USC’s filmmaking community will come together Friday night to fight the climate crisis through visual storytelling. Aiming to demonstrate the need for sustainability, the Environmental Film and Media Arts Festival is set to feature short films made by students at the School of Cinematic Arts.
In addition to the screening of 11 short films, the festival will feature a panel of filmmakers including Courtnee Zambrano, screenwriter and producer, Jay Ponti, grassroots political organizer, and Anna Jane Joyner, climate history consultant. Natasha Nutkiewicz, a theater graduate, will host the event.
Nutkiewicz is an actress, producer and filmmaker, who will also present her short film “Our Garden” at the festival. The film, which depicts a young couple struggling against oil drilling in their Los Angeles neighborhood, goes beyond the activist’s actions and delves into their mindsets, she said.
“[”Our Garden”] explores a lot about eco-grief, eco-anxiety, but also sometimes the interpersonal conflicts we can have even though we’re fighting for the same thing,” Nutkiewicz said.
As the mastermind behind the festival, Nutkiewicz helped select several other USC student-produced films and documentaries to feature.
“I’ve been calling out to filmmakers, people have been submitting their films, it’s so exciting. They’re awesome,” said Nutkiewicz, who is also a film arts minor. fiction films, and they’re experimental, and they’re industrial promotional videos, and there’s all kinds of media art.
Each script is different, but all the films strive to share the same message, as the festival prompts: “we must act now”. Many directors found the motivation to share this message through film because of their personal experiences, they said.
Arian Tomar, whose film ‘Canaries of the Coast’ will premiere at the festival, said his time in Peddar Bay, near British Columbia, inspired him to direct his creative attention to sustainability.
“I saw firsthand the impact on salmon, the impact on killer whales, other marine mammals as well, in addition to orcas,” said Tomar, a first-year film arts student. “I was so moved to be so close to the issue that I had to make a movie out of it.”
William Higbie, a film and television production specialist, shared similar sentiments when discussing the motivations for creating his “Divest SC” documentary, which covers the efforts of a student-led group to bring USC to withdraw $277 million in fossil fuel funding.
“[S]sustainability and sustainability policy and how we can implement it across different institutions has always been an additional passion for me,” Higbie said. “I had the chance to use both my abilities as a filmmaker and my passion for sustainability.”
Each film reflects each creator’s unique take on a specific environmental issue, and the festival gives them a platform to spread awareness.
“I hope the public will remember where they call home. I hope they realize that there are environmental issues that they are unaware of,” Tomar said. hope my film inspires people doing their own research to see how the place they love most is being impacted and to think about how they can make a difference there.”
Nutkiewicz said she hopes non-filmmaking audiences will also be able to understand how the climate crisis is impacting everyone’s lives.
“Even if you’re not a filmmaker or an artist, even if you’re just, you know, a lawyer or a doctor, we can all use our gifts for this movement because, again, it’s a crisis existential,” Nutkiewicz said. said. “It will affect everyone. So we have to start redirecting all of our activities, all of our professional endeavors, all of our passions, or all of our hobbies towards that.