|Dr. Mary Hagedorn and Miranda Andersen (Help Mary Save Coral)|
Miranda Andersen does not believe in staying still. Her accomplishments do not sound like those of an 11 year-old student from a small village on the edge of Vancouver, British Columbia. She is an environmental activist, committed to raising awareness of the dangers of global warming, especially to Earth's oceans. She is also a passionate filmmaker, and already has ten short films under her belt.
“It can be challenging making short films,” says Andersen, describing the struggle of conveying a lot of information in a short amount of time. “That’s why I find that the images and photos I use are so important in these kinds of films. Sometimes they have to do the talking for me.” So far, Miranda’s images have communicated well. Her recent film, Help Mary Save Coral, won a first-place award at the 2010 MY HERO International Film Festival.
The project combines Miranda's abiding interests in the form of a documentary portrait of Dr. Mary Hagedorn. Dr. Hagedorn is a Smithsonian scientist and leading expert in aquatic cryobiology. In her lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, she is pioneering new techniques to preserve coral. Coral reefs are among the most precious natural resources on our planet, covering only about .2% of the earth’s surface while sustaining approximately 25% of the world’s marine life. They purify the air we breathe by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, provide numerous medicines and vaccines, and protect shorelines from destructive waves. But coral is dying around the world, due to increased pollution and temperature changes wrought by global warming. Coral could become extinct within the next 50 years.
Miranda's love of oceans made her intimately aware of the gravity of this situation. She was so impressed with Dr. Hagedorn’s work that she flew to Hawaii in order to make a film about the dedicated marine biologist. The award-winning result eloquently conveys both the subject's and filmmaker's passion for saving marine life. Since her win at the MY HERO Film Fest, Miranda and her film have been selected for a special award at the Children Uniting Nations’ Children’s Dream Awards, furthering the reach and impact of her documentary.
While Miranda's goal is to eventually become a marine biologist herself, she continues to derive great pleasure from making films. In particular, Miranda remains excited about fueling her artistic endeavors with her environmental beliefs. “Being able to meet people like Mary and learn from others is a big part of why making films is so much fun. There are so many people in the world doing things that others don’t even know about it, and we need to share information and work together to make change happen.”