Watch the exciting performance documentary exploring the people and the city of Aberdeen’s relationship to oil.

The Future is Not F*cked

Directed by Sara Stroud
Produced by Friends of the Earth Scotland
Duration: 20 minutes
Rating: 12A

About the film

Aberdeen is the centre for the UK oil and gas industry which has employed thousands of people in the North East of Scotland and supported livelihoods across these islands.

Aberdeen is also a departure point where generations of ‘miners of the deep’ travel by helicopter to oil platforms beyond the horizon, and two weeks later, return with heroic stories of exploration and extraction, in hazardous conditions.

But now the tragedy of climate breakdown is unfolding around the world of which the oil companies play a central role. The resulting social and political pressure is now forcing the industry to consider change. But is it really changing? And what should come next? Especially for the self-proclaimed ‘Oil capital of Europe.’

A performer from ‘The Future Is Not F*cked’

Before any meaningful answer that attempts to chart a new course towards a just transition, it’s wise to come to terms with and learn from what has gone before. While the oil industry push their narrative of meeting demand for ‘cheap energy’ and provide financial riches for some, there are untold stories about the relationships between oil and the lives of people living and working in this part of Scotland.

Entirely shot in Aberdeen and through an infusion of live performance, interviews and cityscape, this film attempts to tell some of those stories through documenting a poetry workshop and spoken word night. Held in Aberdeen in late 2021, local performers were asked to consider ‘how do we let go of the world of oil and all it represents?’.

This film provides space to reflect on the unbounded nature of oil, going far beyond the idea that it’s simply a source of energy to be drilled up and sold. Instead showing how it seeps deep into the lives, aspirations and personal relationships of people living and working in Aberdeen and beyond.

The success of the film resulted in the publication of a book of poems from the performance. Huge thanks to the designer Enxhi Mandija and the printmakers Peacock & The Worm.

Organise your own screening of the film

From late 2022 and throughout 2023, we have been hosting in person screenings across Scotland. We have now made it free to watch via the above link.

We believe the film raises important questions that are is much better discussed with others. So we recommend hosting a screening for your own community, group or workplace.

The film has the potential to:

  • Highlight how oil creates social relations that bind us all.
  • Prompt deeper thought and discussion among your group on how we make a fair and fast transition away from oil and gas
  • Engage new members into your group
  • Build connections within your community

Questions for a community screening

Here are some questions you might want to use to facilitate a discussion in your community

  • What did you learn from the film? Main messages, themes?
  • Did the film change how you think about oil?
  • What emotions if any did the film bring up for you? What do you think these indicate?
  • Did the film raise any new questions for you about oil, climate crisis or any of the issues covered?
  • What role does art have in social change?

Or if you have other questions then please get in touch via sherrett@foe.scot