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Plastic Paradise
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Angela Sun reveals the effects of our rabid plastic consumption as she investigates The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

A printer-friendly version of this page 57 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Angela Sun
Produced by Angela Sun, Gil Elbaz, Elyssa Elbaz, Tanya Leal Soto
Editor: Wendy Shuey
Cinematography: Joseph Ochoa, Francisco Aliwalas, Mark Bella
Graphics: Jonathan Jelkin

"Excellent--in its timeliness, its depth, and its presentation." Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Professor of Chemistry, Environmental Sciences Program Coordinator, SUNY at Fredonia
[Note: Community screenings of PLASTIC PARADISE can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it's become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2014     Copyright Date: 2014
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-524-6

"This is an issue of vast scales. I strongly recommend this film as an instructional tool to connect ecology, communication, and global service. Plastic Paradise engages students by illustrating how their everyday interactions with plastic are connected to pollution at the farthest, most exotic corners of the world. Students will learn the unexpected economic and ecological facets of plastic pollution and ways for each of us to minimize our plastic footprint. Angela Sun provides an excellent model of how one curious person can use her talents to follow her interests, speak from the heart, and contribute to improving the world. The voyage she completes can motivate students to discover more about pollution of all kinds on their own. By doing so, this film will inspire young people to act as global citizens and contribute to finding solutions for the major environmental problems of the coming century."
Timothy Hoellein, Aquatic Ecologist, Assistant Professor of Biology, Loyola University

"Highly Recommended...Accessible...Plastic Paradise covers a lot of ground in just under an hour, and is a great introduction to a range of important contemporary issues - material streams, corporate environmental responsibility, environmental activism, toxins and human health, ocean ecology - told from a simple, inquiring point of view."
Jen Wong, The University of Texas at Austin Materials Lab, Educational Media Reviews Online

"With fantastic archival footage, revealing modern images from the pacific and thoughtful, fact-based explanation, Plastic Paradise provides an educational, hip, and very entertaining look at some of the many ways plastic is affecting us all. I highly recommend checking this film out!"
Dr. Mike SanClements, Staff Scientist, The National Ecological Observatory Network, Affiliate Faculty, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado-Boulder

"Sun's Michael Moore-like tactics seem well-suited to the subject of a dangerous, yet all-pervasive product that is in every aspect of our lives...An alarming environmental activist film, this is recommended."
T. Keogh, Video Librarian

"Sun's documentary sends a clear and coherent message about one of the major environmental problems we face today. Her film articulates this message in a way that will resonate with anyone that cares about nature and the environment. This is a documentary that should be seen by educators, students, politicians, and environmentalists alike. Amazing work!"
Dr. Garen Baghdasarian, Professor of Biology, Chair of Life Sciences, Santa Monica College

"Accessible and interesting...The film makes a great effort to connect people with the consequences of their plastics use and disposal thereby sending a powerful message to the viewer to personally eliminate single-use plastics and to support the elimination of dangerous organic compounds such as BPA."
Laura Williamson Doyle, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Science Books and Films

"A very effective film that engages the viewer...Does an excellent job of connecting the dots about the human need for the indestructible material and the indelible impact plastic has on our environment."
Jerome Crowder, Anthropology News

"With California's landmark single-use plastic bag ban stalled by manufacturers, it's a particularly apt time for this documentary...This gently presented but ultimately deeply concerning film should be shown at every school in the country to spare the next generation from environmental death by plastic. We owe is to our kids to give them this information."
Abigail Lewis, Whole Life Times

"Filmmaker Angela Sun tells a compelling story about the plethora of harmful impacts associated with non-degradable plastic, particularly in regard to the marine environment, while recognizing that the properties of plastic have enhanced our quality of life in many ways. The film's haunting message highlights the importance of society transitioning to the existing truly biodegradable polymers wherever possible and as soon as possible."
Dr. Kirk J. Havens, Director, Coastal Watersheds Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary

"Viewers will not think of plastic in the same way again...Sun delivers a succinct and attention-getting message in this excellent, chilling film that will both support science curricula and appeal to popular interest."
Constance Dickerson, Cleveland Heights University, School Library Journal

"I believe that this film portrays the state of the plastic marine debris issue accurately. Once in the ocean there is really no way to get it out, other than hope that it washes up on a shore and is collected. Then what? Recycle, bury, what to do with it? The big problem is that it is all about money, profits. To the best of my knowledge there has been no life cycle analysis of plastic. Even if there was, how do we put a price on an albatross? A dead seal or sea lion? An endangered sea turtle? This is one of the easiest visualizations of how humans (not all, but many) have lost connection with the environment--a sad state of affairs--but the truth."
William J. Cooper, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of the Urban Water Research Center, University of California-Irvine

"A fun and well-balanced introduction to a complex environmental topic. Drawing from the expertise of a diversity of scientists, activists and management practitioners in the field, this film introduces its audience to issues regarding plastic production and waste-management, plastic contamination in the ocean and the hazards of plastic and its chemical cocktail to humans and wildlife."
Dr. Chelsea M. Rochman, Smith Fellow in Conservation Biology, Marine Ecologist/Ecotoxicologist, Aquatic Health Program, University of California Davis

"Powerful...Sun's investigations should help make students and adults more aware of our casual overuse of plastic and its consequences."
Davis R. Conn, Library Journal

"Plastic Paradise offers new and sharpened perspectives on the problem of plastics in the environment. It includes a good history of the genesis of the plastics industry from materials shortages during World War II, and demonstrates that things put in the environment (such as a message in a bottle) can stick around for a long time and move great distances. This film makes the case that the only solution is source control, and that consumers have a great deal of underutilized power."
Dr. Joel Baker, Director, UW Puget Sound Institute, Professor and Port of Tacoma Chair in Environmental Science, University of Washington Tacoma

"Angela Sun has found a way to present the imminent dangers of plastics pollution in a jarringly visual and inquisitive format...Significant take-home messages include a misconception of just how few plastic products are recyclable, and that plastics production will continue to increase as long as the demand for plastic products remains. The film takes a refreshing approach of avoiding the blame game, while emphasizing that learning about the issue can lead to less plastic use by the general public."
Dr. Patricia Corcoran, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario

"Angela Sun spoke with all the right people and even went to places she wasn't supposed to go in order to present the full story on plastic pollution. The film is excellent--in its timeliness, its depth, and its presentation. I watched the film with some of my students so I can attest that it appeals to the younger generation. Plastic Paradise makes the issue of plastic pollution real and relevant. It provides valuable information and presents that information in an engaging and visually gripping way."
Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Professor of Chemistry, Environmental Sciences Program Coordinator, SUNY at Fredonia

"We are all familiar with trash, but most of us likely are unaware of indestructible plastic trash that pollutes the oceans, contaminates our seafood, kills birds, fish, and marine mammals as well as carrying toxic substances into the environment and our bodies. Plastic Paradise is an excellent, accessible, and troubling documentary that reveals these issues. My college age son thinks it is 'right on.' See it and share it with others!"
Carl F. Cranor, Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, University of California-Riverside

Select your institution type

DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and scene selection

The Film's Website
Host a community screening
Algalita Marine Research & Education
5 Gyres Institute
Plastic Pollution Coalition

Awards and Festivals
School Library Journal's 2015 Top 10 List
Best of Fest Award, Docuwest Film Festival
Grand Jury Award, Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Best Medium Length Documentary, FICMA, Barcelona International Environmental Film Festival
Best Educational Film, Blue Ocean Film Festival
Best Documentary, Philadelphia Asian Film Festival
Gold Award Winner, California Film Awards
Broadcast Award, American Conservation Film Festival
Best Environmental Film, San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Isla Conservation Award, Catalina Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
Sonoma Film Festival
International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula, MT
San Francisco Green Film Festival
Big Bear International Film Festival
San Diego Asian International Film Festival
Honolulu World Oceans Day Festival
Waimea Ocean Film Festival
Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival
Boston Film Festival
Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival
Sonoma International Film Festival
Irvine International Film Festival
Richmond Environmental Film Festival
Marda Loop Justice Film Festivals
I Imagine Film Festival
Festival TransAmeriques Montreal
Gray's Reef Ocean Film Festival
Miami & the Beaches Environmental Film Festival
Reel Change Sustainability Film Festival
Papua New Guinea Human Rights Film Festival
One Earth Film Festival
Taos Environmental Film Festival

American Studies
Business Practices
Earth Science
Endocrine Disruptors
Global Issues
Life Science
Media Literacy
Oceans and Coasts
Pacific Studies
Toxic Chemicals

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... more Reviews

"Plastic Paradise warns that the environment is everyone's responsibility, and that humanity cannot turn a blind eye to its own garbage forever. Highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review

"Intriguing...chilling film...Journalist Angela Sun offers valuable new insights."
The Hollywood Reporter

"The film everyone needs to see."

"Sun offers a fresh, new voice for her generation and has made a film that can appeal to the masses."
Honolulu Pulse

"Offers some alarming information that might cause viewers to think twice about buying one-time-use water bottles."
The Boston Globe

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