Saving the world one film at a time

JESS MCALLEN
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2014
Michelle Vergel de Dios, 22, Hannah, Anke Nieschmidt
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WINNERS: Michelle Vergel de Dios, 22, and sister Hannah, with Kiwi director Andrew Adamson and Anke Nieschmidt of The Enviroschools Foundation.

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From saving the globe to Golden Globes - young Kiwi film-makers are dominating environmentally-focused international film festivals, with a raft of nominations last week.

Two Aucklanders were nominated for the Youth Award at the so-called "Green Oscars" - the Wildscreen Panda Awards - which take place in October. One of the nominees is 17-year-old Natasha Bishop, a Unitec film student.

Bishop was 16 when she made Arboraceous, a four-minute climate change film that follows the story of people cutting down every tree before going off to find a new planet. One person is left behind and replants everything and, when everyone returns, they find a beautiful planet.

Bishop said her generation has a duty to think about sustainability. "We do need to improve, we need to start educating people what it means to be sustainable and then actually carry that out."

The film has no dialogue and is just music and pictures. It was made for New Zealand's sustainability-based film competition Outlook for Someday. On winning the Big Picture Award and Standout Winner at the 2012 Outlook for Someday ceremony, Bishop decided to leave school and study for a Bachelor of film studies.

Arboraceous from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

In March this year Arboraceous also achieved international success in the Nation's Capital Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC. "I don't know if I will go to these awards though, it might coincide with my study and it's very expensive. I got crowd-funding for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in 2013 but that was a very difficult process."

Bishop hopes to carry on her film-making ambitions in the future - with an environmental flavour. "It's my ideal career path, I especially like animation. I've got a few projects I'm working on."

Bishop is joined by another Aucklander, 22-year-old Michelle Vergel de Dios, who will also be competing for the Youth Award. She made a three-minute film, 15 Ways, featuring her sister Hannah Vergel de Dios, which won the Enviroschools Young Voices For Change Award at The Outlook for Someday awards in 2013.

15 Ways from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

The Wildscreen Panda Awards received 488 film entries from 42 countries.

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- Sunday Star Times

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