Texas Tech University

'Between Earth and Sky' Chosen for Prestigious Film Festival in Nation's Capitol

George Watson

January 16, 2017

Between Earth & Sky

The film will be screened at the 2017 Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

Paul Allen Hunton
Paul Allen Hunton

A film produced by a Texas Tech University professor and directed by KTTZ-TV general manager Paul Allen Hunton, has been selected for a prestigious national film festival.

"Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier" has been chosen for screening at the 2017 Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. The festival is scheduled for March 14-26 throughout the nation's capital.

The film is produced by David C. Weindorf, the associate dean for research and the BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology in the Department of Plant and Soil Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It is directed by Hunton, a two-time Emmy Award winner from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the Lonestar Region for his work in non-fiction directing.

"I hope the film reaches a broad audience because I feel we've made a movie that not only displays the larger issues of climate change that we face as a species, but also tells the human stories of those suffering now, specifically in the arctic," Hunton said. "I'm proud to have directed the film and to have worked alongside Dr. Weindorf and my staff at Texas Tech Public Media on this crucial issue."

David C. Weindorf
David C. Weindorf

By highlighting the extensive work of University of Alaska-Fairbanks researcher Chien-Lu Ping, the film documents the effects of climate change on the arctic soils and ecosystems of Alaska and how it is altering both the wildlife and the residents of the state.

Excerpts of the film were presented by Weindorf in November at the prestigious Council of Parties (COP22) international climate talks in Morocco. It is a collaborative effort between Weindorf, Texas Tech Public Media, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Tech and Alaska-Fairbanks.

"I'm very thankful for the administration at Texas Tech for supporting projects that strive to make the world a better place," Hunton said. "Between Earth and Sky' is an example of "bearing our banners far and wide' for Texas Tech in research science, filmmaking and public media."

Being selected for this festival is, Weindorf hopes, just the first step toward the film being released worldwide. The more festivals at which it is screened, the better the chance it could be picked up for distribution by media entities such as PBS or the Discovery Channel.

Weindorf said the film also is scheduled for screening at the European Geophysical Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna, Austria, in April, and a national film tour is being assembled. He also hopes the film could be added to a video streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu.

"What started out as a simple idea to capture the knowledge and perspective of Dr. Chien-Lu Ping's last arctic soils field tour has evolved into a film that is now being nationally and internationally recognized," Weindorf said.

"There are so many people to thank on this project: the agencies who came together to provide funding to get it off the ground and believed in our message, the task force that developed the content and concepts, the amazing scientists featured in the film who gave us unprecedented access to places not open to the general public, and most of all, Paul and his team at KTTZ. Truly, without his vision for this, we have video of people talking about soils. It takes a special talent to take a subject like soils and ecosystems and bring them to life in a visually stunning, beautiful film."

To find out more about the film and view its trailers, go to its website.

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