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'Sustainable Stories' film fest attracts filmmakers, artists with powerful environmental message


University of Houston-Clear Lake’s second annual Sustainable Stories Film Fest, spotlighting films and art focusing on themes of sustainability and environmental advocacy, will take place in the Bayou Theater and in the Art Gallery Nov. 10-11.

Associate Professor of Communications and Digital Media Michael Brims, the event’s co-founder and main organizer, said that the event received three times as many submissions as last year, with filmmakers and  artists from over 40 countries sending their work.

“I wanted to create an event showcasing ideas and stories of sustainability as well as empower filmmakers and artists around the world working on sustainability-related subjects and stories,” Brims said. “We received over 180 submissions in a variety of categories. This year’s special festival focus areas are the responsible use of water and environmental advocacy.”

In particular, the categories about the responsible use of water and environmental advocacy were chosen because the university’s 2022 First-Year Seminar Program Common Reader selection is “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City,” by Mona Hanna-Attisha. The novel explores the water crisis in Flint, Michigan from the author’s perspective as a pediatrician, and delves into the ways in which parents, researchers and community organizers combined efforts to fight for safe, clean drinking water.

The two-day event includes screenings of films, as well as a vendor expo, a concert in the Bayou Theater featuring the Free Radicals, and a panel discussion highlighting Chante Davis, who led a group of high school students on a march from New Orleans to Houston to raise awareness about climate change.

The gallery exhibition will continue through Dec. 9 with daily scheduled screenings in its adjacent black box cinema.

The festival is a joint effort by Brims and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management Kathleen Garland, the Bayou Theater and the Art Gallery, the Institute for Human and Planetary Sustainability, and Houston-based Citizen’s Environmental Coalition. The festival is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts. 

For more information about the festival,  participating films and artwork as well as screening times, go online.