When I caught up with director Georgina Willis in Hertfordshire, the weather was notably calm and sunny; here, the thought of a global catastrophe seemed like a distant improbability. Despite our surroundings, Georgina soon made it clear that the natural world is up against some very real and imminent threats; insect populations around the world are facing extinction. According to Georgina, ‘Without insects, we could not live on the planet”.
Georgina’s most recent documentary, Insect O Cide, is currently in post-production. The feature-length film explores the causes of these population declines and seeks hope among the chaos of the modern world. In our conversation, Georgina emphasised the severity of the challenges at hand: ‘Ultimately if insects disappear, we too will also follow as we need insects in our environment as much as we need oxygen. We have evolved with insects quietly, and often invisibly, playing so many roles to support our lives.”
Willis’ film is composed of shots that immerse the viewer in the insects’ natural world. Insect O Cide creates space for these animals to be viewed in a different light. Insects are often overlooked or even vilified. Here, their beauty and sophistication are clear to see. The cinematography at work in this film is masterful.
Georgina’s first feature, Watermark, was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and established new standards for independent filmmaking. The visual storytelling on display in Insect O Cide is a spectacular continuation of these standards. The work successfully highlights just how urgent the situation is. The filmmaker remarked, ‘The most important thing is that we need to see them [all insects] as vitally important. A few years ago, there was a German study that found that in 30 years, three quarters of the flying insects had disappeared. That is a truly frightening decline. You could broadly say this is due to intensive agriculture, loss of habitat, climate change and pesticide use.
Insect O Cide is in post-production and will be released early in the new year.