Blue Horizons Student Films

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

Produced by Bren master's students and their colleagues as part of their participation in
the summer 2010 UCSB Blue Horizons Summer Program for Environmental Media

The Films

Mission Creek was produced by second-year Bren master's student Howard Kahan and directed by the team of UCSB film studies and environmental studies magor Peter Vandenbelt and San Marcos High School student Nathalie Mitchell. The film examines history of the creek that runs through downtown Santa Barbara, why the concrete portions of it were put in, steelhead trout, and creek restoration.” Shot in high definition at sites along the creek, the film includes interviews Brian Trautwein of the Environmental Defense Center, Cameron Benson from the City of Santa Barbara.

Urban Tumbleweed was produced and edited by the team of Bren master's students Asma Mahdi and Andrea Robertson, and fourth-year film student Bobby Wilson. The film was made as a public service announcement (PSA) in support of AB 1998, which would have banned the use of single-use plastic bags in the state of California. The legislation failed to pass this fall. The main premise of the PSA is to show how plastic bag pollution impacts individuals, communities, and the state as a whole, making the point that the smallest actions have impacts on every scale. The film follows a plastic bag as it travels like a tumbleweed throughout Los Angeles, while people hold up signs stating the impacts that plastic bags have on their community.

Un Siècle Sous la Mer (A Century Under the Sea) is a tribute to the late legendary marine conservationist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Produced by Bren master's students Asma Mahdi and Andrea Robertson, and fourth-year film student Bobby Wilson, Un Siècle outlines Cousteau's influence on marine filmmaking and examines the lives of several marine scientists, conservationists, and filmmakers. It includes appearances byJean-Michel Cousteau and Bren professor of marine ecology Hunter Lenihan.

The Search for Sustainable Shrimp takes a look at aquapods, a new form of open-ocean aquaculture. Produced by Bren master's students Asma Mahdi and Andrea Robertson and featuring Bren School dean Steve Gaines, the film focuses on current shrimp-fishing practices and their impacts on local communities and the environment in Baja Mexico, and the possibility of transitioning current shrimp trawlers in Mexico to open-ocean aquaculture.


Blue Horizons is a nine-week summer program that brings together students interested in digital media production and environmental studies to learn about important issues of the global ocean from a local perspective. A coordinated series of interdisciplinary courses and related activities introduces students to scriptwriting; media portrayals of the environment; the biological, socioeconomic, and political aspects of marine conservation; and the latest innovations in environmental filmmaking.

The work provides a foundation for the research required to produce an informative film, and students in the program become more proficient in communicating effectively with their peers, policymakers, and the general public by producing short, compelling videos. Participants also study the techniques of digital video camera
operation, sound gathering, lighting, and film editing using the industry-standard Final Cut Pro software.




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