Independence from Plastic: A ‘Micro’ Plastic-Free Film Contest

Plastic pollutes our lives. With plastic-wrapped products lining the shelves and near-daily new reports detailing the amounts of microplastics and nanoplastics in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and even inside of our bodies, it’s hard to imagine a world without plastic. But a better, brighter, plastic-free day is possible.

That’s why we’re asking filmmakers of all levels to give us a glimpse of the plastic-free future they want to see, with a chance to take home $3,000.

Introducing…

Independence from Plastic: A ‘Micro’ Plastic-Free Film Contest

Independence from Plastic challenges filmmakers to show us their positive vision of a plastic-free future in micro films of 60 seconds or less. Any style, any genre, any vision, just show us the positive plastic-free world you want to see.

Additionally, we’re challenging our filmmakers to go plastic-free behind the scenes, submitting a brief report detailing how production worked to eliminate single-use plastics, manage waste and materials, reduce energy and fuel usage, and source sustainable products. Experts from Earth Angel will review all sustainability reports.

The winning filmmakers will receive a cash prize of $3,000. Submissions are due Tuesday, June 7, 2024.

This contest is presented by Plastic Pollution Coalition, Judd Apatow, Hollywood, Health & Society, the Mazursky Family Foundation, the Yarkin Family, and the Johnson Ohana Foundation.

Contest Details

Prize:

First Place Prize:

  • $3,000 cash prize
  • Film to be shown in front of industry professionals at the Hollywood, Health & Society Sentinel Awards
  • Plastic Pollution Coalition swag bag of plastic-free goodies
  • Film promotion across contest partners’ social media platforms and websites
  • Select feedback from our notable panel of judges

Top 4 runners-up will also receive

  • Plastic Pollution Coalition swag bag of plastic-free goodies
  • Film promotion across contest partners social media platforms and websites
  • Select feedback from our notable panel of judges

All contestants will receive feedback from round one judging regarding their sustainability reports.

Notable Judges:

Resources:

Rules:

  • Each submission must include:
    • Film title and logline.
    • Email and mailing address for communications and prize.
    • A completed sustainability report detailing how production worked to eliminate single-use plastics, manage waste and materials, reduce energy and fuel usage, and source sustainable products.
  • Films must be 60 seconds in length or less.
    • Credits may be included, up to an additional 30 seconds, but the credits may not contain additional footage.
    • Any film with footage over 60 seconds will be disqualified.
  • Films must be submitted via the OpenWater platform by Friday, June 7th – 11:59pm PT.
    • No late submissions will be accepted.
    • Film submissions will not be accepted via email or any other means.
  • Submissions must be .mp4 files no larger than 500mb.
  • Films may be submitted in any language, however English subtitles are required for any film submitted in another language.
  • Only one submission allowed per person.
  • Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based on another person’s life or on a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.
  • Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to: music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. Contest partners expressly disclaim all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

For all contest questions and inquiries, please contact: Amelia@plasticpollutioncoalition.org

Contest Timeline:

Launch Date: Tuesday, April 16

Submissions due: Friday, June 7th – 11:59pm PT 

Round One Judging: June 10–14 

Experts from Plastic Pollution Coalition, Earth Angel, and Hollywood, Health & Society will review all submitted films based on contest criteria and sustainability reports. Sustainability report scores will account for ¼ of the overall first round score. The top 15 films will be selected to move on to final judging. 

Final Judging:  June 17–21

Our panel of notable judges will review the top 15 films based on creativity, originality, and messaging and select the winning film and top 4 runners-up. 
Winners Announced: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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April 12 , 7:00 am 8:40 pm EDT

Join PBS’s American Experience for a preview of POISONED GROUND: THE TRAGEDY AT LOVE CANAL, a new documentary film premiering Mon., April 22 at 9/8c on PBS stations nationwide.

Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal tells the dramatic and inspiring story of the ordinary women who fought against overwhelming odds for the health and safety of their families. In the late 1970s, residents of Love Canal, a working-class neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, discovered that their homes, schools and playgrounds were built on top of a former chemical waste dump, which was now leaking toxic substances and wreaking havoc on their health. Through interviews with many of the extraordinary housewives turned activists, the film shows how they effectively challenged those in power, forced America to reckon with the human cost of unregulated industry, and created a grassroots movement that galvanized the landmark Superfund Bill.

A panel discussion featuring film participants and makers will follow the preview.

Panelists:

Jamila Ephron (Writer, Producer, Director) has been producing and directing documentary films for nearly 20 years. Her most recent film was The Blinding of Isaac Woodard, which premiered on American Experience in 2022. Her previous works for the series include Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation and George W. Bush, among many other films.

Lois Gibbs was president of the Love Canal Homeowners Association and is also featured in the film. She led the successful effort to secure government-funded relocation and health testing for outer community residents. She is the founder and former executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

Carol Jones is a former resident of the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York. She is a living witness interviewed in the film, who recounts the efforts of her, her mother, and her community at Griffon Manor housing project to advocate for the rights of renters in the face of the Love Canal disaster.

The conversation will moderated by Cameo George. Cameo is an Emmy Award-winning producer, writer and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in documentary, broadcast television and digital content production. George has produced, developed and commissioned innovative programming at CNN, NBC News, ABC News and more.

April 18 , 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EDT

Join us for this special live Earth Day event (online, 60 mins.) featuring special preview footage from the powerful new film, Single Use Planet, and a panel discussion with leading experts Sean O’Leary of the Ohio River Valley Institute, Gail LeBoeuf of Inclusive Louisiana, and Jackie Nuñez of Plastic Pollution Coalition. The event will focus on the politics, science, and environmental impact of single use plastics.

March 21 , 8:00 am March 30 , 5:00 pm EDT

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital’s mission is to inform and inspire our community through the power of film to incite change and take action so that we can preserve our planet for generations to come. Take part in viewing 60+ films and attending 30+ premiere events.

March 24 , 6:00 pm 8:30 pm EDT

At this year’s DC Environmental Film Festival, join us in honoring Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., recipient of the 2024 Environmental Chamption Award, presented by the Hollomon Price Foundation, co-presented with Hip Hop Caucus!

Location: Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Closest Metro Station: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter)

6:00pm: This special event will begin with a public reception for ticketholders and participants.

7:00pm: We’ll present Rev Yearwood with the Environmental Champion Award and he’ll sit down for a conversation with Mustafa Santiago Ali (Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation).

7:45pm: The program will commence with a screening of the new Hip Hop Caucus short film Underwater Projects, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and featured subjects.

March 21 , 8:00 am March 30 , 5:00 pm EDT

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital’s mission is to inform and inspire our community through the power of film to incite change and take action so that we can preserve our planet for generations to come.

This year’s film festival schedule, film guide, and updates are now available.