Senior student’s film on water pollution premieres during The One Earth Film Festival

Photo of Stephanie hiking Mount Fuji in Japan.

Nicole F. Anderson, News and Co-Managing Editor

Senior student Stephanie Teresi had only four months to record and one week to edit and finalize a five-minute film showcasing water pollution for One Earth’s Young Filmmakers Contest.

“The World of Convenience: Plastic Bottles” didn’t win first prize, but it was premiered during the One Earth Film Festival in NEIU’s Alumni Hall on March 6.

“The World of Convenience: Plastic Bottles” starts by addressing the beauty and power of Earth’s water. Immediately afterward, the short film showcases how water pollution is affecting the earth using statistics. The film’s ending aims to encourage others to make some positive, eco-friendly adjustments in their lives.

“I like to end on a positive note because it encourages people to want to make a positive change,” Teresi said. “[I want] people to become aware of how much plastic shoppers are consuming.”

Teresi said little changes people can make are buying metal straws instead of plastic ones and bringing their own shopping bags.

Most of the footage Teresi used for her film were clips that she already had on her iPhone. After compiling all of the footage she wanted to use, she used iMovie to cut and edit the film.

“People don’t realize the power of smartphones,” Teresi said. “Almost everything was shot on my iPhone… I’m not high-tech or anything at all. I always tell people that anyone could do it, just go out there and start filming.”

Teresi grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois and has been in love with filming for most of her life. She couldn’t recall the moment when she decided to start filming, the desire was just embedded in her.

It was during her time at Maine South High School that Teresi began filming documentaries with her friends. Most of the documentaries focused on nature, documenting her travel experiences with informative aspects.

“I make my films educational because it’s one thing to show visuals, but it’s a whole other to show facts; numbers help correlate the two,” Teresi said. “People need to learn to care about the subject.”

The first completed and edited film that Teresi finished was for NEIU’s Belize study abroad program last year.

The documentary juxtaposes Belize’s tourism and beauty with the poor waste and land management, and illegal hunting and fishing.

During her time in Belize, Teresi and other NEIU students participated in a river clean up. They filled three kayaks with littered plastic from the river that connects directly to the ocean.

“When I finished the Belize documentary, I felt powerful,” Teresi said. “Something I created could be used to shine a light on a dark subject.”

Teresi has traveled to several places in the United States, Ireland, Japan, Italy, Belize and Spain. She does not have an online portfolio of her documentaries but maintains a travel Instagram instead: @leaving_the_nest286.

“I’m very fortunate to travel as much as I do, so I like to do a lot of filming when I travel,” Teresi said. “I like making travel blogs. In high school, I began to put education into them.”

She hopes to make her own YouTube page to post her future docuseries focusing on the world and plastic, elaborating on “The World of Convenience” topic.

“I really like the way I started with the title ‘The World of Convenience’ because that’s the way we live right now,” Teresi said. “Almost everything we want comes in plastic; plastic bottles, silverware, bags – our world is made of plastic.”

After graduation, she hopes to work with conservation, specifically marine life and finding ways to clean the ocean. She is double majoring in environmental studies and geography.

“I thought about it (becoming a film major) but for me, I want to know more about the science and what’s happening with the environment and document it from there,” Teresi said. “I know I’m going to make documentaries.”

The One Earth Film Festival showcasing Teresi’s film and Filmmaker Cyrus Sutton’s “Island Earth” was sponsored by NEIU’s Green Fee Committee and the department of geography and environmental studies.