Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Prize-winning film gets area screening

By Margaret A. McGurk mmcgurk@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Andrea Torrice knew very little about global warming in 1998 when she heard a report about the threat of rising ocean levels.

        “I said, what does it mean to have a six- or nine-inch rise in sea levels? It doesn't seem like much,” she recalled.

        Then she met a climatologist from Samoa, who said, “Let me show you.”

        That fateful encounter at a conference in Hawaii that Ms. Torrice was taping for the White House Office of Science and Technology, eventually led to her award-winning documentary, Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands.

        The one-hour program, completed in 2000, went on to win a stack of prizes and honors from, among other environmental showcases, MountainFilm in Telluride, Colo., and the EarthVision Environmental Film & Video Festival, as well as festivals in Chicago, Taos, Columbus, Vermont, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

  What: Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands, presented by Sierra Club, Cincinnati Film Society and Cincinnati Art Museum.
Filmmaker Andrea Torrice; Xavier University Professor James Buchanan; and Ned Ford of the Ohio Sierra Club.
  When: 7 p.m., Wednesday.
  Where: Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park.
  Tickets: $5; $4 for CFS, CAM and Sierra Club members. Available at the door.
  Information: http://ohio.sierraclub.org/miami/outings/events.asp
        The documentary will have its first public screening in Ms. Torrice's adopted home tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park, co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Film Society and Sierra Club.

        In constructing the story, she said she sought to incorporate the factual perspective of scientists with the personal and cultural interest of island dwellers.

        She spoke of hearing an elderly Hawaiian native who, after listening to scientific reports on the effects of global warning, asked, “Does that mean my granddaughter may not have a place to live when she's an adult?”

        “That's when it came together for me,” said Ms. Torrice. “I was putting a human face on it through people from the tiniest nations in world.”

        The project, which aired on PBS stations a year ago, was funded with grants from Independent Television Service, Film Arts Foundation, National Council of Churches and Center for Independent Documentary.

        The filmmaker migrated from California to her Clifton Heights home with her husband, Charles Woodman, who teaches electronic arts at the University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

        She has been working with public station WCET Channel 48 to develop local programming and created an oral history video for UC about Fernald. She is now concentrating on developing a series of public-television documentaries about the future of U.S. cities, including Cincinnati.

        “I try to give voice to everyday people (on) larger issues that affect everybody,” she said. “I think it's the most powerful way to tell a story.”

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