Our Lunchtime Cinema pick for May is a fantastic, informative and engaging new documentary from sustainable outdoor clothing brand Patagonia (who are always reliable for a good watch). The documentary is called ‘We the Power’, and focuses on the renewable community energy movement in Europe. Today, as many as one million European citizens are already involved in this growing movement, which aims to upend the traditional energy system and give the power (and financial security) of clean electricity to local communities. The documentary follows pioneering projects in Germany’s Black Forest, on the ancient streets of Girona, Spain and in Brixton, London, and meets the people who are paving the way for a renewable energy revolution.

At 38-minutes, ‘We the Power’ isn't short, but it is super worthy of your time. Scroll on for the film, and some words from director David Garrett Byars below.

"'We the Power' was about showing people who had already recognised their power, and who were grasping the reigns of their own destiny in order to take control of their energy future," said director David Garrett Byars, speaking at the premier of the film. "It's really about the power of the people, and [about] people feeling ownership and understanding there is a different way.

"[The tone] is positive, and a bit wacky, and fun and cheeky, and it's because I very much felt like the people in this film were like that. They were having fun, and they were super empowered. They didn't know exactly how they were going to do it but they trusted in their future self to just figure it out as they went along.

Members of a community energy movement in Brixton, London. Photo: Patagonia / Joppe Rog
Members of a community energy movement in Brixton, London. Photo: Patagonia / Joppe Rog

"I always say systemic problems call for systemic solutions, and putting the onus of that responsibility - of moving towards a green future - on the individual is kind of a fool's errand, because individually we don't have a whole lot of power. So what I try to show in the film is these people getting together and understanding, and learning about the power mechanisms, and understanding how they can band together and then pull the levers of those power mechanisms.

"In a lot of cases with people who are involved in the system... you don't know what you don't know. You don't know if there are alternatives. Sometimes by simply presenting an alternative and showing how it works, and showing that there are real people, who aren't necessarily science-engineering geniuses, who went forward and did this spectacular thing - that has implications into infinity for the future - I think that's a really powerful way to get people on board."

Inspired? Get involved in Patagonia's We The Power campaign. Featured image courtesy of Patagonia / Joppe Rog.