Bermuda High School student Lara Hetzel. *Photo supplied
Bermuda High School student Lara Hetzel. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MAY 18: The journey of a solitary plastic bag from supermarket to the ocean is the subject of a winning short film by Bermuda High School student Lara Hetzel.

Lara entered her four-minute environmentally conscious film Plastic Bag in the Earth Day Video Competition recently launched by the Bermuda National Trust in partnership with  Greenrock.

Through the medium of film, students were invited to create a two- to five-minute video telling a story about what Bermuda can do to better look after our island. Lara beat competition from 17 other entrants and feels that the experience has inspires her to create more films in the future. She told the Bermuda Sun: “The film is from the perspective of the plastic bag as it is being blown into the wind and into the ocean. We followed it in the ocean and filmed it from that perspective. I included some statistics and facts about pollution and plastic bags and why it is a problem.

“I chose this subject because it is something that we can easily tackle. It has a quite simple solution which is to start using the canvas and reusable bags. It is something that anyone can do and make a difference.

“We are so close to the water in Bermuda so it is an important issue.”

A lot of her research was done online — Greenrock suggested some websites to help her to find the facts for her film including global statistics on plastic usage and wastage.

This is the first film she has made for a public audience. So what gave her film the winning edge?

“All of the films were really great,” she said. “They are all super creative and informative but maybe because it was a little bit different being from the perspective of the plastic bag blowing around — it was something that no one else did. Also getting a simple message across.”

The judges said of the film: “Simple but appealing visually”.

Lara said she would love to continue filmmaking in the future. “It’s a good medium to get a message across very directly and to reach more people because it is so easy to share so I would definitely be interested in doing more things in the future with it.

“I have been interested in film in the past and the competition was a good incentive for me to make one and have a deadline to get something done.

“I do think it is a really important issue in Bermuda and it’s interesting they have this for young people because young people, particularly teenagers, we don’t always think about it — we are distracted by other things so it’s good to get young people to focus on the environment.

BNT director of development Abbie Caldas who organized the competition said that she hoped it could continue in future years.

“In terms of next year, I very much hope that we will run the project again, and we have started brainstorming ideas on how to enhance it.

“I have already been approached by adult local film makers and hope to collaborate with them to match the students with mentors to oversee their progress. I also hope to collaborate with teachers more to encourage them to take this on as a class project. And I can guarantee that they could take an environmental concept and relate it to what they are studying on the curriculum. The math class can calculate their carbon footprint; the art class can create something out of refurbished materials; the history class can look deeper into our cultural heritage, and so on. Next year we want to see more video entries and more community involvement in the students’ exploration of the issues.”

Other films in the competition included a film highlighting the contrast between Bermuda’s naturally beautiful areas and its areas of neglect, a film encouraging the public to pick up trash, save electricity and recycle.

The videos are available on www.bnt.bm and www.bermudasun.bm.