Announcing the “Independence from Plastic” Short Film Contest Winners

Earlier this year we launched Independence from Plastic: A ‘micro’ plastic-free film contest, which challenged filmmakers to show us their positive vision of a plastic-free future in micro films of 60 seconds or less. 

Additionally, we challenged the filmmakers to go plastic free behind the scenes, submitting a brief report detailing how their production teams worked to eliminate single-use plastics, manage waste and materials, reduce energy and fuel usage, and source sustainable products. These reports were reviewed by our expert partners from Earth Angel.

This contest was made possible with the generous support of Judd Apatow, Hollywood, Health & Society, the Johnson Ohana Foundation, the Mazursky Family Foundation, and the Yarkin Family.

We received a wide array of films from across the globe, and we are grateful to all of the filmmakers who worked to create sustainable, beautiful, and plastic-free micro films.

After careful review by our expert and notable judges, taking both the films’ content, entertainment value, and sustainability reports into consideration, we are pleased to announce the contest winners.

Grand Prize Winner

Do you want to see a life without plastic?

A witness to the arrival of plastic and a representative of the new generations review what elements were used before and discuss the effects that nanoparticles generate within our body.

Directed by Lorna Santiago

“Intergenerational impact is evident, shifting baselines of what is normal is well conveyed. A time before plastics shows the solution as a lived reality.” — Asher Jay, Artist, Designer, Conservationist 

“Well thought out, cinematically pleasing, very informative.” — Maria Sten, Writer, Actor (Reacher, Swamp Thing)

“Good information and well done.” — Judd Apatow, Writer, Director, Producer (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin)

“Such a well-made film! Loved the shots and the angles and music and V.O., while also being incredibly informative.” — Sarah Yarkin, Actor (School Spirits, Platonic)

“I really appreciated this film’s point of view and chosen facts to highlight throughout the film. The visuals were also beautiful which held my attention and was emotionally evocative.” — Emellie O’Brien, CEO of Earth Angel

Sustainability report highlight:

We haven’t used any single-use plastic except for the one we used to fall on the girl and float in the water. We rescued this plastic from recycle bins. We dared to do it because we believed it was the clearest way to generate the sensation of having plastic inside the body. During filming we did not have meals, we drank water from glass glasses and used canvas backpacks to carry the equipment.

We strive every day to generate the least impact on the environment in filming, insisting on good practices with our colleagues. We perceive that setting an example and talking about the topic generates great impact.

Second Place

No Plastic in Me

After being one of the top plastic polluters in the world, Snow Cola has seen the light and gone plastic free.

Directed by Adam Wademan 

“This is wonderfully produced and has a terrific, upbeat message.” — Amy Aquino, Actor (Bosch, Working Girl)

“Very catchy tune, funny and memorable. Great entertainment with messaging.” — Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect

“Very fun and creative!” — Gina Belafonte, Actor and Producer, Daughter of Harry Belafonte 

Sustainability report highlight:

The only new materials that were purchased specifically for this film were five glass cola bottles. All other materials were previously owned prior to the project. All clothing used was personal and previously owned by any of the talent on screen. We specifically told them not to buy anything new for this project and selected outfits from their wardrobe they already had. The plastic Snow Cola bottle is a prop that I have used for other projects and continue to use.

Third Place

Back in Time

We are bombarded with plastic today…but it wasn’t always this way. Life can be simple again and we need to find that “shift” back to a plastic free life.

Directed by Wendy E. Reynolds

“I like the solutions-oriented perspective and the good examples shown and spoke about simple shopping changes we can make.” — Allison Agsten, Director of USC Annenberg Center for Climate Journalism and Communication

“I enjoyed the witty exploration of how the times may change, but plastic will outlast us and our trends! I also appreciated that it showed simple changes to eliminate our dependence on single-use plastics. The syncing of sound needed some work.” — Tamika Katon-Donegal, Actor (Side Hustle, Agent Carter)

“Yes! Very clear storytelling, and nice use of nostalgia.” — Ed Begley Jr., Actor, Author, and Environmentalist

Sustainability report highlight:

It’s hard to describe our single-use avoidance practices because it has become second nature to us at this point where, “We just do.” We have operated a single-use plastic free business, to the best of our ability, for close to 10 years now. We actively operate “plastic free” sets and it is printed in bold on all of our call sheets. Our small crew use reusables during any production and throughout post-production. Anyone who works with us is advised on how to adhere to our “less waste” and single-use free practices. This comes with education and leading by example. We find it easier to offer a controlled environment and take on the extra steps needed to avoid single-use plastic and excessive waste on our sets. This entails a lot of time to source local and offer most amenities in house.

Fourth Place

The Last Piece of Plastic

In a future museum, a woman encounters the last piece of plastic, which comes to life and shares its longing memories of the world it once knew.

Directed by Allie Corser-James

“Really liked the aspirational aspect—plastic bags are EXTINCT and a part of history… that we don’t miss! Funny use of stop-motion animation.” — Tamika Katon-Donegal, Actor (Side Hustle, Agent Carter)

“I really appreciated this approach to highlighting the weight that the ‘last plastic bag’ will hold for people in a plastic-free world. I think this POV is a very relatable one for those that have full awareness of the impact of plastic waste.” — Emellie O’Brien, CEO of Earth Angel 

“Such a clever original approach…I loved this!” — Ed Begley Jr., Actor, Author, and Environmentalist 

Sustainability report highlight:

The main way this film tackled waste management was by maintaining a small-scale production while delivering a film with a larger, impactful premise. I decided to tackle this project alone to minimize waste, centering my premise on rethinking waste and single-use plastic. The star of the film is a piece of single-use plastic, which I gave new life. By keeping the production small, I ensured it produced little to no waste. After shooting, the plastic bag was repurposed.

Fifth Place

Matata’s Dream

Matata has a bad dream about being attacked by microplastics but he awakes and all is well.

Directed by Ross Franks

“Fun and playful and creative.” — Ben Von Wong, Artist and Activist

“Very clever use of puppets for such an important deadly message told as a premonition. Loved it.” — Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect

“Adorable and fun.” — Alysia Reiner, Actor (Ms. Marvel, Orange is the New Black)

Sustainability report highlight:

We used as small a crew as possible (five in all, including one intern) to create this film with people taking on multiple roles. This reduces not only the carbon footprint of getting to and from work but also helps with avoidance of single-use plastics. Less crew means less chances of our studio’s single-use plastic ban policies not being followed. General studio practices included use of refillable water bottles (preferably made of metal). We use a water dispenser instead of single-use plastic water bottles. Our catering people deliver food in reusable containers and their kitchen is within walking distance of our studio, so they can deliver our food by foot. Breakfast was delivered in brown paper bags. Lunch is brought to us on large porcelain plates covered in aluminum foil. Coffee and tea on set is served in porcelain mugs which are also used for drinking water if no refillable bottles have been brought to the shoot by crew members. We use metal thermos flasks to hold boiled water for making hot beverages, so the kettle is not constantly in use. We purchase coffee and tea in large containers, with the coffee in metal tins and loose tea in cardboard boxes to avoid single-use packaging. If the crew orders soda for lunch, this is delivered to us in glass bottles by the caterer and we do not use straws of any kind.

A very special thank you to our notable judges.

Learn More & Get Involved

Learn more about Flip the Script on Plastics, including additional resources and latest news on how we’re helping Hollywood eliminate single-use plastics from sets and storylines. To get involved with our initiative, contact


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