For the One Earth Film Festival (OEFF), when the credits roll, the conversation is just beginning.
“The One Earth audience experience often flows like this: watch the film, absorb and digest, discuss and identify an environmental action you can take”, reads a piece titled Focus on Facilitators in this year’s Festival Guide. “We want audience members to leave with something they didn’t have when they arrived, be it fresh information, a deeper understanding, a new connection, or a pledge that will set them on a course of action for the planet.”
After each of the 67 screenings happening this month throughout the Chicagoland area, audiences will engage in solutions-oriented discussions led by facilitators trained in ICA’s focused conversation method. By taking audiences who have just watched a film together through a guided conversation that ends with a commitment to action, the focused conversation is uniquely suited to OEFF’s mission to “educate, raise awareness, and inspire the adoption of solution-oriented sustainable actions.”
That mission deeply resonates with ours, which is why ICA has partnered with OEFF since the beginning. A key component of OEFF’s model is the way in which they engage partnerships with organizations across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. In 2019, the festival has 60 distinct venues as well as panelists and action partners who bring additional perspectives and relevant initiatives with which attendees can connect directly. Last year, when ICA hosted a screening of After the Spill, attendees learned more from a panel including representatives of Oil and Water Don't Mix, Audubon Great Lakes, Patagonia, and Chicago 350, facilitated by staff member Samantha Sainsbury.
This year ICA co-hosted with Truman College a screening of Paris to Pittsburgh, a film honoring individuals, communities, and local governments who are demanding and developing climate change solutions in the wake of President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017. Katherine Oliver, Executive Producer of Paris to Pittsburgh, noted that "those featured in the film are the nation’s forward-looking mayors and governors, environmental advocates, community leaders and student activists, tech and energy visionaries, small business owners, and climate change scientists." The film succeeds in lifting up this diverse array of voices and the impact of local communities.
After the screening, Samantha once again facilitated a focused conversation with the audience, as well as a panel featuring Kyra Woods of Sierra Club Illinois and Howard Learner of Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Notably, ICA staff are not the only ones to be inspired by the film; later this month, ICA colleagues Carleton and Ellie Stock will also be screening Paris to Pittsburgh to stimulate local action in their community of Ferguson, Missouri.