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Nature & Environments
Climate Futures: Storytelling, Film, and Indigenous Knowledge
Maya Lilly, Cecilia Aldarondo, Pita Juarez, Jade Begay, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Nikhil Swaminathan
September 22, 2022
12:00 pm
 - 2:00 pm
Reserve a Seat
Climate Futures
Storytelling, Film, and Indigenous Knowledge

Climate Futures: Storytelling, Film, and Indigenous Knowledge

Part of Climate Week NYC: Promising solutions to the climate crisis exist — they just haven’t yet gained sufficient momentum to tip the scales, but there are visionaries and innovators out there who are working to change that.

We call these folks ‘Fixers’ and their bold ideas are powering real, tangible progress in climate solutions. Join the Grist 50 Fixers for an afternoon of conversation and to dig  into the hard work and hopefulness that powers their innovative approach to the future. This event will consist of two panels, outlined below. 

Keep Climate Off the Cutting Room Floor: Climate Storytelling in Film

We are living through a great transition. While climate change is radically altering our planet and our daily lives, the privileged still see it as a crisis decades away, while predominantly Black, Indigenous, and communities of color on the frontlines are left to grapple with today’s very real consequences. To solve this consequential disconnect, filmmakers are working to tell better stories and to share with climate activists the narrative tools that have long proven successful in Hollywood, to elevate and magnify the experiences of the people who are confronted every day by the ramifications of our changing climate. Join documentary filmmakers Maya Lilly, Pita Juarez, and Cecilia Aldarondo for a practical discussion around moving the needle of our climate narrative with emotion, empathy, and hopeful solutions, using the tools of storytelling to drive action and change.   

Indigenous Knowledge for our Climate Future

There has been a recent increase in the exploration of Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) as an essential part of climate knowledge and policy. But without the full scope of being in relationship with Indigenous Peoples, the Earth, and our kinships, this also comes with an increase in exploitation. In December 2021, the White House announced it will commit to elevating ITEK in policy processes, and more and more of the global political and climate leaders are turning to Indigenous Peoples for their knowledge and experiences. This progress is necessary and the complex histories and cultures involved make the implementation of traditional knowledge at the political level challenging to navigate. So what are the ways that Indigenous Peoples want to share their knowledge, envision their futures, and have them protected? Join Jade Begay and Cannupa Hunska Luger for an Indigenous-led conversation that examines ITEK as climate knowledge and as a way to guide the world toward a future in which humans are in right-relationship with the earth.

September 22, 2022
12:00 pm
 - 2:00 pm
Reserve a Seat
Panel of Speakers
Maya Lilly
Fixer

Maya Lilly (she/her) is a film and tv producer who helps the climate movement get better at telling its own tales. She was the producer for acclaimed documentarian Lauren Greenfield for many years (Queen of Versailles, Always Like a Girl commercial) and produced the feature docs Generation Wealth and The Big Fix, as well as several docuseries about Black resistance and undocumented narratives. She is currently the producer of original climate content for The YEARS Project, the team that did the Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously with James Cameron. She is focused on uplifting frontline BIPOC climate narratives, and has worked with the Navajo, Hopi, Anishinaabe, Gwich’in, Cancer Alley communities, Moloka’i indigenous, climate journalists, and pipeline protestors.

Cecilia Aldarondo
Fixer

Cecilia Aldarondo is a director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics. Her feature documentaries MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART (2016) and LANDFALL (2020) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and were co-produced by the award-winning PBS series POV. LANDFALL's many awards include the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival Viewfinders Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, as well as Cinema Eye and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Currently she is directing her third feature, a co-production with HBO. Among Aldarondo's fellowships and honors are the 2022 IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Guggenheim, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the 2021 New America Fellowship, and Women at Sundance 2017. In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC's 40 Under 40 list and is one of 2015’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She teaches at Williams College.

Pita Juarez
Fixer

Pita Juarez -A queer, immigrant woman of Guatemalan descent, Pita Juarez is a filmmaker, strategist, storyteller, organizer, and creative, based in Phoenix. With roots in the progressive movements, Pita challenges the “status quo” by shifting cultural narratives, empowering marginalized communities, and uplifting unspoken stories while transcending traditional media boundaries in the fight for environmental justice.

Jade Begay
Fixer

Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, is Diné and Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico. Begay leads NDN Collective’s climate justice campaign work and brings extensive experience working in climate justice movement spaces throughout Turtle Island and within Indigenous communities across the globe. She has also worked as a multimedia producer, filmmaker and communications professional working in non-profit and Indigenous organizations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video and a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Leadership.

Cannupa Hanska Luger
Fixer

Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multidisciplinary artist and an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota). Through monumental installations and social collaboration, Luger activates speculative fiction and communicates stories about 21st Century Indigeneity, combining critical cultural analysis with dedication and respect for the diverse materials, environments, and communities he engages. He lectures and produces large-scale projects around the globe and his works are in many public collections. Luger is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship Award for Craft and was named a 2021 GRIST Fixer, he is a 2020 Creative Capital Fellow, a 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, and the recipient of the Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 inaugural Burke Prize, among others.

Nikhil Swaminathan
Grist Interim CEO and Editor in Chief

Nikhil oversees Grist’s Editorial program, and the organization more broadly in this capacity as Interim CEO. Under Nikhil’s direction, Grist Editorial has won numerous awards and published major investigations. Nikhil began his tenure at Grist as Senior Justice Editor, founding the Environmental Justice Desk. He’s held editorial positions at Scientific American, Al Jazeera America, GOOD, Archaeology and others. Prior to joining Grist, he was in the inaugural class of Ida B. Wells fellows at The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

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Climate Futures: Storytelling, Film, and Indigenous Knowledge
Maya Lilly, Cecilia Aldarondo, Pita Juarez, Jade Begay, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Nikhil Swaminathan
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