Documentary Filmmaking and the Climate Crisis

Speaker(s): Deia Schlosberg

Documentary film is an important medium for representing climate change — a crisis that is often difficult to visualize. Rob Nixon (2011) speaks about the important role of media as a “representational” and “strategic” tool for addressing environmental crises. Film is particularly capable of this representational/strategic task of making visible disparities of environmental risks and of holding governments and corporations accountable. In collaboration with the organizers of the 2020 Climate Week at Penn, the Center for Media at Risk will host a Virtual Conversation with environmental documentary filmmaker and producer Deia Schlosberg. Moderated by Annenberg Ph.D. Candidate Hanna E. Morris, Schlosberg will discuss her projects and the challenges and capabilities of environmental documentary filmmaking as a tool for political change. Her most recent film, The Story of Plasticwill be streamed during the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, and is the first feature documentary film from The Story of Stuff Project.

Co-sponsored with SAS/Climate Week

Deia Schlosberg (DIRECTOR/PRODUCER) made national news in October 2016, when she was arrested and charged with 45 years’ worth of felonies for filming the #ShutItDown pipeline protest in North Dakota. Schlosberg is the director of The Story of Plastic. (2019) and is currently directing a docuseries — Bootstraps (2021) — which chronicles a two-year basic income trial. She produced Josh Fox’s climate change film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change (2016), and co-produced Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock (2017), and The Reluctant Radical. (2018).

Hanna E. Morris is a member of the Center for Media at Risk steering committee and a Ph.D. Candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where she researches media, culture, and the climate crisis. Her scholarship is motivated by questions of power, representation, and environmental justice. Morris is also on the Board of Directors for the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) and a member of the Social Challenges of Climate Change Doctoral Working Group at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK).

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