In the year 2032, Vicente, an eight-year-old Caribbean boy, has been displaced by global warming and fends for himself as an environmental refugee in a hostile northern metropolis. Orphaned and without connection to family or friends, Vicente now lives in a children’s shelter on the fringes of the city and struggles with anxiety, rage, and disturbing memories of the tragedy he fled.
On a hot summer day, Vicente sits outside the shelter and sees a mysterious man smashing large chunks of ice against the pavement. Thus, begins an unexpected friendship between Vicente and Siku, an Inuk ice carver from the Artic Circle: two people from different worlds who have both experienced tremendous loss. Through their bond, Siku ultimately helps Vicente confront his past and understand the value of memory.
By the middle of the 21st century it is estimated that as many as 1 billion people will become environmental refugees as a direct result of climate change and global warming. Dramatic increases in natural disasters - flooding, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and drought - will precipitate forced migration on an epic scale. That Which Once Was explores the social and political implications of future migration patterns triggered by climatic disaster. That Which Once Was is an emotional and visually striking short film that focuses on those who have been impacted by displacement, loss, and trauma---and struggle to find ways to heal and, ultimately, cope with a world changed by global warming.