By Nancy Austin, PhD – newportFILM Outdoors Summer 2017 Humanities Blogger
With support from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities (RICH)
This Thursday, July 6, 2017, newportFILM Outdoors will screen the epic documentary Chasing Coral at St. Georges School in Middletown, Rhode Island, overlooking scenic Second Beach and the sanctuaries of Paradise Valley. All are welcome to this free public event. Most people arrive between 6:35pm and 8:00pm to settle in on their chairs and picnic blankets, say hello, enjoy a picnic, taste the local food for sale (or free popcorn), visit the various sponsor booths, and listen to the live music. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will introduce the film at 8:20pm, with the ninety-minute film beginning around 8:30pm. The screening is followed by a live post-film discussion with the Chasing Coral’s director and producer, before the evening wraps up around 10:30pm. This is the third film of the summer 2017 season of documentaries offered by newportFILM, a local initiative founded in 2010 to promote civic engagement around the young art of non-fiction film.
Chasing Coral tells the story of the changing ocean’s impact worldwide on the tiny miraculous marine animal colonies we collectively call coral. It is a love letter, a horror story, and a plea for us to rewrite a better ending. Like its companion film, Chasing Ice, this new documentary communicates an urgent need for collective action to address climate change and environmental degradation. More than anything, Chasing Coral is a call to action. In this way, the public-gathering aspect of Thursday’s outdoor public screening by the sea is especially relevant. Exposure Labs, the team that made the film, envisions the documentary as a genre of civic activism. Their impact mission is “to change the world” by raising awareness and mobilizing communities for grassroots change. For example, in the past, they have leveraged Chasing Ice to “shift the political conversation around climate change” by mobilizing one Congressional district, where the Congressman had denied climate change. In solidarity, the Chasing Coral website affirms Margaret Mead’s activist belief “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In today’s foggy climate of fake news, Exposure Lab deploys the documentary as a beacon for change agents.
Catalyzing civic engagement to act now on climate change is the impact mission behind this Thursday’s newportFILM documentary. Chasing Coral is a cultural ambassador, exploring the emotional power of visual story-telling to urgently convey factual information and spur gathered audiences into cascading action. Time is ticking. Yet, if we come together and act together, collaborative change is still possible. Join newportFILM this Thursday to learn more. Or to get involved now, check out the Chasing Coral website: www.chasingcoral.com/#action
Film screening details:
Thursday, July 6
St. George’s Scgool Lawn (372 Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI)
newportFILM Outdoors is presented by Lila Delman Real Estate International.
This screening is supported by 11th Hour Racing.