Arts & Entertainment

The Ground to Sound Film Festival promotes sustainability through film

The Ground to Sound Film Festival brings community-driven effort to highlight sustainability and environmentalism through film.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this article, there was inaccurate information about the keynote presentation, prize amount and a participant’s name and title. The article has now been updated as of 3/29/24. The article has also been updated to include information about the City of Tacoma’s contributions to the event as of 4/5/24.

Biodiversity, prevention and waste management are just a few of the ideas that the Ground to Sound Film Festival is trying to highlight. On Friday March 1, the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) School of Business partnered with the Ground to Sound Film Festival as part of an ongoing series of sustainability initiatives for the greater Puget Sound area, their goal being to expand the message of sustainability and environmentalism through film. Local Tacoma residents were asked to submit films of their community in ways that shed light on certain aspects of the environment. 

The submissions all reflected the importance of protecting the Puget Sound area. All submissions, which could be no more than six minutes in length, were eligible to win a prize of up to $750 cash. In a presentation by keynote speaker Dean Burke, local surfboarders swimming in the Puget Sound area, Native American tribes kayaking during ceremonies and local UWT students keeping their campus clean and free from trash were all highlighted.

The co-creator of the event Noah Carr says that this festival was a long time in the making and required huge community effort, not just in planning and outreach, but research and development.  

“It was hard to find resources to fund the event, that’s always one of the hardest parts of event planning,” said Carr. “You want to have a fun time for community members but also have some sort of incentive to draw attention and engagement.” 

The event could not have happened without collaboration and financial support from the City of Tacoma Environmental Services’ “If it Hits the Ground, it Hits the Sound” outreach campaign.

“This campaign promotes murals, art on City vehicles, and film festivals to educate the public on stormwater pollution,” said a representative of the campaign in correspondence with the Ledger. “The City of Tacoma Environmental Services was able to contribute staff time and financial resources to help the film festival be a success.”

Communication and Outreach Specialist of UWT Milgard Business School Noah Carr. Photo by Rachel Meatte.

Carr is the Communication and Outreach Specialist at the UWT Milgard Business School and a member of the Sustainability Community at Milgard. While planning the event, he thought it would be a good idea to incorporate local organizations who could participate in the event at a booth stand.  

“We’ve held a similar event before in 2016 for Earth Day where a bunch of students participated in submitting films,” said Carr. “We wanted to make it bigger this time and reflect parts of the Tacoma Community that relate to sustainability and film. All of them can give more information about their group and why they help uplift Tacoma and its community members.” 

Amongst the groups represented at the event were the UWT Film Club, Puget Sound Energy, Anxious Tomato organization and City of Tacoma Environmental Services Department.  Ellen Moore, a professor of Communications and Media Studies at UWT had a booth stand set up at the event. She and other media studies professors showed up in support of the event to showcase the film production side of UWT.  

“Tacoma is such a community that I wanted to attend this event and be a part of the message,” said Moore. “It really speaks to our ability as storytellers to reflect how we can collaborate and make real change locally. I heard about the event through Noah and a few of my colleagues who are involved in environmentalism. We’re all hoping we can encourage students to take more media studies classes and study film.” 

The winners of the event have not yet been released but will be contacted via email by the creators of the event. For more info on the event and next year’s Ground to Sound Film Festival, visit their website for more info and learn how you can bring change to your community: 

UWT Professor Ellen Moore at her booth. Photo by Rachel Meatte.

Featured photo caption: Ground to Sound Film Festival. Photo by Rachel Meatte.