Our festival exposes the audience to ideas, concepts and stories of sustainability.  We also empower filmmakers working on sustainability-related subjects & stories.

All participating pieces have to be about an aspect of sustainability. This does not only include environmental sustainability, such as sustainable water usage, sustainable energy usage, sustainable city planning, sustainable agriculture & gardening, resilience, etc., but also social sustainability and social justice, economic sustainability and educational sustainability. Films about sustainable outdoor fun and recreation and sustainability-themed music videos are also invited to participate. This year's festival has two special focus areas: 1) Sustainable Use of Water and 2) Environmental Activism. Participating productions can be documentaries, narrative films, animations, VR / AR productions, experimental films, video art, etc. Still imagers are also accepted.

The festival is divided into a 3-day short film festival, scheduled for November 9 – 12, 2022 and a separate ongoing bi-weekly screening series of long & medium format films, screened both at the Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) and UHCL, starting in September 2022. The short film festival is accompanied by an equally themed art exhibit in the UHCL art gallery which is open to the public November 7  - December 9, with an opening event on November 10.

Besides screenings in the gallery's Black Box Theater & screenings on several TVs throughout the gallery space, the show will also feature projections of still images and sustainability-related tangible art, such as framed photographs, paintings, graphic design pieces, pottery and sculptures. For our 2021 festival edition the gallery showed 40 tangible art pieces and 40 film pieces.

All films and still images for projection should be submitted by FilmFreeway. For the submission of tangible art pieces for the gallery exhibit, please send up to three photographs + an artist statement to brims@uhcl.edu by August 25.

Our large theater screenings will take place on November 9 - 12, 2022 in our University of Houston - Clear Lake’s state of the art 500-seat Bayou Theater and the 90 seat ABNC lecture hall.

Participating films and other artwork for both the theater screenings and the gallery exhibition are selected by Mary Magsamen. Mary is a curator, educator and artist. She is currently working as an independent curator on large scale public art video projects. From 2008 – 2022 she was the Curator at the Aurora Picture Show in Houston, Texas, a media arts organization that specializes in experimental film, video and art. She is the recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowship and a FACE Curatorial Fellowship. For the Aurora Picture Show, Mary curated, among other things, their annual Extremely Shorts festival. She also judged for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, Houston Arts Alliance, University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, Kingwood Community College, and Texas Commission on the Arts. Prior to Aurora Picture Show, Magsamen curated independently and taught in University programs at The New School University, University of Toledo and University of Houston. Magsamen has a collaborative interdisciplinary artist practice with her husband, Stephan Hillerbrand, as Hillerbrand+Magsamen. Mary holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan,

Our festival is also accompanied by several sustainability-themed panel discussions with local experts. Confirmed participants for our 2022 festival edition are Houston activists Chanté Davis and Bryan Parras, both of which have extensive and impressive records advocating for environmental sustainability in the local Houston area and beyond.

Our festival partners with several local sustainability-focused organizations, among which are the Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) and the Houston Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC). The ABNC is a direct neighbor to the university. It is one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States & contains 2500 acres of the natural wetlands forest, prairie and marsh habitats, housing over 370 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The CEC was founded in 1971 to foster dialogue, education, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston / Gulf Coast region. It connects concerned citizens and community leaders with well over 100 diverse environmental organizations. CEC shares, supports, and enhances people's efforts and environmental advocacy. Among other things, the ABNC will host several of our screenings, the CEC will help building a local sustainability-focused audience for the festival.

The festival also includes a vendor expo featuring local sustainability-related organizations. Concrete participants to be confirmed.

This second edition of our festival builds on a successful inaugural edition in 2021, which screened over 80 films in altogether 7 screening locations and was attended by over 1000 people.

1st, 2nd & 3rd prize in each of the categories listed. In-kind & cash prizes to be determined.

1) Every participating film or artwork has to be about an aspect of sustainability
2) For the short film competition: maximum length for each production is 7:00 minutes, medium length films should be between 7:00 - 45:00 minutes and long format films between 45:00 - 95:00 minutes.
3) By submitting to this festival, each filmmaker grants the festival the permission to use still frames & up to 30 seconds of each film for promotional purposes on the festivals website & associated social media accounts.
4) By submitting to this festival each filmmaker ensures that he / she has all necessary rights to do so.
5) For tangible pieces participating in the gallery exhibition, artists are responsible drop them off at the UHCL art gallery by November 1 and pick them up after the closing by December 15.

Overall Rating
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  • Thank you for the opportunity and for hosting such a great event!

    November 2022
  • Julien Devaux

    Sustainable story is a very dedicated festival with efficient and friendly communication - all the experience was very positive

    November 2022
  • Kang Le

    A great festival and great programming!

    November 2022
  • Jo Pearl

    Super pleased that my clay animation Gasping for Air was selected for the Sustainable Stories Festival. Great that it was screened in both a cinema and gallery setting. The festival team did a great job in communicating logistics.

    November 2022
  • Thank you very much for everything

    November 2022