Icy Arctic archipelagos, lush Costa Rican mountainscapes, the swiftly flowing current of the Mississippi. Don’t let such calm, picture-perfect surfaces fool you. In reality, these Places are anything but tranquil. There’s mounting uncertainty–a palpable restlessness–lurking at the perimeter of this eco-conscious block of documentary and experimental shorts. With global temperatures rising and climate change destabilizing ways of life worldwide, spaces that were once areas of respite, refuge, and stability no longer seem viable.
Noam Argov & Alex Pritz | San Francisco, CA & New York, NY | 13 min
Emil is a social media obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on Earth: an abandoned Soviet mining town in the mountains of eastern Kyrgyzstan. Why choose to live here? Because Emil wants to refashion his old village as a vacation destination for wealthy tourists and bloggers.
Ashleigh Goh | Brooklyn, NY | 3 min
Shot on location in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, this beguiling experimental short incorporates abstracted sun imagery (inspired by the works of artist Devra Freelander) with breathtaking vistas of the icy island landscape.
Maria Luisa Santos | Austin, TX | 13 min
In the winter months, migrant workers from Nicaragua travel to neighboring Costa Rica to assist with the coffee bean harvest–and usually bring their children along with them. This tender observational documentary combines scenes of work and play with stunning views of volcanic landscapes.
Julianna Villarosa | Iowa City, IA | 3 min
Using physical media (16mm film, VHS footage) destroyed by Coca-Cola, this experimental documentary short contrasts the famous “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ad with grim news regarding the soda company’s unconscionable water privatization efforts in Chiapas, Mexico.
Julianna Villarosa | Iowa City, IA | 13 min
Shot on location at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas, this tense, ruminative essay film–director Julianna Villarosa’s second to appear in this year’s festival–considers the proximity of a protected wilderness to the site of a recent oil boom.
Amanda Justice & Hogan Seidel | Brooklyn, NY & Boston, MA | 5 min
Floridians live in a state of denial. Though the landscape refuses to be tamed, residents have spent centuries trying to do just that. In this 16mm short, Indie Grits alum Amanda Justice joins forces with filmmaker Hogan Seidel to interrogate their home state’s troubled legacy of environmental manipulation.
Bill Brown | Chapel Hill, NC | 28 min
Using Mark Twain’s memoir Life on the Mississippi as a roadmap, this essay film escorts viewers down the Mississippi–from Memphis to New Orleans–and considers the ways in which paddlers, historical reenactors, civil engineers, and others attempt to know the river.