top of page
A poster for the Environment in Focus program at the Tallahassee Film Festival featuring an illustration of a reel of film with leaves sprouting out of it

The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group Sponsors Environmental Film Suite for the Tallahassee Film Festival, Sept. 2











Taxonomic Ambiguity Encore

SSBG is pleased to provide an encore for Taxonomic Ambiguity by Juan Arturo García, from our programming at the Tallahassee Film Fest. View the film here in its entirety, available this week only (Sept. 3 - 9). During the viewing September 2 some in the audience were unable to see the subtitles due to the building's fire code requiring a low screen for the films. Thanks to everyone who came out. We had a standing-room only crowd, which was gratifying. Thanks again to the festival, the filmmakers, and to all of our enthusiastic supporters in the community. - Jeff VanderMeer, SSBG President


Using Film to Engage With Ecological Issues


The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group is excited to announce sponsorship of a suite of eight short environmental films and videos, with SSBG's curator and VP Alison Sperling moderating a discussion with attending filmmakers after the event. For the full Tallahassee Film Festival schedule and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

Ranging from meditations on North Florida forest to examinations of colonialism, explorations of nonhuman states, these films and videos push boundaries and ask the audience to reexamine the landscapes around them. 

"I'm so happy to help bring these films to Tallahassee," Sperling said, "and to partner with the Tallahassee Film Festival. I think audiences are in for a provocative and lively afternoon of programming. Through this selection of unique and largely experimental works, we focus on artists and cinematic practices that examine the so-called natural world and the technologies, feelings, desires, power structures, and stories that mediate our relationship with the environment. "


The program especially features LGBT and queer perspectives as well as decolonial approaches to representing nature and environment not only as ideas or entities in themselves but as historically and culturally-constructed concepts, and draws from both local Florida filmmakers and internationally renowned artists to present global perspectives.

The discussion with Ali Sperling and filmmakers Dave Rodriguez, Ian Edward Weir, Susan Anderson, and Shoog McDaniel promises to be a fascinating meeting of minds. Introductions by SSBG founder Jeff VanderMeer. 


SSBG welcomes a robust and thoughtful discourse around these films and their themes. Please join us September 2 at 1:30pm. Residence Inn at 600 West Gaines Street. Seating is limited. Get your tickets now. SSBG Founder Jeff VanderMeer will introduce the event. 


SSBG's Second Major Community Event of 2023


Earlier this year, in Spring, the Sunshine State Biodiversity Group brought major nationally known authors to Tallahassee's Word of South for an afternoon of environmental readings, panel discussion, and performance. Recently, SSBG received a $40,000 grant from the Fredman Family Foundation for land conservation in North Florida.


The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group is committed to conservation, education, and outreach related to biodiversity and rewilding in the state of Florida. Our work emphasizes projects that fill in gaps, occupy underserved areas, or provide otherwise unavailable information to the public. SSBG aims to find creative and fun ways to engage with Florida communities and amplify conversations on key issues that affect biodiversity and quality of life. 

Download SSBG's Poster and Program

The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group is happy to provide downloadable versions of the wonderful poster and pocket program (click links) for the film suite. Many thanks to Leacock Design for their design work, time, and thoughtfulness in providing these materials for SSBG.

Meet the Filmmakers 


Here is a short introduction to the filmmakers, listed in order of the run of the show.


STATIS (2018) - Directed by Maya Watanabe


Maya Watanabe is a visual artist and filmmaker who works with video installations. She has had recent exhibitions at, among other places: De Pont Museum, Tilburg (2021), MAXXI Museum, Rome (2019); MALI – Museo de Arte de Lima (2019); Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts (2019); La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2019); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto (2017); Das Fridericianum, Kassel (2016); and Matadero, Madrid (2014). Her work has been shown at various art biennials and internationally, including Videobrasil, the 13th Havana Biennial, Asian Art Biennial, the 2nd Wuzhen Contemporary Art Exhibition and the Beijing Biennial. She has also collaborated as audiovisual art director for stage productions in Peru, Spain, Austria and Italy. Watanabe lives and works in Amsterdam where she teaches at the Rietveld Academie. She is currently a PhD researcher at Goldsmiths College (University of London), Departments of Visual Cultures.


OCEANIC (2022) – Directed by micha cárdenas, Gerald Casel, Cynthia Ling Lee, Susana Ruiz, Huy Truong, Anna Friz (all are or were professors at UC Santa Cruz)


micha cárdenas is an assistant professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UC-Santa Cruz) and visual and performance artist. She teaches art and design, specializing in games and playable media. Gerald Casel is a choreographer and dancer currently teaching at the Mason Gross School of Arts after several years at UC-Santa Cruz. He also runs his own dance collective - GERALDCASELDANCE.  Cynthia Ling Lee is an American dancer, choreographer, and scholar at UC-Santa Cruz. She performs in contemporary, postmodern, and classical Indian dance techniques. Susana Ruiz is an Assistant Professor of film and digital media at UC-Santa Cruz, where she holds research, teaching, and service positions in several programs, including the Film and Digital Media Department, the Digital Arts and New Media Program, the Games and Playable Media Program, and the Social Documentation Program. (Can’t find any info on Huy Truong). Anna Friz is an Associate Professor at UC-Santa Cruz in Film and Digital Media. Friz creates media art, sound and transmission art, working across platforms to present installations, broadcasts, films and performances. Her works reflect upon media ecologies, land use, infrastructures, time perception, and critical fictions.


DISAPPEARING WATERS (2022) – Directed by Ian Edward Weir


Ian Edward Weir is multi-talented filmmaker and has over a decade of experience producing environmental and social sustainability videos. He is an accomplished videographer, editor, musician, recording engineer and sound designer. Weir is currently a faculty and post production specialist at Florida State University's College of Motion Picture and Recording Arts. He has been teaching documentary editing for the last 14 years and his student’s films have gone on to win student Emmys and Oscars, and have screened at The Cannes Film Festival.


TAXONOMIC AMBIGUITY (2022-2023) – Directed by Juan Arturo García 


Juan Arturo García is an artist from Mexico City, currently a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. His practice explores accented ways of living, their biopolitical affordances, and tactics for their representation. His latest research studies the production of scientific knowledge in Latin America throughout history, with a particular focus on how complex intertwinings of technical, cultural, mystical, and political desires have been deployed – and how to understand their consequences.


PICTURE A FOREST (2022) Directed by Dave Rodriguez


Dave Rodriguez is an audiovisual archivist, filmmaker, and curator originally from Miami. His single-channel video, 16mm film, and live expanded cinema work has been screened/performed in venues and galleries across the US, Canada, and Europe including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mono No Aware, Antimatter [media art], FLEX Film/Video Festival, FONLAD Video Art and Performance Festival, Onion City Film Festival, The International Noise Conference, Cosmic Rays Film Festival, the Florida Film Festival, and others. In 2015, he co-founded Miami Music Club, a venue and gallery space catering to experimental music and performance art, which also held a residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. In 2022-2023, he curated the exhibition Cut Frames, Captured Pixels: Found Footage Film & Video at Florida State University's Museum of Fine Arts. He is currently based in Tallahassee.


SUNFLOWER SIEGE ENGINE (2022) Directed by Sky Hopkina

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His video, photo, and text work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture expressed through documentary and non fiction forms of media.  His work has played at various festivals including Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor, Courtisane Festival, Punto de Vista, and the New York Film Festival. He was a guest curator at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and participated in Cosmopolis #2 at the Centre Pompidou. He was also  fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018- 2019, a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019, an Art Matters Fellow in 2019, a recipient of a 2020 Alpert Award for Film/Video, a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and was a 2021 Forge Project Fellow. 


TENDING THE ORCHARD (2023) - Co-directed by Katherine Agard and Bill Basquin

Katherine Agard is a poet and writer from Trinidad and Tobago currently based in California. Her writing has been supported by Lambda Literary, Kimbilio, Callaloo and VONA/Voices. She received an MFA in Literature at the University the University of California – San Diego. She is the author of the book of colour (Essay Press, 2020).


Bill Basquin was born in Indiana and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Basquin’s films have shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah; Documenta in Kassel, Germany; the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York (2011, 2023); and the Lab in San Francisco, California. Basquin dry-farms a one acre apple orchard and is certified as a wildland firefighter in relation to his work with prescription fire.

HOW TO CARRY WATER (2023) Directed by Sasha Wortzel


Sasha Wortzel uses video, sculpture, installation, and sound to explore how this country’s past and present are inextricably linked through resonant spaces and their hauntings. Raised in South Florida and based in New York City, Wortzel specifically attends to sites and stories systematically erased or ignored from these regions’ histories. Wortzel’s films have screened at the MOMA DocFortnight, True/False, BAMcinemaFest, Wexner Center for the Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Berlinale, among others. Solo exhibitions include Dreams of Unknown Islands at Cooley Memorial Art Gallery with Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR (2022) and Oolite Arts, Miami Beach, FL (2021). Their work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and The Kitchen, New York; and SALTS, Birsfelden. Wortzel has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, Field of Vision, and Doc Society.

Press should contact SSBG at Full schedule below. 

2023-09-04 09_32_07-Taxonomic Ambiguity.png
A flier for the Environment in Focus program at the Tallahassee Film Festival
bottom of page