Future children, take note. You can make a difference.
The latest documentary by Frank Bohm, Dear Future Children follows the lives of three young political activists who yearn for change at a time when protests are on the rise around the world. With a burden for democracy, Pepper fights for freedom in Hong Kong while Hilda joins the battle against the consequence of climate change in Uganda. Meanwhile, Rayen takes to the streets of Chile in order to speak out for social justice and reform. As each youth rises to the challenges before them, they become increasingly faced with dangers that threaten their mission and their personal safety.
In Children, Bohm has chosen wisely with his subjects. Each of them demonstrates a youthful enthusiasm for their respective causes and a willingness to do whatever it takes in order to make it happen. Though all three stories differ in their vision and context, Bohm does an excellent job of tying their stories together by focusing on their common passion for reform. This is not a story about one particular social movement but on a generation who want to see change and a healthier future.
Amongst the most humbling aspects of the film is its emphasis on the cost of having a ‘calling’. As these warriors for social justice set out in the battle to seemingly impossible task of changing the world, they inevitably find themselves in the midst of political turmoil. Though each situation differs, the cost for their work becomes higher than they’d imagined when they began their journeys.
For some, the cost comes in the form of political oppression. For others, the cost could be death.
In every case, Children highlights the incredible risks that these youth are willing to take in order to achieve their goals. There is a resiliency to them that keeps them moving forward, regardless of the challenges that they face. Regardless of their cause, Pepper, Rayen and Hilda all understand that their fights are bigger than they are. Without over-exaggerating, they truly are attempting to bring about change that will help the generations after them. As such, they are taking the long view in regards to the challenges they face and walk boldly forward when they are required.
At the same time, the film also allows us to see them in moments of vulnerability, suffering and even fear. While they may be willing to fight for what they believe in, they are also human. The loss of human life weighs on them. Fear of judgment and attacks eat away at their souls. In this way, Bohm has acquired some truly remarkable footage as well. Balancing scenes of dangerous protests with intimate moments where they mourn those they’ve lost, Children shows the innocence and mortality of its subjects. These are not invincible superheroes. Instead, they are merely young people who have dreams about their own future.
They are young people that want to live in a better world.
However, this is what makes them so remarkable. To these particular youth, they are willing to accept the call with courage, despite the potential dangers and cost. Seeing a future where the world is a better place, they understand that true cultural change requires them to accept risk, even if it scares them. They recognize that courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to keep going despite it. While they bear the weight of the emotional burdens that comes with these types of activism, their commitment to the end result is what drives them.
Their hope outweighs their anxiety.
It’s these youth that make Dear Future Children worth watching. Caught with Bohm’s amazing footage, their stories inspire. Although they face overwhelming odds and potentially devastating consequences, the incredible passion for the future that drives them is truly remarkable and sends an encouraging message to the next generation as well.
To hear our interview with director Frank Bohm, click here (YouTube) or here (audio)
Dear Future Children is available in theatres and on demand on Friday, October 29th, 2021.