In 1971, a group of friends sail a boat into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination. How To Change the World is a hippie heist movie, the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement, using rare archival footage that brings their extraordinary world to life.

Written and directed by Jerry Rothwell and produced by Al Morrow and Bous de Jong, How to Change the World chronicles the adventures of an eclectic group of young Canadian environmentalists – underground journalists, photographers, musicians, scientists, and expatriate American draft dodgers – who set out to stop Nixon’s atomic bomb tests in Amchitka, Alaska, and ended up inventing environmental activism.

The film centres on Bob Hunter, the charismatic and media savvy leader of a rag-tag group of activists that included Paul Watson, Patrick Moore, Bill Darnell, Bobbi Hunter and Rex Weyler. Hunter galvanized ‘the mystics and the mechanics’ into a cohesive unit with a single purpose.

Using hitherto unseen footage from personal and Greenpeace archives, the books and private journals of Hunter, and interviews with key players, the film spans the period from the first expedition to enter the nuclear test zone in 1971 through the first whale and seal campaigns, and ends in 1979, when, victims of their own success, the founders gave away their central role to create Greenpeace International.


“One of the year’s most satisfying documentaries…”
LA Times
New York Times (Critics Pick)


Grierson Award, Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – International, 2016
Sundance Film Festival 2015: World Doc Special Jury Award-Editing
International Documentary Association Pare Lorenz Award, 2015
Best Environmental Film, Sheffield DocFest, 2015
Reykjavik International Film festival, Best Documentary 2015
CinemAmbiente Festival, Audience Award, Turin 2015
Hot Docs Top Ten Audience Favourite, 2015
Sebastopol Documentary Festival, Best Feature 2015
Portland EcoFilm Festival, Best Feature Film 2015
Global Visions, Best Canadian Feature, 2015
Best Documentary, Bigger Picture Film Awards, 2016
American Conservation Film Festival, Green Spark Award, 2016
Candescent Award, Sundance Film Festival 2015
South Korea Green Film Festival, Audience Award, 2016
South Korea Green Film Festival, Best Feature Film, 2016
HRFF Inconvenient Films Festival, Audience Award, 2016
British Independent Film Awards, Nomination – Best Documentary, 2015
Cinema For Peace Awards, Nomination – Best Green Film
Nomination RealScreen Best Archive-Based Programme, 2016 Nomination Rockie Award at the Banff International Television Festival, 2016
CableFax Awards, Best Documentary, 2016
Rose D’Or Awards – Nomination – Best Factual Entertainment, 2016

A Met Film/Daniel Films/Insight Production

Release Date: January 2015

Length: 109 mins

Written and Directed by
Jerry Rothwell

Produced by
Al Morrow and Bous de Jong

Supervising Producer
John Murray

Edited by
Jim Scott

Director of Photography
Ben Lichty

Music by
Lesley Barber

Film website:

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Follow @HowToChangefilm on Twitter

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