigas with TBA’s executive vice president and general manager Daphne Chiu, and Film Development manager Margie Navarro co-producing.

Watch the trailer for the pioneering environmental documentary below.

Theory of Light will have its world premiere at the Opportunity Forum at the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, this Sunday, March 27, 2022.