In sunshine and in shadow

The Bell Museum harvests a slew of nature-themed films

Claire Joseph

Maybe you’re one of those sensitive souls who see the beauty of nature everywhere.

Or maybe you’re the type who thinks “nature” is a meaningless category reflecting an outmoded ideology.

The Bell Museum of Natural History and Minnesota Film Arts want you either way Wednesday.

Earlier in the year, the groups joined forces to put on the “Nature Film Challenge,” one of Minnesota Film Arts’ many film challenges and the museum’s first.

“It’s a way to look at how film and science kind of intersect,” said Shanai Matteson, museum and “Nature Film Challenge” organizer.

Instead of just picking a nature film that’s already been made, Minnesota Film Arts and the museum wanted to give people the opportunity to create their own depictions of nature.

Entrants had to answer questions regarding the definition of nature, where and what nature is in their homes and what constitutes their relationships with nature.

The films, which are all less than five minutes long, have come in many different forms.

“We got a 3-D film, and the creator sent us a bunch of glasses,” Matteson said.

They’ve also received documentaries, dramas, comedies and everything in between, Matteson said.

Now, all they have to do is choose a winner.

On Wednesday, the co-presenters of the challenge will show the films in the Bell Museum of Natural History Auditorium.

The fun part of the night, other than seeing everyone’s versions of nature, is that you, as a member of the audience, will have the chance to judge the films.

Matteson said the standout films will be those that answer the question about what or where nature is where you live – especially those made by people who live in the city, a place where many just assume nature doesn’t exist.

The answers to these questions might prove intriguing to the hard-bitten realist and the ecstatic tree hugger alike.