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Living Desert

As more people move into America’s deserts, the desert tortoise, once a thriving animal in Joshua Tree National Park, begins to suffer from loss of habitat, bacterial disease, predation and lack of water. While the desert tortoises have accepted these new living conditions, they have not truly adapted. Many local groups attempt to monitor the population and rehabilitate injured ones, but the growing human population and commercial development continues to harm the remaining population.

  • Amanda Larsh
  • Rachel Lattin
  • Hannah Mattner
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    short documentary, documentary, nature, environment
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 28, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    700 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Amanda Larsh, Rachel Lattin, Hannah Mattner

A News and Documentary and History double-major at Chapman University, this will be her first time shooting nature and wildlife with a video camera instead of her antique Cannon Rebel. Having always loved exploring America’s best idea (get it?) she is ecstatic to now add Joshua Tree to her list of National Parks visited. Having worked as an intern for the documentary production company Brave New Films and Pasadena Media, then as a writer for the San Marino Tribune, Amanda is thrilled to be returning to a field she truly enjoys.

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Director Statement

This film marked a lot of firsts for all of us. As student filmmakers, we learned what worked and what didn't, and at the end of the day we were able to walk away with a product we were proud of to show you today. We all had an amazing experience working with our different subjects, and learning about the desert tortoise and the issues they face today. We hope that in watching this film you are able to learn something new about these majestic creatures and the issues they face throughout America's deserts, and maybe stop and think for a moment about the impact we continue to play on the environment. The desert tortoise is a threatened species that moves closer to extinction every year, despite the fines and penalties placed on those who harm them they continue to be harmed by humans.