• For Immediate Release: 

    Brooklyn & Los Angeles Film Festivals to Present Debut Screenings of 
    This Mortal Plastik 
    An Award-winning Short Documentary by Media Artist Jess Irish 
    In 21 Minutes, the Environmental Film Artfully Unravels  
    Our Plastics Obsession and What’s at Stake 

    In-Person & Online Events: 
    Brooklyn Premiere @ Imagine Science Film Festival on October 16 & 20th 
    LA Premiere @ Awareness Film Festival on Thu. October 28, 2021 

    NEW YORK CITY, NY / LOS ANGELES, CA – October 13, 2021 – Award-winning media artist Jess Irish’s new documentary short film, This Mortal Plastik, unravels the enduring problem of plastics through an unusually artful exploration of this beguiling banality. Described as “a personal dive into the world’s most impersonal substance,” Irish paints a playful and provocative story of its history, science, adoption, and impact which now pervade every facet of modern life. A recent Chain NYC (“Best Director of a Documentary Short”) and Cannes World Film Festival winner (for “Best Environmental Film” – June 2021 Edition), it is scheduled to screen at two festivals this month: the Imagine Science Film Festival in Brooklyn, and Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles on October 16 and 28, 2021, respectively. In November, the film will screen as part of Wildlife Conservation Film Festival’s virtual edition. For more information, please visit http://thismortalplastik.com

    This Mortal Plastik Poster

    Fusing poetry with her own lyrical narrative, animations, historic and contemporary footage, Irish takes the viewer on a tender yet intellectual journey that is equal parts horror and wonder. Throughout the film, Irish returns to the theme of time; the absurdity of our time between the making, use, and lifespan of plastics. Her poetic approach to presenting the complexity of life cycles as well as the systems of plastic makes the subject matter accessible, moving, and deeply troubling. 

    Filmmaker Jess Irish. Photo courtesy the artist.
    Filmmaker Jess Irish. Photo courtesy the artist.

    Over the course of three different dates — during two festivals this month — Jess Irish and her 21-minute film are scheduled to appear in two screenings and one discussion. 

    • Saturday, October 16 @ 3:00pm EDT 
      TALK @ 14th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival 
      • IN-PERSON: Filmmakers will talk about how they collaborate with scientists and their art/science process.
      BRIC, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217 
    • Thursday, October 28 • 3:00 – 5:00pm PDT 
      SCREENING and Q&A @ 12th Annual Awareness Film Festival 
      • IN-PERSON & ONLINE: Documentary Films, Environment @ The Regal at LA Live,  
      1000 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015 
      • $12 – virtual screening, $20 – in-person 

    Both screenings will constitute premieres in each city. Additional festivals set to screen This Mortal Plastik, include: Silent River Film Festival (Irvine, CA), The Artists Forum: Festival of the Moving Image (San Francisco, CA), Green Screen Film Festival (Australia), Planet Doc (Brazil). 

    Walking Whale
    Stills from This Mortal Plastik.


    Exploring the noble intentions of its inventors, who raced to create an alternative material to elephant ivory, baleen from whales, and tortoise shells, the film marvels at the innovation of a modern miracle. Irish shines a light on less-celebrated figures such as Alexander Parkes, the British inventor who presented ‘Parkesine,’ the first fully synthetic plastic at the 1862 International Exhibition. Highlighting the irony of these inventor’s actions and the unseen consequences, the film pivots around the finite lifespan of the human in contrast with the enduring lifespan of disposable plastic packaging that blights our daily lives. The story of plastic’s slow birth, rapid growth, and explosive ubiquity is framed with moving quotes from scientists, poets, and philosophers such as Rachel CarsonThomas TranströmerRoland BarthesJorge Luis BorgesSusan FreinkelLau Tzu, and Rebecca Giggs

    Still from This Mortal Plastik.

    400,000 YEARS – 40 SECONDS – 400 YEARS 

    This Mortal Plastik, which was partly inspired by Susan Freinkel’s book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, is narrated, with sensitivity and heart, by Isabelle Van Fleet. We journey through the narrator’s questions, which sour at the corporate proclamation of “A Fourth Kingdom: Animal, Mineral, Vegetable — then Plastics.” Irish eloquently notes the latter as, “a lifeless substance formed by the combined forces of the previous three, dead matter compressed underground, exhumed and exalted.” Recognizing both the inscrutability of plastic as a mysterious and magical material yet also its inherent worthlessness and disposability are key themes that the film addresses. How can something that takes 400,000 years to make be discarded in the trash in under 40 seconds and yet still take 400 years to fully break down in a landfill — or worse, the ocean?

    Still from This Mortal Plastik.


    Irish’s artful direction shapes questions, presents facts, and conveys incredulity while allowing the viewer to form their own answers and opinions. Within the broad scope of the film story — both in time and scale — are memorable questions that speak clearly and tangibly to the broader ecological crisis at hand. “How did we get here?” Made during the lockdown period of the pandemic, Irish speaks to the “pandemic inside the pandemic,” as single-use consumer wrapping has exploded, offering a false promise of safety amid “a darkness of unknowns.” The film avoids a singularly advocacy approach to the very real problem of plastic pollution. Rather, Irish alienates this ubiquitous form in a more poetic form and lets it get under our skin. As economies wrestle with how to hasten further global warming in light of the 2021 IPCC reportThis Mortal Plastik compels us to consider how our ordinary conveniences are also artifacts of climate change.

    Still from This Mortal Plastik.


    This Mortal Plastik has won a host of awards including: “Best Director of a Documentary Short” (Chain NYC Film Festival), “Best Long Short Documentary” (Alternative Film Festival), “Best Inspirational Film” (New York International Film Awards, August), “Award of Excellence Special Mention” (Best Shorts Competition: Top 10), “Best Environmental Film” (Cannes World Film Festival – June 2021 Edition), “ARFF Globe Award” (Around International Film Festival) and “Best Inspirational Film” (New York International Film Awards) 



    This Mortal Plastik has been made possible with the generous support of funders including Faculty Research Fund, Parsons School of Design, and Student Research Fund, The New School. 

    -A B O U T-


    Writer and director Jess Irish is an Associate Professor of Design and Technology at the Parsons School of Design, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in design research, hybrid works, and new media. She is an award-winning artist, designer, and writer who makes lyrical nonfiction films and cross-genre media. Her recent films include This Mortal PlastikFor While, and the Phantasmagoria of Offense: the male version. Her past work has received honors such as “Best Hybrid Film,” “Best Documentary,” “Best Experimental Documentary,” “Best Video Art,” and “Best Editing.” This Mortal Plastik and her previous films have screened at national and international festivals and her artworks have been featured in ArtforumMETROPOLISRES, and ArtWeek. She lives in the Hudson River Valley, NY with her family of humans and dogs. https://jessirish.com 

    Filmmaker Jess Irish. Photo courtesy the artist.


    Imagine Science Films is an annual science film festival founded in New York City in 2008 that takes place all across the city in diverse venues, including cinemas, universities, and museums. The organization also hosts a series of satellite events worldwide, and serves as a major venue for the release of singular and bold works bridging the worlds of science and film. It also seeks to challenge and expand the role of science in the current cultural discourse by providing a forum for adventurous interdisciplinary collaboration. https://www.imaginesciencefilms.org 

    image science


    The Awareness Film Festival was founded to raise awareness of various causes that exist in our society today. Through independent filmmakers from across the globe we are able to bring you critical messages that need to be heard, while providing entertainment. We simply offer films that do more than entertain. https://www.awarenessfestival.org

    Awareness Film Festival


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    For more information, photos, to schedule an interview, or to request press passes, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com. 

    Posted on October 13th, 2021 lynn-hasty No comments

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