By: Matt Viser | December 14, 2018 10:01:56We often think of climate change as a global problem that affects all of us, but it is a particular issue in the U.S., where it has been increasingly impacting communities of color, including the LGBTQ community.
We sat down with “Spotlight” director and writer-producer Daniel Henshall to discuss the film’s findings, including how climate change affects the lives of LGBTQ people and the impact of the drought and wildfires that have plagued the state in recent months.
Henshang said that while he personally was surprised to hear the stories of the LGBTQ people affected by climate change, the film also brought to light how climate and other environmental issues have affected marginalized communities of Color.
We spoke to Daniel Hinshall about the film “Spotlit” on the cover of The Wall St. Journal.
What was it like to work on this film and to work with your own community, particularly when you first got the opportunity?
I grew up in New York City, so I grew up with the climate crisis in the context of climate activism.
I knew the challenges of climate, I knew that we were in the middle of the worst drought in U.N. history.
We had a drought.
We lost a lot of crops.
We didn’t have the infrastructure to cope with it.
I remember watching documentaries and seeing stories of people living in houses without running water, people who were in prison, people with no food, people without shelter.
It just seemed like we were the only ones that had this.
I had to do the research on it, I had the tools, and I had a lot to learn.
How did you come up with this idea to tell these stories?
Theres been a lot written about climate change and climate justice, and how climate affects us, and weve been very aware of the impact on the LGBTQ and people of color communities.
Weve had a whole generation of LGBTQ kids in the past two decades, and so it was just really easy to imagine what was going to happen when the climate changed.
But how do you come across the communities you are filming?
It was really hard to find out who we were filming, because it was like, who’s going to do these interviews?
We had to work really hard, but we knew we were working with real people.
We knew they were hurting, they were struggling, and that they had to get up and get going and move forward.
Did you find any resistance from your own family?
We were able to get through it.
There was some resistance from my parents.
We weren’t in denial.
We felt like, We can’t let this be an excuse for the people who are in the spotlight to not be as good at their job.
It wasn’t that we didnt know, we didnt feel it, but what weve learned is that it doesnt make you more powerful or better at your job, or less vulnerable.
What did it feel like when you were shooting in the Bay Area, and you found out there was a drought there?
It felt like youre actually on the ground in the drought.
Youve been through drought before.
It felt really different.
There were a lot more fires in the area, so it felt like it was a different time.
But there was so much to look forward to.
I think that’s why the drought affected us so much more than just the drought in New Mexico.
When you get to know the people in these communities, the impact is so much greater than just what happens in the news.
Did it affect your work in any way?
Yeah, I think weve come a long way in the last two or three years, especially in the way we’ve been dealing with this climate crisis.
Ive had conversations with so many of the community leaders who are helping us in this fight.
We’ve had conversations about how do we go forward and how do they go forward, and it was such a relief to have a conversation with these people who actually have been there, and who have had to go through this crisis and who are still struggling.
Theres a sense that weve all been through it and have been through this with different people.
I feel like it really brought us closer together, as a community.
What did you find most challenging about filming in the state of New Mexico?
Weve been in the Southern Plains, and as far as climate is concerned, its always changing, and its always shifting.
But its always a constant.
We always have the same problem: water, we always have to deal with it, and the water is always coming in, and thats the problem with all the drought that we have, but the water always comes in.
We have to figure out how to make sure that we dont have this constant flow of water.
We dont have the ability to maintain our current water supplies,