Award-winning Filmmaker Screens Documentary on Coastal Climate Change

Award-winning Filmmaker Screens Documentary on Coastal Climate Change

Staff Report

In April, Norwich University hosted documentary filmmaker Ben Kalina during a screening of “Shored Up: When Human Nature and the Force of Nature Collide,” his 2014 Sundance Film Festival winning documentary on climate change and coastal communities.

The event was accompanied by a panel discussion on community resiliency with Kalina, Norwich Engineering Professor Tara Kulkarni, and a State of Vermont recovery and mitigation section chief, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security involved in Tropical Storm Irene response, and others. Both events were free and open to the central Vermont community.

About 75 people attended the screening and panel discussion. “It was a great experience,” said Shannon Haggerty ’15. “And it definitely got me thinking about different approaches to my thesis topic.”

“Shored Up” asks tough questions about our coastal communities and our relationship to the land in the face of disappearing beaches and coastlines.

According to Variety, Kalina took inspiration from John McPhee’s book “The Control of Nature” and originally set out to make a film about the US Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to replace sand along our eroding shorelines.

That was before Hurricane Sandy struck. Using footage from the devastating storm and its aftermath, Kalina constructed an intentionally understated but sturdy film.

Writing in Variety, Geoff Berkshire describes it as a “sobering examination of the threat rising sea levels pose to coastal cities and the economic factors that encourage doubters to keep their heads firmly buried in fast-disappearing sand.”

Joining Kalina on the panel were:

  • Kate White, PhD, of the US Army Corp of Engineers Climate Preparedness and Resilience Community of Practice, Institute for Water Resources.
  • Tara Kulkarni, PhD, assistant professor of civil engineering, Norwich University.
  • Ben Rose, recovery and mitigation section chief, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Vermont Dept. of Public Safety.
  • Michael Crowley, senior program officer for the US Program, Institute for Sustainable Communities.
  • Ben Kalina, producer and director, “Shored Up.”