It was well past midnight, and Paul and I were talking about creating, intention, and connection. Our conversation eventually led to the making of Paul’s national award winning film The Last Straw.
The story of how The Last Straw came about begins six years ago. It was the day before the Flagstaff Hullabaloo Festival and due to a last minute cancelation, Paul was invited to do whatever he wanted with half an artist’s booth. “There could have been a hundred reasons not to do it,” Paul recalled, “especially given that I had less than a day to figure out what to do. But, I had a steel door and magnets . . .” and Animation Station was born.
Since then, Paul has been at the Hullabaloo every year teaching young people the art of animation – and the best of the mini-movies the kids make are shown yearly at the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival.
In 2017, Dr. Maria Campbell, marine biologist and board member of the FMFF, learned of the Youth Making Ripples Film Competition. She approached Paul and Flagstaff non-profit ocean conversation group Azulita about working with kids to create a film for the competition. The next thing Paul knew, he was producing a film written, directed, acted, and animated by his students. The kids even wrote and made the film’s music.
Check out The Last Straw:
They submitted the film at the end of 2017, and The Last Straw won the 2018 Youth Making Ripples Film Competition. Because of the film, the kids went on a trip to Florida in April 2019 where they visited a sea turtle rehabilitation center, got to go on a shark-tagging expedition, toured the everglades, and got to speak about and show The Last Straw at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference of 2019.
Six of the kids who worked on the film went to Florida along with five adults (including Paul). All the kids say the trip was a life-changing experience. They are concerned about protecting the planet, being activists and using film-making and art to tell their stories. One wants to be a marine biologist. All want to make more conservation animation films – including one about Flagstaff and people leaving their broken sleds behind on our mountains and forests.
There are more things in progress due to this film and Animation Station. One thing already happening is Paul and the kids are creating a documentary of their journey to Florida. More things to come.
Tonight, while Paul and I were walking the dog, Paul said The Last Straw was a good example of manifestation – you imagine something, and then you take action (and then let go, imagine some more, and take action, and let go,and so on and so on).
Sometimes amazing things happen when you follow your heart. Even actions that seem only to make the tiniest ripples.