Butterfly dancer Kai Altair, performing in the film Dreams of the Last Butterflies poses with wings outstretched, as the Malabar Tree Nymph (Idea malabarica). (Photo by Nicholas Whitaker)
Art for art’s sake is one thing: art for nature’s sake is entirely better! We at SavingSpecies think so.
Great things can happen when art and science team up—and some truly great things are about to happen now that SavingSpecies is partnering with award-winning filmmaker Zina Brown and acclaimed electronic rock artist Kai Altair.
Today, SavingSpecies and film company Thousand Names Productions announce a new partnership. Emerging from Thousand Names Productions’ new film Dreams of the Last Butterflies the partnership is a paradigm shift in the way art and science can work together to heal the Earth. Indeed Dreams of the Last Butterflies will be one of the first carbon neutral films produced and made in New York.
The partnership also shows a new way to communicate science and conservation needs. Now, SavingSpecies can better reach non-scientist audiences outside those usually reached by science communicators. Zina and Kai help us tell compelling and engaging stories that will appeal to people of all backgrounds and ages.
The new partnership combines the power of science with the power of art. Science informs decision-making and art inspires people to see the world differently. This powerful synergy will promote international conservation and awareness of the need to take responsibility for our planet. It is also proof that small businesses—or even specific projects and art works—can be carbon neutral.
SavingSpecies, Zina Brown and Kai Altair are no strangers to innovation and creativity. And now, they are determined to use all of their talents to spread awareness about the climate and extinction crises.
SavingSpecies, unlike any other conservation organization, connects people’s carbon footprint directly to restored and protected forests. These forests capture and sequester carbon for generations, slowing the effect of global warming. At the same time, we use cutting-edge science and work closely with the world’s most renowned conservation biologists. This is how we find the best natural areas to restore forests for rare and endangered species around the globe.
Zina Brown, a film professional with over 15 years of experience directing and producing films, short features, and music videos, is recognized internationally for his work. His production company, Thousand Names Productions, emphasizes wonder to create an ‘otherworldly’ feeling, especially by fusing natural and human forms in the narrative.
Kai Altair is one of New York City’s most innovative musicians, combining rock, electronica and pop music with ancient rhythms, sounds, and beats. Hailed by CBS News as a “modern day mermaid,” Kai is influenced by dance culture, myth, storytelling, and dreams when creating her music and multimedia stage shows. A committed conservationist with a close connection to the world’s oceans, she created and the annual Mermaid Lagoon event where she has performed to raise money for such efforts as the cleanup after the BP Gulf oil spill of 2010.
Zina’s latest work, Dreams of the Last Butterflies, stars Kai, as well as seven other gifted dancers and performers as the “Butterfly Queens” representing butterfly species from around the world. The story is a beautiful meditation on butterflies—and their dwindling numbers on Earth. The conservation message is powerfully told through music, dance and stunning imagery. It drives home the very real extinction crisis facing biodiversity across the globe and the role human beings play in jeopardizing the existence of wildlife and ecosystems.
Zina empowered grassroots community support to produce the film. Through the non-profit fundraising website Kickstarter, Zina raised more than $36,500 from 372 supporters online. Just like contributors to SavingSpecies, supporters of Dreams of the Last Butterflies are committed to the well being of the planet and to raising awareness of environmental issues.
Given our joint commitments, SavingSpecies and Thousand Names Productions are natural partners. No one uses science to protect biodiversity better than the SavingSpecies team. And the producers of Dreams of the Last Butterflies were keen to provide accurate science (including depictions of butterfly species and scientific names, based on real endangered species), while using powerful imagery to tell a compelling story.
And both organizations get benefits from the partnership:
- Dreams of the Last Butterflies will be a carbon neutral production and will promote itself and SavingSpecies in the process.
- Thousand Names Productions gains exposure to SavingSpecies’ approximately 10,000-member community of people who are passionate about conservation and nature.
- SavingSpecies spreads its message to new audiences who may not be focused just on science but who are drawn to artistic interpretations of Earth’s plight.
- The partnership helps raise the visibility of SavingSpecies’ projects in areas of the world’s highest biodiversity, which include rare butterflies and countless other beautiful species.
And of course, this will set a wonderful example for other film producers in New York and, we hope, with support from you and others, even in Hollywood, which is, after all, the land of dreams.