Young US-based documentary makers have swept the short film category of the Connect4Climate competition with emotional mini-documentaries about climate change.
Back in June, the Daily Planet already reported on a global competition to give young people a chance to tell their climate stories. A total of 860 videos from 155 countries have since been submitted to Connect4Climate‘s competition.
Today, we’ll take a look at the winners in the 18-35 age group in the short film category of the contest. It is not clear if the jury took the American election result into account and wanted to send a message, but the first four winners in this category are all based in the US.
The winning films – no longer than five minutes each – were announced on 14 November on a day set aside at the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh to celebrate the powerful role young people play in making climate action happen.
A jury of world-renowned filmmakers, film industry professionals, climate solution activists and development specialists chaired by the Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci selected the winners.
First Prize: “Three Seconds” by Prince Ea
Richard Williams – better known by his stage name Prince Ea – is a 28-year-old spoken word artist, poet, rapper and filmmaker from St Louis, Missouri. He is well known for viral videos such as ‘Dear Future Generations: Sorry‘ and ‘Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?’.
In his powerful entry for the competition, Prince Ea sits on a beach and points out that if you would condense the Earth’s lifespan into 24 hours – humans have existed for just three seconds.
He goes on to discuss the impact humans have had on the planet in our comparatively short existence, and how we can all come together to make sure we make it to the fourth second.
Shared Second Prize: “The Snow Guardian” by Nathan Dappen, USA
One of the competition’s two second prizes went to The Snow Guardian, a four-minute film directed by Nathan Dappen exploring the story of Billy Barr. The bearded man has lived alone for forty years in a small solar-powered mountain cabin in Gunnison, Colorado, the snowiest part of the United States.
With no goals of proving anything or any knowledge of climate change, Barr started to collect data on snow – simply to pass the time in his isolated part of the Rocky Mountains.
When climate researchers found out about Barr’s detailed research, they uncovered a clear and compelling record of our changing climate.
At the end of the four-minute film, Barr shares some advice about how to move forward on our changing planet based on his experience on how to survive in the mountains.
Shared Second Prize: “Love Note to an Island” by Lulu DeBoer, USA
The other second prize went to Love Note to an Island, produced by US-based Lulu DeBoer. Kiribati, an island republic in the Central Pacific made up of 33 coral atolls and isles stretching along the equator just two metres above sea level.
Scientists have given the island just 30 years, but the islands inhabitants are fighting back. The film explores how the population of Kiribati is adapting to fight climate change with solutions like mangroves and solar energy.
The five-minute clip is a shorter version of the longer feature documentary Millennium Island, which is currently in production after being funded through KickStarter.
Third Prize: “Plastic Pollution, our Oceans, our Future” by Christopher Hanson, USA
This short film by Christopher Hanson follows 17 school students from the US state of Hawaii who set out to answer one question: how is plastic pollution shaping the future of our oceans?
In the video marine science professor Douglas McCauley explains that people in Hawaii throw away over 50,000 pounds of polystyrene every single day.