New Jersey Stage logo
New Jersey Stage Menu


Balaena & The Sprayer screen at the June 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Sunday, June 4


By Anita LaBelle

originally published: 05/29/2023

Balaena & The Sprayer screen at the June 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Sunday, June 4

Still from The Sprayer

Balaena
directed by Alessia Cecchet and The Sprayer directed by Farnoosh Abedi are two short films playing at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival that address the relationship between people and their impact on the environment, both negative and positive. These films use various art forms to highlight the issue of climate change in a thoughtful and visually stimulating way. 

Opening and closing on a shot of a dead whale stranded on a beach, Balaena illustrates the cyclical pattern of life and death in ecosystems, but delves into the roles humans take in accelerating this process for living creatures. During the title card, the sound of a bell tolls, an audio sign that the creature we are viewing has died. Yet the way people respond begs the question: does anyone care? Throughout the film there is a juxtaposition between two locations - one, the beach, being a representation of a natural habitat, and the other being structures from the constructed man-made world. In one scene, a dead animal lays in the middle of a parking garage with individuals merely standing near it, staring. The long shot of this interaction illustrates how unless the animals being harmfully impacted by environmental damage are in front of our faces, humans will not pay attention. And even when these injured animals are in front of our faces, we often do not do anything. Further, it comments on the idea that humans rarely interact with wildlife and nature - a part of our world we are killing - because we as people live isolated in our own industrial cage. The director also utilizes multiple fade transitions, symbolizing how our flora and fauna are fading from our lives, due to humans' malevolent impact. However, a fade transition involves an overlap of two different shots, possibly signifying how the man-made world and natural world are intertwined and affect each other. They are in fact not separate, but one and the same. While Balaena deals with the consequences of climate change on ecosystems, it also remarks on the modern infatuation with and addiction to spectacle. The film shows tourists taking photos of the dead whale lying on the beach, rather than acting or changing their ways. Similarly, scientists dealing with the whale stop their proceedings to take a group selfie. In doing so, the director critiques humans' preference for an interesting photo instead of recognizing and making reparations for mankind’s detrimental footprint.

 
Balaena & The Sprayer screen at the June 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Sunday, June 4

Still from Balaena

The Sprayer also plays with the problem of climate change, but if Balaena handles negative human involvement, The Sprayer considers the opposite. In a dystopian future somewhat resembling the warscapes from WWII, the film takes on the concept of a twisted ecoterrosim. In this post-apocalyptic world, robotic soldiers spray and kill any sign of biological life, raiding and destroying civilization to achieve a world devoid of flora. Yet hidden behind outfits resembling the spray-soldiers, there is a group of humans fighting to keep plants and information alive. As one soldier finds a child of the opposition secretly growing a sapling, a plant being something the soldier has never seen, this sprayer begins to change their ways. When the child and plant’s life become threatened, the sprayer revolts against the commander and protects the living beings, allowing a successful escape. Although it is set in a future dystopian world, the mutinous sprayer is seen reading Fahrenheit 451, a reminder that this fictional world could eventually be our own if we are not careful. The rebellion of plant protectors and small reminders of biological growth through cracks in concrete displays the defiance and resistance of a powerful wildlife fighting against human destruction. In this way, The Sprayer promotes the fact that if humans change their ways rather than ignore the problem, there can be revolutionary change. It is humans who need to change, instead of expecting the world to. 

Both films incorporate various kinds of media to convey their message, including embroidery, etchings, animation, stop-motion, rendering, and more. Just as this myriad of art forms reminds the audience members of the possible beauty humans can create, these films inspire the spectator to reflect on their own environmental impact and make a change for the better. 

Balaena & The Sprayer screen at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Sunday, June 4. The film will be Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 5 PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets are available for purchase here.



 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



 


FEATURED EVENTS

ART | COMEDY | DANCE | MUSIC | THEATRE | COMMUNITY


FILM IS DEAD. LONG LIVE FILM! – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM!

Friday, May 31, 2024 @ 7:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

Click here for full description


The Featherweight – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM!

Saturday, June 01, 2024 @ 7:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

Click here for full description


Altona, Shame on You – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 5PM!

Saturday, June 01, 2024 @ 5:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

Click here for full description


Click here for more events

Listings are available for $10 and included with our banner ad packages.

Click here for more info.







 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info




 

LATEST NEWS


2024 Lighthouse International Film Festival Preview

(LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ) -- The 2024 Lighthouse International Film Festival (LIFF) takes place June 5-9, on beautiful Long Beach Island. In addition to watching films, festival goers can rub shoulders with producers and directors, attend filmmaker panels, master classes, and party into the night at special events. The festival will screen more than 110 documentary, narrative, short, horror, thriller, and surf films.


Montclair Film presents the inaugural Montclair Film Summer Showcase




2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview




See Shore War Hero's Documentary at Ocean County Library Point Pleasant Beach Branch


Click here for more event previews







New Jersey Stage

© 2024 by Wine Time Media, LLC
PO Box 811, Belmar, NJ 07719
info@newjerseystage.com

Nobody covers the Arts
throughout the Garden State
like New Jersey Stage!


Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms. If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and on our RSS feed


Art | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Ad Rates | About Us | Pitch a Story | Links | Radio Shows | Privacy Policy