“Can you imagine what would happen if we took these young folks [and] got them involved in elections? And young people were the reason why certain politicians won or lost in the 2020 elections,” Sunrise Movement’s Varshini Prakash emphasizes in our exclusive clip of Rachel Lears’ “To the End.” The spot sees the new generation of environmental activists – from children to young adults – gathered for the Youth Climate Strike in New York. “Don’t destroy the world,” one protestor’s sign reads, “Fighting for our future,” reads another.
Following “Knock Down the House,” Lears’ 2019 portrait of four women running for Congress, “To the End” follows four young WOC changemakers campaigning for the Green New Deal (GND), the most pivotal climate change legislation in American history.
“To the End” reunites Lears with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while also featuring the work of Prakash, GND policy writer Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and political strategist Alexandra Rojas of the Justice Democrats. Filmed over a four-year span of “hope and crisis,” the doc follows these women from street protests to the halls of congress as they “defend their generation’s right to a future,” per its synopsis.
When asked what differentiates the Sunrise Movement from others, Prakash, who serves as exec director, says, “We are building an army of young people to stop the climate crisis and create millions of good jobs for our generation.” She adds, “We are both a social movement but we’re also political movement.”
“While the situation is grave, we haven’t reached the apocalypse yet — and there’s still so much we can do to build a better world. But there is no path to stopping the global climate crisis that doesn’t involve engaging with politics in the United States,” Lears told us. “‘To the End’ frames our protagonists’ fight for a just and sustainable future as an epic coming of age story of courageous young women confronting multiple dystopian dimensions — climate disaster itself, the corporate media, and the Kafkaesque world of Washington, DC politics.”
“To the End” is now in theaters. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year.