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A line of women holding parasols walk down a street. All except for one are wearing masks to cover their mouth and nose.

Smog Town

Shared Planet

16 September 2020 - 27 September 2020

Subtitles Closed Captions

Film Synopsis: Smog Town

Director: Meng Han | Countries of production: China, South Korea, Netherlands | Year: 2019 | Length: 88 min
Language: Chinese (Mandarin) with English subtitles | Age: 12+ years

By placing respiratory health firmly in our sights, the 2020 Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks that air pollution poses to public health – as well as to the planet’s future. (It is estimated that toxic air quality causes up to 7 million deaths a year.) In Smog Town, a team of local officials attempt to make good on China’s “War for the defence of Blue Skies.” But can local measures have a real impact on such a global issue?

Deputy chief Li, his assistant Hu and the rest of the city of Langfang’s environmental protection are under strict government orders to meet air pollution reduction targets. The drastic measures they impose prove deeply unpopular, disproportionately penalising poorer citizens, workers and small business traders while, a few kilometres away, large factories continue to contribute to rising levels of air pollution…

In subtle, observational tones, Smog Town captures the futility of environmental policies that focus on short-term targets without addressing wider, systemic causes – and forces us to reckon with the urgency of a crisis we can’t afford not to address.

Screened as part of TOAFF20


Beyond the Screen


Faced with the enormity of the current economic crisis, governments have been urged to #BuildBackBetter. How do we tackle air pollution while balancing the needs of citizens and industry? Watch the Q&A we recorded to explore what a truly #GreenRecovery can look like, with Gavin Thomson Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Booking Information

How to watch
This film is available to watch at any time between 00:00 on 16 September and 23:59 on 27 September.


Ticket prices
Digital events still require a lot of work behind the scenes, and hosting digital screenings incurs significant costs. To reflect this, our recommended ticket price is £7, however we are operating a “sliding scale” ticket policy (thanks to SQIFF for leading the way) whereby audience members choose what to pay based on personal circumstances, from £2 upwards.  We don’t ask for any proof or ID – we just ask you to please be honest, so that this model can be sustainable for us as a small independent charity. For further guidance on price levels, please refer to this document, or the image below:

We don’t want price to be a barrier to access our festival. If you require free access, please contact freetickets@takeoneaction.org.uk, indicating the title of the film you wish to watch.

All live workshops and Q&As will be free to access.


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