MNN: Your movie tackles the mass extinction of species due to human action, which is similar in magnitude to geologically important events like the Permian or the K-T (which saw the demise of the dinosaurs). Many people don't know this is happening. Is this your way of drawing attention to this issue? Of all environmental topics to tackle visually, why this one?
Summer Rayne Oakes: The film humanizes loss. It gives the viewer a way to contextualize the speed of ecosystem degradation by giving us a chilling reminder of our own mortality. It is my hope that the film will touch the viewer's soul by highlighting that which is most vulnerable.
You and your collaborators chose a simple storyline and arresting visuals for this short film. Why?
It is the combination of striking moving images, timeless music, and a powerful message that gives the viewer of this film a spiritual experience. It is meant to be concise and direct; It neither indulges in excessive pedantry nor proselytizes an environmental ideology. It simply reveals the beauty of our natural world and what we stand to lose within a lifetime.
Was there any information you wish made it into the film that didn't?
I originally had more examples that didn't make it into the film, but I think we had all that we needed to clearly articulate our message.
What is your hope for the outcome/influence of "eXtinction"?
Quite simply — to move people, to give us [the viewers] a way to feel human again, to be reconnected with the wonderful potential and eternal limitations of our species. Maybe it will even inspire some of us to action. What form of action? How far must we go to curb this loss? That is for all of us to figure out.
Are you planning on or interested in making more films on environmental topics going forward?
"'eXtinction" is very personal for me — it is something of a cinematic glimpse of my soul — while also being an impassioned public service announcement for Planet Earth. The process of making it inspired me. And it has deeply moved those who have had the chance to see it. Given this outcome, of course I will do another film!
Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images