AMPLIFYING FEEDBACK LOOP, 2min., USA, Animation
Directed by Vanessa Sweet
Unfolding visual poetry loops and transforms, advocating for the need for sustainable futures and community action.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Climate Change is an increasingly intense and impactful problem we are all currently facing. I felt particularly strongly to gear my work towards advocacy and activism after living for six years in Alaska, three of which was in Shishmaref, Alaska. There, I listened to the living memory of the folks who live there. Shishmaref's community if 99.8% Shishmaref Iñupiat-- and the island they live on is eroding at astronomical rates. The sea ice isn't freezing when it should, and is melting too soon. Permafrost is thawing, and animals are rapidly changing their migration paths.
I was witness to this change first hand-- and while I knew these to be true, not facing it at extremes can soften our urgency on an issue. I ended up moving away from Shishmaref for my current teaching position-- but that doesn't mean people and this planet aren't in need. It is important to make work , for me, that speaks out and encourages postive change for the future. Shishmaref film-maker Dennis Davis is recording these changes to the island via his drones, I would highly encourage everyone to seek out his work and watch it to learn more-- to get a sense of what is happening in Alaska as well as the southern US, and to hear from that community.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this film?
The concept for this film was sparked in 2019 after attending a workshop on Citizen Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but the production of the work spanned from June 2022 until February 2023.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
My largest obstacle with this film was the enormity of what I wanted to convey versus the time-frame I had to make the work. Climate Change is a huge,multi-tiered monster; Meaning trying to explain everything I wanted to and convey the enormity of the problem was nearly impossible to tackle. There is an 8 minute storyboard of the film, and a 5 minute cut, but both versions ended diced and chopped many times to create this work. There is still a part of me that yearns for the longer version, but my own timeline dictated I needed to make many executive decisions to ensure the production finished on time.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?
I felt very grateful that the work resonated with so many people. I appreciated those who not only enjoyed the message, but also those who could critique the work at where it sat, which is very helpful as a film-maker.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Interestingly enough, I thought I would play a smaller role in filmmaking for many years, and only wanted to be an animator for others. I went to school to learn how to animate, and graduated in 2012. But in 2013 I underwent a change, and found myself wanting to make work that mattered and could make a difference-- as well as help me understand my own voice. It was then I started my first solo independent film Wild Woman (2018).
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Tough question. It may be a tie between Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke" and my guilty favorite Joe Wright's "Pride and Prejudice".
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking
My favorite part of festivals is seeing other people and meeting other film-makers and artists. Any opportunity to do a meet-and-greet, or virtual Q+A sessions open to the public are always exciting for me. Listening and getting turned on to what others are doing, and connecting, is a joy.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I've used Film-freeway for years, and find it very easy to use. It's been my favorite platform since 2012.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Any one with new or old friends and laughter.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I am continuing to explore methods to discuss sustainability in my work-- and also re-engage with my lens as a woman and a mother. I have two current works I have been nurturing-- with much of my time focusing on one, where I am re-purposing and revitalizing torn clothing to create sequential animations. I am testing embroidery and creating under-the-camera work to use my hands more and the computer less.