Documentary Australia Foundation

Next submission deadline is
16 May 2014


Director /
Annamaria Talas
2009 September
AUD $650,000.00
54 minutes

About the film

'Who Owns the Weather' brings to the public eye the most controversial questions of the climate debate, the potentials and dangers of climate engineering. Geoengineering schemes sound like science fiction: launch fleets of ships to whip up sea spray and enhance the reflectivity of marine clouds; use trillions of tiny spacecraft to form a sunshade a million miles from Earth. Once dismissed as impossible and banned by an international treaty, intentional large-scale manipulation of the climate is getting serious consideration from eminent scientists and prestigious institutes all over the world. And for an important reason: we might need emergency measures to buy time for real solutions to avoid dangerous climate change. But it raises difficult questions:

Can we be trusted to interfere with a system as complex as the Earth's climate? Do we have what it takes to be the masters of our planet? Is geo-engineering viable? Is it avoidable? Do we have a choice? Whose hand will be on the thermostat? Who Owns The Weather?

We will follow some of the most interesting proposals of The Virgin Earth Challenge Prize - small and large enterprises, government institutes with ambitious projects.

We'll look at the climate from a new perspective, as a massive complex system with built-in sensitivities. We'll run what-if-scenarios on the world's most advanced supercomputers, trying to predict how these extraordinary schemes would play out if commissioned. We'll compare them for effectiveness, timeliness, unintended consequences and costs.

Instead of being a list-film of techno-fixes or a debate program, who owns the weather is driven by personal stories of charismatic, passionate people as we get to know the minds and often controversial views of climate engineers and their peers. Woven into the narrative we'll recall the checkered history of geoengineering and will unveil recent attempts of military weather control. Some of the main characters are Nobel Prize winners: Professor Steve Schneider climatologist; Professor David Keith who argues that geoengineering the Earth is within the realm of small countries, large corporations, or even very wealthy individuals., Professor Ken Caldeira who devised simulations to discredit geoengineering but the surprising results converted him; distinguished members of the Royal Society - James Lovelock, Professor Andrew Watson.

Who Owns the Weather will be energetic, uncompromising, witty and sharp.

Total Project Budget

AUD $650,000.00

Length of Production

54 minutes

Stage of Production


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

WHO OWNS THE WEATHER promotes greater awareness and understanding of climate change. It focuses on the very nature of Earth climate, explaining why is it that small changes in global temperatures have such enormous effects. The film serves as the ultimate guide to the complex issues of geoengineering, the first film that brings to the public eye the real potentials and dangers of this possibly unavoidable emergency measure: large-scale, intentional climate modification. For humanity to use the power of democracy it is essential to understand what geoengineering means and how to keep it under control.

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

The film should inspire people to take immediate action and use their voting power to encourage their local communities and the government to do all they can to stimulate non-carbon economy and to work together towards a sustainable Australia and make sure that developments in geoengineering are transparent and apart from technological - ethical, moral, and legal issues are also addressed.

What is your education and outreach strategy

A study guide (ATOM) will be provided for high schools and my hope is that the film will deliver such depths of understanding that will shift the way how young people think of the Earth.
A web site accompanying the film will help discussion groups, special screenings.

Who are the filmmakers responsible for the project?

Annamaria Talas, 2009 winner of the EUREKA Prize for science journalism, director of HOW KEVIN BACON CURED CANCER, producer of ABC's The Great Global Warming Swindle Discussion' that successfully uncovered the swindles behind Martin Durkin's argument that climate change has nothing to do with greenhouse emissions by human activities.