Interview with Filmmaker Hester Schell (CLIMATE CHANGE: CAPE LOOKOUT,

Directed by Hester Schell
Created for the 7th Generation Pano Mural Project’s 5 minute film festival, July 2022. Assignment: Pick a section of the USA west coast to examine the effects of climate change on the region. Under 5 minutes. My film was chosen to screen at the festival last summer. I chose Cape Lookout to Cape Mears, Oregon, USA.

Get to know the filmmaker:

What motivated you to make this film?

I want to convey a sense of urgency and inspire people to take more action on the climate emergency. Whether driving less, or lobbying against insatiable corporate greed hell bent on profits over life, or having fewer children, or finding commercial uses for recycled plastics. How about we stop making more of it! The oil industry is drowning us in plastic which is killing wildlife.


The Ocean Film Festival. An email landed in my inbox around 10 days before the deadline last summer, 2022. The criteria really spoke to me: pick a favorite place along the West Coast, examine the effects of climate change, and keep it under 5 minutes.

Climate change is an existential threat to all of us. It may sound cliché but we only have one planet and we are running out of time to slow this down.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

About a week. I’ve been visiting this location for 30 to 40 years and the changes are very noticeable.

I imagine it’s very different for younger generations without a reference to what the skies looked like with an abundance of birds.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Missing Relatives

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?


Keeping the dog out of frame and happy while shooting.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I appreciated the clarity of the comments. People are concerned, and many just don’t know how to participate in the necessary changes we all need to make.

I was really moved by the comments, especially the idea of a series examining other ecosystems. Who’s in?

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I was a child. My family had a Kodak super 8mm home movie camera.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Well…. I was a film acting teacher, so hard to pick one.


Zeffirelli’s version of Wm. Shakespeare ‘s Romeo & Juliet

Some Like It Hot.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Bulletin boards/message boards filmmaker to filmmaker. Thank you for creating this opportunity.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?


10. What is your favorite meal?

A really great juicy hamburger. It was my mother’s favorite sandwich and in her honor I’m happy to oblige. She shot all those 8mm home movies.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Climate Change: Cape Lookout was my second doc/nonfiction.
I’m usually in narrative.

I’ve started a new screenplay, and I’m pitching others seeking a manager.

My writing partner and I optioned a screenplay in January, which we anticipate shooting later in 2023 or 2024. Becoming an optioned screenwriter recently (January 2023) has opened doors.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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