Screening and Panel Discussion streamed live November 3, 6:30 PM AST
Click here to go to the live event. The link and password for the films is in the description of the page, along with contact info if you’d like to ask questions of the panelists during the panel.
This event starts with the undeniable fact that filmmaking is usually not great for the environment. On larger productions, there can be enormous waste from catering and from the building of sets, costumes, and props, and there are carbon emissions from extensive travel. Even smaller productions produce some of this waste. In addition, the manufacture and processing of celluloid film involves extremely harsh chemicals. Although the shift from celluloid to digital video has cleaned up some of these last problems, hard drives and other parts of digital infrastructure aren’t carbon neutral, either.
But film can also be a powerful medium that changes people’s hearts and minds and inspires activism for the environment and other important causes. And let’s not forget that it can be beautiful. Celluloid, especially, has a special kind of charm and fascination today.
The filmmakers we’ll speak with at this event celebrate celluloid in their creative, beautiful, experimental work, but in ways that respond to some of the environmental challenges that film presents. And it’s not just the images that are creative, beautiful, and experimental. Sound brings images alive, so we’ll look at the whole package: sound, silence, and stunning celluloid images.
The first film up is j., which is co-directed by Solomon Nagler (with Alexandre Larose) and features an exceptional score by Lukas Pearse. We’ll speak to both Sol and Lukas after the screening. This film uses the “reduce, reuse, recycle” approach, mining film archives to reframe and reinterpret old images, and breathing new life into them with music. The haunting result shows us how we can transform the past without forgetting or absolving ourselves of it. (7 mins)
The next film is Rena Thomas’s Emerge. Entirely silent, it leaves us to compose our own soundscapes in our heads or to dwell in the absence of sound. It is the first of our two examples of eco-processing, a technique which uses low-toxicity chemicals – some of which you can drink! – to process celluloid. Inspired by ground-breaking experiments in the 1990s that used coffee as a developer, Rena uses eucalyptus tea and hydrogen peroxide to create magical image qualities. (3 mins)
Finally, Dawn George’s Anthology for Fruits and Vegetables is a playful and celebratory concoction of sound and image. Using teas from the plants featured in the film itself, this talented gardener gives us an utterly unique perspective on green and growing things. If you’d like to join the eco-processing revolution, your first stop is Dawn’s blog, which has recipes, how-tos, and inspiring stories. (15 mins)
As we consider environmental issues, let’s not forget that environmental destruction is not racially or ethnically neutral. This screening and panel takes place in K’jipuktuk in Mi’kma’ki, a territory that has been and still is deeply structured by environmental racism. Mi’kma’ki is the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq and is governed by the Peace and Friendship Treaties (see this resource and this). There are provisions in these treaties that would do a great deal for both social and environmental justice if we all honoured them. We are all Treaty people – let’s put that into action.