SOC to host Eco-Comedy video contest
Participants aim to educate and entertain viewers with short films on the topic of clean water.
The Center for Environmental Filmmaking in the School of Communication is hosting its fifth annual Eco-Comedy Video Competition in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
This year’s theme is “Clean Water”, and the competition organizers are asking entrants to “‘connect the drops’ between clean water and life” by producing a clear but humorous message about the importance of clean water and conservation in general, according to the contest’s announcement on the center’s webpage. Previous years have focused on such topics as climate change and clean air.
“We get around 70 to 100 submissions every year,” according to AU professor Chris Palmer, who created the Center for Environmental Filmmaking 11 years ago upon beginning his residence at the University. He was also the one who started the contest five years ago. “Some of them end up being very good and give people a lot of pleasure.”
Submissions for the competition should be both funny and meaningful, according to the official contest rules posted on the Center for Environmental Filmmaking’s webpage. Entries must be no longer than three minutes including title and credits. Additionally, all entrants must post a link to their video in the comments section on the Eco-Comedy Video Competition of 2016 YouTube video. All entries must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on March 1.
A panel of five judges will review the entries and release the names of about six finalists, depending on the judges’ preference, by March 4. The grand prize winner, who will receive $2,000, will be announced at the DC Environmental Film Festival at AU on March 22.
Palmer, the creator of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, immigrated to the United States in 1972 after an expansive career including service in the Royal Navy. Shortly thereafter, Palmer gained interest in the ecological impact of humans on the world around them.
“My whole approach to environmental filmmaking is about producing the results,” he said. “Things like swimming with sharks aren’t entirely relevant, since that’s just fun and interesting. What really matters is [whether] the films achieve any impact. Films which have no impact are not worth making.”
Palmer also said he likes to perform stand-up comedy in his free time, a hobby which blended with his passion for filmmaking to form the Eco-Comedy Video Competition.
According to Palmer, the bond between the environment and humor may be unusual at first-glance, but the connection makes sense when people realize the powerful influence which comedy brings to the table.
“When people laugh, they’re healthier, they find life more meaningful,” Palmer said. “Comedy, I think, has a major role to play in changing minds. When people are laughing, they are going to be more open to new ideas.”