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 VolFilm: multilingual and multi-platform films for increasing resilience to risks from volcanic hazards

Plymouth, Montserrat. (C) Tom Sheldrake

Plymouth, Montserrat. (C) Tom Sheldrake

Tab through to learn about the project and who we are.

Many volcanoes erupt infrequently, and several recent eruptions have occurred at volcanoes with no historic record of eruptions or none in living memory. Communities near such volcanoes have increased vulnerability due to their inexperience of volcanic hazards, lack of preparedness and often poor knowledge of volcanic hazards and risk. Such communities and their emergency managers and decision makers need education and information about the behaviour of volcanoes, their hazards and risk, as well as management and mitigation steps they can adopt to increase their resilience. Film is a very effective tool for communicating knowledge about volcanic hazards and risk. Two videos were produced about 20 years ago by IAVCEI, which were used among populations, authorities and volcano observatories for education purposes, and likely saved many thousands of lives. These have been excellent resources for the past 20 years, but technology has progressed, and developments have been made in understanding volcanic hazards and communicating science. There is therefore a need for updated film media and consideration of new, popular and widely used communication platforms such as the internet and mobile phones. VOLFilm is addressing this need.

VolFilm comprises volcanologists from a number of institutions within GVM working with Aspect Film and Video to develop multilingual and multi-platform films for resilience to risks from volcanic hazards in areas with no experience of volcanic eruptions in living memory.

VolFilm is funded through the Challenge Fund: a partnership between the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Phase 1 of the project saw the development of short educational films on pyroclastic flows and lahars, as these are historically responsible for the greatest loss of lives in volcanic eruptions. These films are created using a modular approach, meaning they can be watched individually or bolted together into longer films relevant to specific volcanic or societal settings. The films are short, and explore the hazards and separately the impacts. In Phase 1 we have also developed a short human experience film on the lahars of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia, in 1985. STREVA kindly permitted the use of footage from “Nevado del Ruiz: Remembering 1985″ for this trial film. This human experience film, and those to be developed in Phase 2, will provide insight into the experiences of those who have lived through volcanic emergencies.

Phase 2 of the project will see the creation of further hazard and impact films on ash fall, lava flows and volcanic gas, and additional human experience films set in several locations.

Steve Sparks and Sarah K. Brown (University of Bristol, UK)

Jenni Barclay & Anna Hicks (University of East Anglia, UK)

Carolyn Driedger, John Pallister & Elizabeth Westby (U.S. Geological Survey, U.S.A)

Esline Garaebiti (Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Vanuatu)

Gill Jolly & Julian Thomson (GNS Science, New Zealand)

Katcho Karume (Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Republique Democratique du Congo)

Jean-Christophe Komorowski (Institut Physique du Globe de Paris, France)

Richie Robertson & Stacey Selman-Edwards (Seismic Research Centre, Trinidad and Tobago)

Iain Stewart (University of Plymouth, UK)

Aspect Film and Video, Bristol, UK


Special thanks to:

Mathieu Rousseau, Katia and Maurice Krafft Collection, Images de Volcans, Centre Image Lorraine, France.

STREVA and all of their Colombian interviewees who gave their time to share their experiences.

Julia Eychenne, Irving Munguia Gonzalez, Alison Rust, Gilles Seropian, and Claudio Contreras for their translation skills.

Footage was kindly donated or provided at much reduced costs for the project from the following sources. We are very grateful to all.


Sandy Budi Wibowo

Gustavo Chigna, Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meterología e Hidrología, Guatemala

Getty Images

GNS Science, New Zealand

Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Peru

Katia and Maurice Krafft, Centre Image Lorraine

David Lea, Living Letters Productions

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan

NHNZ Moving Images

James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV

Martin Rietze

Richard Roscoe, Photovolcanica



Imanuel Susanto

Marc Szeglat,

U.S. Geological Survey, USA

Lintar Yogi

York Museums Trust

If you would like to ask a question, leave feedback, provide footage or anything else, please email Sarah Brown.

 challenge fund







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