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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

Five years after launching the Green Shorts Film Festival, CEC and Traffic Solutions are coordinating a final commemorative of the festival’s top films, which will be featured at this week’s Earth Day Opening Night Party Wednesday, April 17 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Oreana Winery.

“There are so many great movies that a lot of people haven’t been able to see, and we wanted to show the best before bringing the film festival to a close,” explained Kent Epperson, Traffic Solutions Director and lead coordinator of Green Shorts.

The film festival and video contest were created to encourage local amateur filmmakers to focus on the environment, each year centering on a theme that related to CEC’s Earth Day Festival, such as “Bringing it Home,” “Powered by the People,” and “Mobilize for the Earth.” 

With such a relatively small community, it was difficult to find strong content to continue developing new movies each year, and Traffic Solutions was forced to allocate their resources to other projects.   That said, the 25 to 30 films that will be showcased this week reflect how influential art and storytelling can be. “Little actions go a long way, and individuals can make daily decisions that change the world,” says Kent.

“The filmmakers and production teams are influenced by the movies they create,” he said, “and the audience is often touched by the films and motivated to change their behavior as a result.” In addition to the screening events that took place over the last four years, several of the short films found a broader audience, being promoted online via websites, additional events, and public access television.  For example, CEC commissioned Erin Feinblatt’s Pointless Plastic for its Rethink the Drink campaign, and Seinn Schlidt’s short film Ride was accepted into the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.  

Kent also credits the project with helping to create a sense of community.  “It wouldn’t have happened without individuals passionate about a particular topic and the numerous hours it takes to create a 2-minute piece,” he said. He fondly remembers looking into the audience and seeing new faces that wouldn’t otherwise have established a relationship and connection with Traffic Solutions, but were able to “meet through the minds of creativity.”

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