Update 2021: I wrote the below post when I began my doctoral studies on experimental ecocinema. My studies changed to embrace broader developments in the art and ecology field and to specifically explain long term ecological art practices. I now teach a unique ONLINE course – the Haumea Essential Ecoliteracy 7-week course – to help creatives and art professionals across the world understand the ecology emergency and what it means for the creative sector- see more here: please note, course places fill quickly, but I do maintain a waitlist
Ecocinema Is a term originally from a 2004 Scott MacDonald ‘Towards an ecocinema‘ article. It was further explored in 2010 in Framing the world, explorations in ecocriticism and film, edited by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi (I have written a short post about this book here). From that book ecocinematic films were classified as follows:
‘are films that
- overtly engage with environmental justice concerns or those that make ‘nature’ from landscapes to wildlife, a primary focus…they have broader philosophical implications of what it means to inhabit this planet.. to be a member of this ecosphere and to understand and value this community in a systemic and non-hierarchial way’
- sometimes aspire to present more biocentric and/or ecocentric viewpoints rather than overtly anthropocentric – human centered views or interpretation of natural phenomena)
- cut across genres, modes of production
- may include full-length and short fiction, documentary, exp. films/video
‘ecocinema actively seeks to inform viewers about, as well as engage their participation in, addressing issues of ecological importance, raising awareness, and at times, political action.
Ecocinema – an evolving term
However, it should be noted that ‘ecocinema’ as a term is still debated and evolving in ecocriticism and media studies fields due to the recent wide interest in the area.
A valuable introduction to this vibrant area of study and how ecocinema studies are growing and being defined is:
Rust, S., & Monani, S. (2013). Introduction: Cuts to dissolves – defining and situating ecocinema studies. In S. Rust, S. Monani, & S. Cubitt (Eds.), Ecocinema theory and practice (1-13). New York: Routledge.