10 Second Film Festival features student-produced videos about climate change


Illustration by Eliana Storkamp

District 65 Climate Action Teams organized a film screening event on Earth Day featuring student-made films about climate action.

Xuandi Wang, Reporter

William Skin, a nine-year-old Evanston resident, said he considers himself an avid filmmaker. Encouraged by his father, who is a science teacher, Skin recently made a 10-second film on his iPad to explore projections of what human lives could look like in the aftermath of major climate change events.

“My video was trying to say that we can’t live on another planet, and the alternative is to be living on this dry, terrible planet,” Skin said. “That’s not what we want, so we need to protect [the earth].”

His film was shown along with over 50 other clips — all filmed and edited by District 65 students — on Friday at One Rotary Center, the world headquarters for Rotary International. The event, the 10 Second Film Festival, highlights children’s views on climate change and climate justice action.

Friday’s event was Evanston’s third attempt at holding the festival after it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was co-hosted by District 65 Climate Action Teams and Citizens’ Greener Evanston.

District 65 parent and Climate Action Teams Organizer Marie Cabiya said the film festival was intended to provide an outlet for children to channel their feelings about climate change.

“Climate action is the antidote to climate anxiety,” Cabiya said. “This festival is a celebration. It gives kids an easy way to overcome grief and a channel to voice their anxiety or their anger. It helps them find their little ways to add value to their lives.” 

Though Cabiya noticed many adults she knows feel helpless to prevent the climate crisis on an individual basis, she said the event aims to highlight how children can bring new ideas, emotions and hopes to the table.

The District 65 Climate Action Team helped the district officially hire its first sustainability coordinator in 2022 and is currently working to persuade schools to implement a climate justice curriculum. 

Its mission ties closely into Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan, a broad policy plan which aims to promote sustainable infrastructure and get city operations to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

The event also featured a drumming circle after the film screening, led by Evanston Township High School music teachers John Carroll and Arturo Fuerte. Participants were handed recycled instruments such as buckets and Tupperware and instructed to hit or scrape them to make music patterns while chanting “climate action right now.”

The festival also held a raffle to award young filmmakers for their work. Prizes included family passes to the Museum of Science and Industry, professional photoshoot sessions and the opportunity to shadow the mayor and Sustainability Team for a day. Skin won a one-month training session at School of Rock.

During the event, Mayor Daniel Biss delivered a speech. Biss submitted a film he created, and he expressed gratitude to the community for coming together and communicating through films to spread the word about climate action.

“We need our lives to be a series of 10-second videos about this issue, about what we can do and about how important it is,” Bliss said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aaronwangxxx

Related Stories: 

ETHS student activists lead first Climate Justice Conference

EPL, EFD to host extreme weather preparedness seminars, aim to raise awareness of climate change impacts

Evanston secures $500,000 in federal funds to expand solar power in low-income households