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43 short films from the front lines of climate change

NOV 14: Concordia’s Elizabeth Miller premieres her web doc about sea level rise at the Montreal International Documentary Festival
November 9, 2017
By J. Latimer

Elizabeth Miller: “By featuring stories of resilience, we hope to inspire diverse ways of responding to our changing environment.”

Rising sea levels, endangered coastlines and unpredictable weather are all hot-button issues for environmental activists and educators like Elizabeth (Liz) Miller, a documentary filmmaker and communication studies professor in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science.

“We are seeing one of the greatest migrations of all times toward coastal cities at precisely the moment we should consider retreat,” says Miller, who turned her concerns into The Shore Line project.

The new collaborative multimedia web initiative comprises 43 short videos about front-line activists in nine countries. The website also features an interactive atlas, flood maps and a database of free, classroom-ready resources.

A selection of the videos will premiere on Tuesday, November 14 at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM). They will also be available for interactive viewing in the UXdoc space — on the first floor of UQAM's Pavillon Judith-Jasmin Annexe (1564 Saint-Denis) — every day from November 9 to 19.

Solution-based stories

The videos profile artists, sustainability architects, women’s collectives, youth leaders, scientists, urban planners and NGOs, among others, who are confronting coastal challenges with imaginative and collaborative solutions.

“The project asks, ‘What can we learn from those living on the coast — the front line of environmental change’?” explains Miller, who wrote, directed and produced The Shore Line.

Viewers see collaborative initiatives that address diverse issues all over the globe, such as Norway’s precarious arctic coral reef and Florida’s nuclear waste.

There are films about Panama’s coastal garbage problem and the acidifying ocean water off the West Coast of Canada. Other films grapple with sinking islands off New Zealand, endangered Chilean glaciers and the need to plan for displaced coastal residents — to name just a few issues.

“By featuring stories of resilience from shoreline communities, we hope to inspire diverse ways of responding to our changing environment,” Miller says.

“The Shore Line was developed with and for students, teachers and organizers from around the world who are invested in innovative forms of pedagogy, media production and environmental literacy.”

Miller lightened the project’s carbon footprint by enlisting local filmmakers, academics, activists and students with connections in different countries to capture video footage.

“But the documentary films are not the endgame,” Miller says, adding that media is a first step towards engaging people in local dialogues and local solutions.

“The personal relationships forged along the way are our most useful resources.”

Attend a
40-minute screening of selected films from The Shore Line at the Montreal International Documentary Festival's UXdoc space — located on the first floor of the Pavillon Judith-Jasmin Annexe at UQAM (1564 Saint-Denis) —  on Tuesday,  November 14 at 8 p.m.

Following the screening, Elizabeth Miller will give a talk to highlight the project’s many features. Miller is also looking for teachers interested in talking about the project in their classes.


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