The magnitude of all things

Director Jennifer Abbott scatters her sister's ashes into the ocean.

In the wake of COP26 in Glasgow, Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival’s latest pop-up offering, The Magnitude of All Things, couldn’t be more timely.

The latest offering by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Abbott was launched at Sydney Film Festival last week and will enjoy its Victorian premiere at Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal on December 1.

When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown.

Abbott’s new documentary draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief – both personal and planetary.

Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.

This cinematic journey by the Sundance-award winning director (The Corporation) takes us around the world to witness a planet in crisis: from Australia’s catastrophic fires and dying Great Barrier Reef, to the island nation of Kiribati, drowned by rising sea levels.

In Nunatsiavut, melting ice permanently alters the landscape, while in the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous people fight a desperate battle against oil and mining extraction. Featuring activists, scientists and traditional custodians from Australia and beyond.

The project also has a Castlemaine connection with talented local composer and multi-instrumentalist Rob Law creating the incredible score for the moving film, which has already collected numerous awards across the globe.

Rob is passionate about climate change himself, having worked on projects around the topic for some 20 years and also being the CEO of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.

Rob said that while the film tackled the challenging topics of cancer and climate grief it was also uplifting in its own way.

“The word many people have used after watching it is ‘cathartic’,” he said.

The composer said the film also featured the voice of the Theatre Royal’s own Felicity Cripps.

“I asked Felicity to sing on some of the tracks,” he said.

Rob recorded the score at the Alec Bennett’s ‘Sound Recordings’ studio at Campbells Creek.

“All told I created about 50 pieces of music for the documentary, 25 of which feature in the final film,” he said.

Rob will be among the panel to feature in a Q&A moderated by Jodi Newcombe following the December 1 screening, along with Dr Susie Burke and Ira Barker.

Newcombe is a local environmental economist, creative producer and strategic designer focused on facilitating a cultural shift towards environmental stewardship through cross-disciplinary partnerships and initiatives.

She is also a co-founder of Castlemaine Institute, a local knowledge hub for regional, regenerative futures and played an important role supporting the shire in declaring a climate emergency.

The film will screen at 7.30pm on Wednesday December 1. For tickets visit