Year in Review 2022
Co-founded by activists and filmmakers Robert Redford and James Redford, we are one of the only US-based nonprofits solely dedicated to environmental impact filmmaking.
We develop and invest in the stories and storytellers strengthening, broadening, and activating the environmental movement. Since 2005, we have delivered more than $12 million in financial and other support to more than 150 solutions-forward environmental films designed to make an impact.
of the IF/Then x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch
The environment is our mission, and film is our medium.
2022 Grantee: Undaming Klamath
Cover Image: Renowned ecologist Nalini Nadkarni in Between Earth and Sky, Winner
Landmark climate legislation was passed in the US Congress devoting $370 billion to climate and clean energy investments. Over 200 countries pledged to conserve 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030, as signatories of the Kunming-Montreal Agreement. In seven countries, young people brought governments to court for failing to protect them from climate impacts.
These are just a few notable indicators of progress, and we know that change of this scale is galvanized by cultural and societal shifts that build the will to act. Yet, none of the $370 billion in funding the US just deployed to fight climate change is intended to support storytellers and culture change efforts That work lies in the hands of organizations like The Redford Center, working to build the personal and political will necessary to accelerate sweeping change and secure more resources for the artist/activists driving the impact.
The Redford Center also had a potent 2022. We delivered more than $3 million to filmmakers across the globe, supported a new cohort of 12 remarkable grantees, engaged 11 more fiscally sponsored film projects, and released our nationallyrecognized short films series, highlighting local communities enacting clean transportation solutions. We also elevated hundreds of youth voices and collaborated with the League of Conservation Voters, Chispa, Grist, SundanceTV, Bloomberg Green Hollywood Climate Summit, IF/Then Shorts Orion Magazine, Good Energy Stories NRDC, The Black List, and The CAA Foundation to deepen and broaden the reach of environmental film.
In addition to these programmatic milestones, our team has been building our big-picture strategy and infrastructure to set the table for an impactful 2023 and beyond. We welcomed two new Board members, Homecoming Capital Co-founder Cody Evans and Island Foundation Executive Director Denise Porché, and we found our new development manager, Nicole Kite who joined our growing team.
We are continuously grateful to our Board of Directors, our grants advisors, donors collaborators, and ambassadors who are vital to the success of our work We extend a special thanks to our new 2022 donors, including the Tortuga Family Foundation, the International Community Foundation, and the dozens of individuals who joined us last year.
As we look ahead to 2023, we re heightening the importance of seeing impactfocused environmental films as a pivotal part of our solutions set, and we are committed to building out the ecosystem of investment and support these filmmakers and film projects need and deserve Thank you for all that you helped make possible in 2022 — and all that lies ahead.
Dylan Redford Chair, Board of Directors
Jill Tidman Executive Director
When we consider 2022’s environmental imprint, let’s hold it as a turning point.
$3.3 million distributed in grants and project support to filmmakers globally
400 new filmmakers joined our network
130 new films, scripts, and stories supported across our programs
1,530% net audience growth on social media
2022 by the numbers
1 million views of our Community Power: Clean Transportation short film series
136 educators engaged across 34 states and 12 countries
30 environmentally-focused films screened through Friday Night Films
25 program collaborators
The Redford Center s approach has always involved measuring a film’s impact beyond headlines and distribution with an expansive view of what environmental films and filmmakers can achieve through solutionsforward storytelling. We invite you to dig deeper into some of our 2022 highlights as we apply an impact lens to our organization’s work and milestones.
Amplifying Frontline Voices Connecting Movements Igniting Discourse Encouraging Environmental and Media Literacy Driving Innovation Empowering Communities Changing Policy Promoting Cultural Self-Determination Our Gratitude 2022 Grantee: The Queendom
7 9 10 12 13 15 16 18
Amplifying Frontline Voices
Investing in twelve new projects with promising solutions for the environmental movement
In October, we awarded $240,000 across the 12 environmental impact film projects in our 2022-23 Redford Center Grants cohort. Selected from an open call of 250 projects, the awarded films, hailing from Bulgaria, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, reflect diverse intersectional themes and explore the complex challenges and solutions of the climate crisis.
Channeling $2.9 million in philanthropic support to stories from the frontlines
Our Fiscal Sponsorship program provided support for 11 additional projects in 2022, for a total of 36 active projects delivering a combined $2 9 million dollars in financial support to independent filmmakers telling stories from the frontlines of the environmental crisis.
Bringing expansive environmental stories and action to online audiences
Throughout the year we amplified 30 intersectional environmental stories and the creators behind them to nearly 10,000 subscribers through our free Friday Night Films screening series Curated from our network of 700+ filmmakers and the broader environmental film ecosystem, we presented projects and calls to action on timely themes and topics including land, water food health and justice.
“I want to be a part of the people that we think about when we think about who is a conservationist. That’s why I want to use that term, knowing that for a lot of people, so much has been done that’s been very detrimental to communities of color, particularly Native folks, in the name of conservation… For me, I’ve really reframed conservation to mean clean air, clean water, and access to green spaces. And with that reframe, this is absolutely my conversation.”
Faith Briggs Rose
Filmmaker, Redford Center Grantee and Fiscal Sponsee
Fiscally Sponsored Project: The Trail Ahead Podcast
Sharing tools that harness the power of data and stories to activate communities
In September we hosted Getting From Point A to Point Clean: The Community Movements Powering The Clean Transportation Revolution online at Climate Week NYC. With collaborators from our clean transportation civic engagement campaign, including the American Lung Association and The Greenlining Institute, we screened our Community Power film series and hosted a roundtable discussion We also participated in a Plume Labs and AccuWeather session on storytelling with data.
Engaging environmental voters in the 2022 midterms with SundanceTV
With the 2022 midterms on the horizon, we teamed up with SundanceTV to release a PSA and share short films from our Power the Vote series. Our efforts reached more than 325 000 people, while the films themselves garnered more than 600,000 impressions and nearly as many plays. This initiative is part of our larger body of civic engagement work, inspiring communities to become more engaged and shifting perceptions on what it means to be an environmentalist and a voter.
“A lot of times we watch films, especially documentary films, and they make you feel horrible about the world. You leave the theater in tears, thinking ʻoh man, the world’s in such a bad place.’ But I try to do the opposite in my films. I try to show the power that we do have, the change that we can make and show the possibilities, show what we can about these situations, and inspire people to do something about it.”
Filmmaker, Redford Center Grantee
2020 Grantee: We Still Here / Nos Tonemos
Making the case for environmental funders to invest in storytelling
At the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s annual retreat, The Redford Center hosted Investing in Storytelling to Shift Power, Support Communities, & Advance Equitable Climate Solutions, a session for environmental funders demonstrating the power of narrative tools in action with case studies from our clean transportation series.
We also showcased 2020 Grantee WE STILL HERE / NOS TENEMOS a film celebrating the incredible youth of Comerío, Puerto Rico navigating the aftermath of Hurricane Maria In response to Hurricane Fiona, WE STILL HERE Director Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and Producer Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi worked alongside frontline leaders, using the film to support self-determination, just recovery models, and resilience in the face of climate injustice To the hundreds of funders in the room, WE STILL HERE was a powerful illustration of how an investment in narrative strategy can amplify collective actions, leading to lasting change.
Mainstreaming climate narratives
In Apri our team supported the Good Energy Playbook launch, a resource for screenwriters interested in incorporating climate themes into their work including an essay written by our Executive Director, Jill Tidman, and Program Manager Heather Fipps titled Based on a True Story Documentaries as Story Fodder. In June, we sponsored the 2022 Hollywood Climate Summit, a four-day summit of online and in-person panels and workshops on environmental storytelling and educational content produced by Young Entertainment Activists. Also in 2022 we sponsored Imagine 2200 Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors a project from Grist that yielded 12 visionary stories painting a hopeful future for our planet
Encouraging Environmental and Media Literacy
Cultivating youth leadership
We explored new methods of engaging with educators, students, and organizations through our Youth Stories program in 2022, expanding access to our curriculum by extending eligibility to high school students and after-school programs and translating lesson plans into Spanish As a result, 136 educators from 34 states and 12 countries accessed our curriculum, and 150 students across seven US states together created 84 environmental films and submitted them to our Youth Stories Challenge.
Recognizing the new generation of environmental storytellers inspired by this program, in October, digital science publication Nautilus featured an interview with Stories Challenge winners these winners also engaged in an environmental filmmaking conversation with youth from the Scottish Youth Film Foundation and grand prize winner J.B. Brown served as a guest judge for the Scottish Youth Film Festival Youth Film Contest. The 2022 Stories Challenge Highlights Reel is on view at California Academy of Sciences, and three of the award-winning films were virtually exhibited in fall 2022 at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum
Honoring and restoring our connection to nature
In collaboration with IF/Then, we held the 2022-23 Nature Connection Pitch an open-call competition for short documentary films on humanity’s connection with nature. From 65 submissions up 67% from 2021 five selected projects were invited to participate in a pitch forum and workshop series at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2023 Selected projects received a combined $25,000 in production grants along with career-building training to share their stories of nature connection and reconnection with the world 2021 IF/Then Nature Access Pitch Grand Prize Winner, BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY, also premiered at Big Sky this year, winning Best Documentary Short.
“For our research to have impact, we have to make our research as accessible as possible. I think what The Redford Center is doing, utilizing short films to convey research findings, I think that’s very important and will make connections and certainly benefit the research community to make sure their work is relevant and impactful.”
Dr. Yingling Fan
Featured in ʻCommunity Power Minnesota: Transportation and Happiness’
Raise the River: The Colorado River fills Vado Carranza, in the Mexicali Valley.
Photo by Jesús Salazar
Integrating climate in the conversation on — and off — screen
In May we continued our collaboration with NRDC s Rewrite the Future program alongside The Black List and The CAA Foundation to launch a second iteration of the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship an opportunity granting $20,000 to three writers to support the development of a feature screenplay or pilot that meaningfully engages with climate change through events, actions, character emotions, plot, and/or setting.
Spreading the word about community-led transportation solutions
In 2022 we released three more short films in our Community Power for Clean Transportation series, spotlighting unique stories of collective action. These films have prompted local and national dialogue and spread awareness about compelling solutions to transportation issues.
Community Power New Jersey: Our Streets illustrates how the community of Trenton NJ channeled its collective power to advocate for everyone’s right to safe and accessible streets, clean transportation and community resources.
Community Power Indiana Beyond the Line shares the story of IndyGo, the first, and one of the largest fully electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in the nation After the film’s local PBS feature the city of Charlotte NC contacted IndyGo to design their own BRT proposal.
Community Power Minnesota: Transportation and Happiness has helped translate University of Minnesota professor Yingling Fan’s research on the public and planetary health benefits of urban planning and clean transit infrastructure into stories featured in news outlets including Forbes and the Star Tribune
Developing a bilingual communications program for the Raise the River campaign
Since working on our 2012 feature film WATERSHED, The Redford Center remains an active member of the Raise the River Coalition working to restore the Colorado River Delta. In 2022, to deepen engagement with Mexican and Mexicali Valley community members, the local Raise the River team launched a dedicated Mexico communications program that has introduced a Spanish-language social media presence, media bulletins interviews a monthly newsletter, and a series of monthly workshops to explore best practices for the use of the declining Colorado River water supply in its delta region.
At the same time, ongoing media outreach resulted in feature stories in the Los Angeles Times, Denver Post Associated Press New York Times, and Sierra Club Magazine.
Driving support to frontline leaders during the filmmaking process
In a compelling article published in the spring 2022 issue of Orion Magazine Executive Director Jill Tidman detailed the story behind our grantee film IMPOSSIBLE TOWN a feature documentary about the spike in resident cancer diagnoses and deaths in Minden, WV. The article received notably high readership and garnered early attention and support for the in-production film, the local community and the film’s main subject Dr. Ayne Amjad, who is leading the fight to move her community off of the poisoned land.
"While the courts are important and we need to hold up the importance of our judicial system, there are also many other ways that everyone can get involved in holding our government accountable on climate change. We hope that this film [YOUTH v GOV] inspires and empowers young people, in particular, to know that their voice matters and that they can be engaged and involved at so many different levels."
Christi Cooper Filmmaker, Redford Center Grantee
2018 Grantee: Youth V Gov
Supporting filmmakers portraying environmental history in the making
2020 grantee and fiscally-sponsored film TO THE END, directed by Rachel Lears, arrived in theaters across the U S. in December bringing climate justice to mainstream audiences and uplifting the stories of four young women of color who are leading the movement behind the most sweeping climate change legislation in U S. history.
Streaming near you: grantee film
YOUTH v GOV premieres on Netflix
2018 Grantee film YOUTH v GOV, which follows the story of America’s youth taking on the world’s most powerful government through a ground-breaking lawsuit, premiered on Netflix in April 2022. Our team sat down with director Christi Cooper and producer Olivia Ahnemann to discuss the unique experience of documenting youth advocates the impact potential of diverse content forms, and building community around the filmmaking process. Read more in our piece Growing Up Together, With Impact
Advancing protections for wildlife and land
Following a world premiere at the Florida Film Festival, a Florida theater run, and screenings at festivals nationwide 2020 Grantee PATH OF THE PANTHER will release on National Geographic and Disney+ this spring. This award-winning film's impact campaign calls on elected officials to continue support and funding for the Florida Wildlife Corridor to save the panther's future. Impact producer Tori Linder calls the film a "testament to how Florida’s state animal is leading the way for unprecedented conservation goals and achievements across the greater United States and beyond."
Promoting Cultural SelfDetermination
Growing our communications, community, and reach
By applying new outreach strategies to amplify the communities issues, stories, and filmmakers we support in 2022 our net audience growth on social media increased by 1 530% with a 120% increase in engagements, 300% increase in video views, and 740% increase in post link clicks.
A favorite example from our nature connection work introduced online audiences to runners, cyclists, educators, scientists, and changemakers working at the intersection of race environment, history culture and the outdoors The Instagram Reels series, done in collaboration with award-winning Redford Center grantee filmmaker Faith Briggs Rose, features clips from her podcast, THE TRAIL AHEAD, co-hosted by media producer and mountain guide, Addie Thompson.
Committing to an equitable and intersectional future for environmental film
We continue to expand our support for underrepresented storytellers as demonstrated by our 2022 Grantee Cohort, in which 50% of the filmmakers identify as African American, Native Asian, Pacific Islander, Latinx or Multiracial; 25% identify as members of the LQBTQIA+ community; 50% identify as female and 5% as gender non-conforming; and 25% are younger than 35. While progress is underway, we remain committed to continually diversifying the ecosystem of environmental filmmakers.
2022-23 Redford Center
2022 brought continued clarity to our work and we enter 2023 filled with enthusiasm and optimism for the future of environmental film.
There is no question: these stories of hope and action are igniting positive change across our country and the world. Where we go from here, and how quickly we act, will be informed by how seriously we commit to resourcing film projects like these to help ensure the public is engaged and demanding action from our global leaders. This charge is among the most urgent thrusts of our work in the months and years ahead.
As a non-endowed, nonprofit organization, all forms of support are incredibly valuable to The Redford Center. Thank you for your partnership in this work.
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