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Wild Relatives

Deep in the earth beneath Arctic permafrost, seeds from all over the world are stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Wild Relatives starts from an event that sparked media interest worldwide: in 2012 an international agricultural research center was forced to relocate from Aleppo to Lebanon, due to the Syrian War, and began a laborious process of planting their seed collection from the Svalbard back-ups. The film captures the articulation of this large-scale international initiative at its local implementation in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, carried out primarily by young migrant women. The meditative pace patiently teases out tensions between state and individual, industrial and organic approaches to seed saving, climate change and biodiversity, witnessed through the journey of these seeds.

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