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These Teen Filmmakers Are Using Art To Save The Planet

‘IMAX teamed up with the UN Environment to grant five student film programs across the country $5,000 “to tell impactful stories which will ultimately promote a change toward a better planet.” While still in high school, these students crafted original documentaries that tackle environmental issues facing their communities — from repurposing surfboards to saving bees.’

Snippet from “How did you find your subjects?”

Miles: A lot of people around the Pacific Northwest had heard about the Elwha dam removal because it had been making headlines for a while. It was the biggest dam removal project ever. But we really wanted to find a more specific story and talk about the people involved.

Since the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe was the most affected by these illegal dams, we really wanted to find a voice from them. I got in contact with the Vice Chair of the tribe, Russell Hepfer. He was incredibly enthusiastic and really helpful and I realized he’d be a great person to be our hero for the documentary.

Snippet from, “There’s a generational divide when it comes to the environment: Younger generations tend to be more aware than older ones. Did you encounter this while making your films?”

Mark: For a lot of people it seems like such a big issue and it’s hard to wrap your head around it. What I saw with our films was that [the students took] a micro focus on a specific thing that people can perhaps understand in the midst of this overwhelming problem. That’s probably the best way to get it across to people. Climate change is such a big deal and huge idea that people end up tuning out a lot of times unless you really hit home, unless you show them something that impacts them or that they can help with.

Snippet from,”Did making these films make you think about your own community differently?”

Jackson: Being in D.C. and learning about the success that the EPA have had with decreasing pollution in the air was very eye opening for me because I had just assumed that things were getting worse. I learned that actually we have been trying to fight [air pollution] and that when we get together and learn about it and create legislation and do things to prevent it, it actually has a large effect that can save lives.


I might as well throw in my $0.02.

I thought this quote from ‘the book’ was interesting. Although she adds “ourselves” at the end of her sentence talking about “the people we need to rely on”, one senses that word was added almost as an afterthought considering its ranking in her sentence.

1. our leaders
2. the press
3. experts
4. ourselves


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