From Devil’s Breath film delivers powerful message | Climate action

An image still from the film showing a firefighter amidst the devastated land. Photo by Lynsey Addario

The newly released, heart-rending documentary From Devil’s Breath portrays the devastating 2017 wildfires in Pedrógão Grande, Portugal, through the eyes of two remarkable narratives. 

Focusing on the toll the rampaging fires have had on the local community and portraying their strength in finding an inspiring path forward, the film “tells the unlikely first-person story of two survivors that come crashing together”. 

Over an impactful 40 minutes, From Devil’s Breath is an emotional depiction of an event that many people are fighting to ensure never happens again. The important story was directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, both of whom have witnessed the impact of climate change on our planet and feel strongly about inspiring action against its impending force. 

The official trailer for the film directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and produced by Harri Grace, Chloe Leland, and Leonardo DiCaprio

Filmed in early 2020, the documentary includes compelling testimonials of survivors and those who combated the fire. It tells the stories of Nadia Piázza, who lost her son in the blaze and became the president of the Association of the Victims of the Pedrógão Grande Fire, and of Vítor Neves, who was seriously injured with burns. Firefighter Sérgio Lourenço talks about his harrowing, life-altering experience fighting the blaze.

“It only takes a spark,” emphasises the documentary. However, despite the serious threat that climate change poses to our planet, and the devastating consequences that communities such as Pedrógão Grande are dealing with, there is a thread of hope that runs through the documentary. In fact, it highlights how science-driven restoration can help protect us all from the climate emergency. 

Film Director Orlando von Einsiedel. Photo by Lynsey Addario

“Seeing the resilience of people like Nadia Piázza and Vitor Neves rebuilding their lives after unimaginable tragedy, and learning about the potential of the restoration movement to be a key part of the solution to the challenges of the climate crisis, has filled me up with optimism. I’m very proud of the film we have made,” says director Orlando von Einsiedel. 

“My hope is that this film will spark conversation, inspire us to take action, and help unite us to re-wild our future,” producer Leonardo DiCaprio adds.

Environmental technician Sofia Carmo Sofia hopes to inspire younger generations to take care of the land. Photo by Lynsey Addario

From Devil’s Breath also features the original song ‘Hope For The Future’, written and performed by Bastille’s Dan Smith. The hauntingly beautiful song captures the essence of the raw emotions of the survivors, and emphasises the power of collective voices with the lyrics: “Thought that I could hear you whisper softly / Can’t be only me that hears the sound.”

Commenting on the film and how the song came together, Dan Smith said: “It’s a heart-breaking story that’s beautifully told, so when I was asked to write a song for the end credits, it seemed important to make something that felt intimate, but also struck a balance between the more poignant elements of these people’s stories and the hope that the film ultimately gestures towards.” 

The music video (below) was shot by Orlando von Einsiedel at the lead singer’s London home and is interlaced with emotive and though-provoking shots from the documentary. 

Bastille releases ‘Hope for the Future’ music video in coordination with the release of the documentary

From Devil’s Breath, which has already been shown at the Palm Springs Film Festival (USA) and at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), premiered on MSNBC in America on Sunday 13th November 2022. 

Learn about the ways in which you can take action for nature and donate to the restoration efforts, and discover more about award-winning film production company Grain Media.

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