Launched by Mirvac together with Qantas, the competition drew more than 100 entries.
A shortlist of 10 in Open and Student Under-18 categories was judged by a panel including author, media personality and member of the NSW Climate Change Council, Adam Spencer; social entrepreneur and DoSomething founder Jon Dee; Cool Australia founder and CEO Jason Kimberley; Mirvac Group General Manager, Sustainability & HSE, Paul Edwards; and Qantas Group Manager for Carbon Strategy, Megan Flynn.
Mr Edwards said the response from individuals and schools, assisted by the partnership with Cool Australia, which provides curriculum-linked online resources to educate young Australians for a sustainable future, showed that many Australians had a real desire to embrace climate action.
“We’ve had the leaders of the world talking about climate in Paris but back here at home there are people taking action at a local level,” said Mr Edwards.
“You mightn’t think that a three minute film can make a difference but film is an incredible medium for spreading a message especially when the messenger is passionate about what they believe in.
“This was the first year of the Film Competition and we believe it is something that can grow to be even bigger and better next year.”
Budding film-makers were invited to “Nudge a Neighbour to Change a Behaviour” by submitting a three minute film on the theme – Reimagining Resources.
The winning film in the Student Group Category was produced by Years 3, 4, and 5 students at Main Upper Arm Public School in Mullumbimby, NSW. The three minute film, Listen To My Warning, involved the entire class of 20 students in writing the lyrics to a song, performing and editing. Teacher Christian Tranberg said the class had recently completed a unit in conserving energy in the classroom and were keen to raise awareness about sustainability through the film.
“I’m very proud of what they have done,” said Mr Tranberg. “The film itself has a nice professional edge and they’ve done a great job in producing it. In our little area a lot of the kids’ parents are environmentally aware and we put a lot of work into teaching them about sustainability. It sinks in and then they come with something like this film that really impresses you.”
Judges noted that the students had produced a catchy song and used humour to effectively deliver a serious message about responsible use of energy and resources.
The Student Individual Category was won by Lana Taylor who turned 10 on Thursday. Lana, who is home-schooled in Adelaide by her mother Megan Bryant, shot her film using a Canon SLR that she bought using money she saved from busking on the streets of Adelaide. Most of the money she earned from playing her cello was donated to support a child in Brazil and the rest, which she earned over a year, was used to buy the camera and a tripod.
Lana wrote the script, produced storyboards and shot the film casting her best friend Laura in the film, Nature Heroes, in which a super hero saves the world, starting with a decision to not use a plastic shopping bag.
Lana, who is hoping to carve out a career as a photographer and missionary says she got a lot of inspiration from her mum. “I do love nature and I wanted to try to get the message out,” said Lana, who has performed in a number of musical theatre performances and won a first for a monologue in an Eisteddfod.
Judges noted that Lana’s Nature Heroes made sustainable living achievable for a young audience and had the benefit of authenticity.
The Open Category was won by Sophie Matterson of Adelaide and Angus Kennedy from Sydney who co-produced the short film, Trash Tribe. The three minute documentary follows a group of young people who travel to Cape York to clean up a pristine coastline that has been polluted by marine debris.
“We really wanted to raise awareness of what is happening to our marine and coastal environment,” said Sophie. “You walk along the sand and it is just bottle after bottle. It makes you start to think about your plastic bottle usage."
Working with Clean Coast Collective Sophie and Angus set out to tell an environmental story that wasn’t about “shoving the message down people’s throats”.
“We were conscious of not presenting the situation as too doom and gloom which can often lead to inaction,” said Sophie. “There are things that people can do in their everyday life to make the situation better. The sad thing is that it is other people’s rubbish that is washing up on Cape York and many other beaches and that’s something we all need to think about and take responsibility for.”
Mr Edwards said Trash Tribe had a hard hitting message that drove home the theme of this year’s competition – Reimagining Resources.
“We have a goal to educate 1 million people about sustainability by 2020 and Trash Tribe goes straight to the heart of the matter,” said Mr Edwards. “It is engaging, entertaining and it serves a greater purpose of educating in a subtle way that is more forceful than a slogan.”
Qantas Group Manager for Carbon Strategy, Megan Flynn, said it had been difficult to split the winners amongst the top handful of films.
“This competition has produced some truly inspiring films and we are delighted that so many people have contributed,” said Ms Flynn. “It shows that there is real grass roots support for the environment and sustainable practices throughout every layer of our community.”
Judge Adam Spencer said the competition was a positive way to spread the sustainability message. “This is a fresh new film competition on a vital topic,” said Mr Spencer. “We got some really great entries and well done to all the winners.”
Winners will receive holiday packages with Qantas sustainable tourism partners Tasmanian Walking Company and Earthwatch, Qantas flights to Sydney for the screening of the winning films at the Mirvac Summer Festival in 2016 with overnight accommodation at Travelodge, digital equipment from Harvey Norman and cash. Winning films will also be screened on Qantas in-flight entertainment.