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Production   /  Caroline Stocker Stratmann

The Big Shift

Everyday Australians changing their lives to change the planet.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Caroline Stocker Stratmann

  • PRODUCER Toby Stratmann



With climate change & biodiversity loss pushing Australia to the brink of catastrophe, the outlook seems bleak. Can we actually change our ways & protect the planet? THE BIG SHIFT follows trailblazing everyday Australians who are stepping into the vacuum left by government. They are drastically transforming their lives by shifting away from environmentally destructive careers to build a sustainable future for their communities.

Coal Miner Trevor is starting a sanctuary for endangered native species; cattle farmer Alison is forming a climate action group & shipping entrepreneur Vaughan is reducing plastic pollution, rehabilitating coral & building Australia’s first electric plane. Meanwhile, the filmmakers, Toby & Cas are inspired to convert their fear into action by quitting their jobs to join the cause, & soon they have the ultimate reason to act: they’re expecting a much longed for child. But with the climate crisis disrupting the character’ lives & threatening their plans, will they be able to achieve their goals?

THE BIG SHIFT is a character-led social impact OBS DOC featuring four passionate advocates & their surprising & inspirational transitions from contributing to the problem to being part of the solution.

Filmed from July 2019, THE BIG SHIFT captures an unfolding moment in world history, when human-induced climate change & the destruction of the natural world is becoming painfully manifest, & democracies are failing their people. It documents a transformational moment in Australian history, when radical change & uncertainty challenges us all to find new ways of living.

The characters’ compelling quests take us from regional Queensland, to the New South Wales wilderness, to Urban Sydney & the Pacific Islands during unprecedented natural disasters, the Covid-19 pandemic & democratic ferment. THE BIG SHIFT is an intimate & inspiring portrait of the courage & conviction required to keep hope through the most dark & painful times.

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0% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $0.00

  • December 2022

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss are an increasing threat to all life on earth, yet fossil fuel emissions and environmental destruction are at an all-time high. However, the Australian federal government refuses to accept the science and adopt net-zero emissions targets. At the same time, they have slashed environmental protections and are stalling on developing a framework to transition our economy to renewable energy.

THE BIG SHIFT is a timely social impact documentary that demonstrates how passionate everyday Australians are recognising the problem, converting their fear into hope through action and proving each one of us can too.

It seeks to empower all Australians, even those you’d least expect, to be part of the solution and energise our government to step up and act before it’s too late. This means inspiring those who have not yet engaged with climate action to get involved.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

By demonstrating the power of lived social action, THE BIG SHIFT models how everyone can contribute to climate and environmental solutions and a sustainable democracy.
Inspire new sectors of society to engage with climate solutions and the protection of nature
Demonstrate pathways to transition out of polluting industries
Activate citizens to unite with community groups that are empowering government to adopt sustainable policies, including net zero emissions by 2030


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Engage a mainstream audience with climate change and environmental activism
Educate and foster hope that worst-case climate projections can be mitigated with urgent action
Generate a national conversation around the availability of climate solutions and how to adopt them
Remind people of their agency and how their actions and decisions have environmental impact
Empower and support people to join the climate and environmental movement by helping them find and connect with local organisations participating in climate solutions
Change consumer behaviour to support ecologically sustainable practices and businesses
Encourage people to devise their own climate solutions
Help shift the policy framework at all levels of government towards climate change-mitigating and ecologically sustainable public policy
Increase active participation in democracy
Convince the Australian Government to commit to a net zero emissions target by 2030
A just transition


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Watch the documentary
Watch the documentary with a director’s commentary & a live Q & A session
Watch the documentary at a community event hosted by an impact partner, participate in a Q & A session & community discussion
Host impact screenings to inspire the local community & generate a dialogue
Hold a virtual event which allows for live discussion
Connect with the impact campaign online through the documentary website & social media pages
Share scenes from the documentary online & links to the documentary program
Download the toolkit from the film's website, social media site or impact partners
Schools study the program with the study guide
Start a local activist group focused on a community-relevant issue
Partner with philanthropists to establish a charity or foundation to provide fiscal sponsorship to people with entrepreneurial ideas for green start-ups
Campaign government with activism, petitions & letters to ensure the UN emissions targets are met by 2030


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Toowoomba for Climate Action: Community activist Alison Fearnley has become an expert in mobilising grassroots community support around environmental causes.
Ecosystems Australia Foundation/ Secret Creek Sanctuary: Trevor Evans, who runs a sanctuary for endangered native species, has an extensive conservation network.
Corals for Conservation and Plantation Resort: Marine biologist Austin Bowden-Kerby and Plantation Island Resort can connect us with the Fijian tourism industry and coral conservation networks.
Electron Aero: Vaughan Wellington and Colin Hutchison are green entrepreneurs with links to the aeronautical industry and business.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. The population of Australia are motivated to change their behaviour to adopt climate and environmental solutions, i.e. donating to a climate or biodiversity project, switching to sustainable products and renewable energy, transitioning careers.
2. Australian citizens from all walks of life are compelled to follow our social media campaign to lobby all levels of government for sustainable practices and real action on climate change, especially through signing the petition and participating in activism to get the federal government to agree to the UN’s net zero emissions targets by 2030
3. Signing up to our partner charity program or foundation to provide fiscal sponsorship to people with entrepreneurial ideas for green start-ups

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

THE BIG SHIFT will premiere on FanForce, and we will facilitate screenings for community groups and encourage communities to host watch parties across Australia. We will liaise with these groups to identify a unique local call to action that is appropriate for them.
Audience engagement will be measured through:
Online viewing figures
Number of impact screenings, hosted and Q & A style community events
Downloads of the program in conjunction with the purchase of education materials
THE BIG SHIFT website hits and engagement with its links (pledges, petitions, donations)
Social media page engagement across platforms
Success of affiliated peaceful protest actions
Influence on the national conversation confirmed by social media and coverage in mainstream media
Online surveys and surveys at live screening events
Success of campaign for the government to commit to net zero emissions targets by 2030