A series of short films produced by students in Blue Horizons, the nine-week summer program for environmental media at UC Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center, will screen on Friday, August 23, in the campus’s Pollock Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

Four documentaries will be presented at the screening, which begins at 7 p.m. Among the subjects covered are the effects of controlled burns on wildlife and communities in Santa Barbara; attempts by mobile home park residents to prevent Southern California Gas Company from adding four new wells on Goleta Beach mesa; the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant; and the impact of great white shark sightings on Carpinteria State Beach.

“Students in the Blue Horizons program really seem to take something significant from their experience. Much more than a college course, for some this is the beginning of a career in documentary film,” said Michael Hanrahan, who co-founded Blue Horizons with Constance Penley, professor of film and media studies at UCSB and co-director of the Carsey-Wolf Center. Fifteen undergraduate and graduate students –– many of them first-time filmmakers –– worked independently or in teams, each producing a 10-minute film.

“This is an extremely demanding program,” Hanrahan continued. “Producing a 10-minute film in just nine weeks is very difficult, and every one of our students has risen to the occasion. I’m very proud of their work. Watching our students perform in the field –– filming interviews in particular –– shows me that the hand-on skills we’ve taught them are being applied not just in the controlled environment of the classroom, but in the hard-scrabble real world, too.”

Now in its seventh year, Blue Horizons is part of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Environmental Media Initiative. The program 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; 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. Students in the program become 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.

More information about Blue Horizons can be found at http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/emi/blue-horizons.


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