Chances are, you’ve either joined the Mockingjay in her rebellion against sinister President Snow or you have no idea what any of those words mean.
Love, hate, or ambivalence—the Hunger Games is irreversibly embedded in popular culture. No matter your feelings about the series, it’s part of a long and storied tradition of dystopian fiction. Every generation has a best-selling novel in this genre, from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to George Orwell’s 1984 and beyond. Like the dystopian superstates of yore, Panem’s stability relies on a rigid caste system that divides citizens along strict social, economic, and geographic lines—with the vocations of each district symbolizing status.
So, we reaped our library for video tributes from all 13 districts (and the Capitol) to illustrate life in Panem through stock. Here’s a brief guide to every district using video. Even if you’re not a fan of the Hunger Games, you’ll find ample footage to invent your own fictional society.
District 1: Jewelry and other luxury goods
The closest district to the Capitol naturally has the most bling. As jewelers and dealers of shiny objects, the people of District 1 sympathize with the superficial lifestyle of the social elite. But in reality, making jewelry can be tedious work—just ask the real-life workers in this Chinese jade shop.
District 2: Weapons and masonry
Tributes from District 2 are trained killers. They know how to make and use weapons of all kinds, hence their frequent victories in the Hunger Games. They’re responsible for stone carving as well, but no one is thinking about masonry when you have blood-thirsty victors like Enobaria, who ripped out a fellow tribute’s throat with her bare teeth.
District 3: Electronics and engineering
What District 3 residents may lack in muscle, they make up for with wit. These wiz kids are among the most highly skilled workers in Panem, yet they’re also among the poorest—making them an important contingent of the Mockingjay revolutionaries. After all, it’s the former victor Beetee Latier that takes down the Hunger Games arena with his electric skills.
District 4: Fishing
This coastal population lives off the bounties of the sea. If you like seafood and dreamy fishermen like Finnick Odair, you might not take issue with growing up in District 4. Its status as one of the wealthier districts makes the waters even warmer.
District 5: Power and electricity
The massive dam in District 5 is the electricity epicenter of Panem—fueling the fancy homes and opulent galas of the Capitol. But diversified energy resources play an important role in this superstate, with fossil fuels, windmills, and solar panels churning out megawatts to keep the lights on across the districts.
District 6: Transportation
Freight trains and high-speed transit systems alike originate in District 6. Unfortunately, so does a tendency towards drug addiction. The “morphlings” from this region rarely fare well in the games, but also suffer from a generally low quality of life in their overpopulated home district.
District 7: Lumber and paper
The residents of District 7 know how to wield an axe, which is good because they live in a heavily wooded area. It’s not the best district to reside in—nor the worst. The lumber industry may have its dangers, but these middle-class citizens enjoy a down-to-earth lifestyle.
District 8: Textiles and clothing
The glamorous socialites of the Capitol need to get their gaudy frocks from somewhere, and so the people of District 8 are laden with the labors of the garment industry. Katniss witnesses it as “an urban place stinking of industrial fumes with no greenery.”
District 9: Grain
The ninth district is the least talked-about in the Hunger Games books and movies. No tributes are mentioned by name, and all we know is that this district is characterized by amber waves of grain. At least this single descriptor provides plenty of fodder for agrarian visuals.
District 10: Livestock
It’s not exactly a bucolic paradise, but District 10 does contain a lot of adorable cows and other farm animals. Of course, all of these creatures are slaughtered to feed the greedy bellies in the Capitol, while the people of this district barely get by.
District 11: Agriculture
Home to the much beloved Rue—whose death incites the beginnings of rebellion—District 11 is all lush countryside and devastatingly poor residents. If anyone from this district is caught sampling the crops they grow, they receive a public lashing.
District 12: Mining
The coal miners of District 12 were believed to live in the farthest outskirts of Panem, until the revelation of a thirteenth district came to light. Set in the hills of West Virginia, this population is stuck with some of the least-desirable and most harrowing work. Along with many others, Katniss’s father died in a mine explosion.
District 13: Nuclear technology
Thanks to their nuclear weapons, District 13 was able to cede from Panem and survive as an independent entity. They built underground barracks and rationed resources—plotting the eventual overthrow of the Capitol.
The debauchery and excess of the Capitol is marked by wild parties and outlandish dress. The elite upper-class adores celebrity and strives for unnatural beauty. Behind the glitz and glam is a sinister undercurrent of exploitation, which harkens back to the social criticisms of dystopian classics.
If Aldous Huxley and George Orwell were alive today, they might be surprised to see that we’re not, in fact, living in a Hunger Games-esque superstate. But there are clear, relatable parallels between the stratified societies they envisioned and our current reality.
A critical element of these stories derives from vivid imagery. Whether on paper or in film, every great story requires powerful visuals. For filmmakers, it’s not always possible to capture each shot oneself, which makes stock an essential tool of the trade.
The videos here are just the beginning—you’ll find all the necessary stock footage for a dystopian universe in our libraries.
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