Films From Independent Creators Spark Conversations on Art and Sustainability

Fayetteville Film Fest and Walton Arts Center are proud to showcase Indie Films Artosphere on Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m. Featuring 10 films from independent artists screened during the annual Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts + Nature Festival, this mini film festival will spark conversations about sustainability, and the intersection of art and nature. 

We sat down with some of the creatives behind the mini film festival to learn more about what inspires them.

Cassie Self, executive director of Fayetteville Film Fest, curated these films based on their focus on themes of nature. Within the selection are multiple genres including animation, narrative and documentary styles – both student and professional. As people enjoy the films, Self hopes that they can “broaden their perspective on how different cultures interact with our earth, how we individually hold values around nature and how we can be psychologically affected by the absence of it.” 

One of the films to be screened is Avoesis, which unpacks the idea of nature’s persistence despite human impacts, such as noise pollution in urban environments. The film’s director, Mykhailo Bogdanov studied both cinematography and environmental science, and combines these in his films to encourage dialogue around nature and sustainability. “Filmmaking is one of the best ways to tell a meaningful story and share it with the world. That’s why I think I can fuse my passions to tell impactful environmental stories.”

Bogdanov’s film highlights the interactions between natural life and human commercial impact. “It is important to consider the true power of nature, but it will only be possible if we protect the environment and fill it with greenery, birds and other important living things … The natural cycle of life is the harmony that we belong to, and we shouldn’t disconnect and destroy it.” Bogdanov continued, “We live in a world that is desperately struggling due to a climate crisis. As a father, I feel tons of responsibility to make sure my kids will have healthy soil under their feet, clean water, a lot of trees and a clear sky above them.”

When asked what he wants audiences to take away from the film, Bogdanov said, “I think that Avoesis has a lot of layers to it, and everyone can take something for themself. Ideally, I would love if viewers would go out in their natural surrounding and start paying attention to everything around them, using their listening and critical thinking skills.”

Avoesis is just one of the films you can see at Indie Films Artosphere on Friday, March 12 at 8 p.m. All tickets are $15 and on sale now at

Other films to be screened at the Indie Films Artosphere Showcase:

Pili Ka Mo’o (13:58)  
Director: Justyn Ah Chong
While much of O’ahu has become urbanized. Hakipu’u remains a kipuka (oasis) of traditional knowledge where great chiefs once resided and their bones still remain.

To The Bone (5:36)  
Director: Andy Sarjahani
An Ozarks naturalist and bowhunter reflects on a recent animal harvest as he ponders the cycle of life. 

Diiyeghan (5:58)  
Director: Andy Sarjahani
A grandfather teaches his granddaughter, a young Gwich’in mother named Alisha, how reciprocity is embedded in all aspects of life. The northern lights warm the caribou, the caribou help feed and sustain the community and the community learns to honor the connections.

To Sprayer (8:45)  
Director: Farnoosh Abedi
In the land occupied with the sprayers army, no one has the right to grow any kind of plants either in private or public. 

The Misanthrope (21:31)  
Director: Paulina Sobczak
After a deadly sickness descends, a heartbroken gravedigger imposes a grevious new law.

Rain (6:34)  
Director: Mahdi Barqzadegan
Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet. 

Heal The River (5:36)  
Director: Andy Sarjahani
Hydropower dams, built decades ago, have dramatically altered river systems across Alabama. Downstream of the Harris Dam on the Tallapossa River, families and landowners who have lost property and use of the river have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ask for changes to the operation of the dam through the relicensing process. Their hope is that changes can improve downstream conditions and begin to heal the river.  

Psychogeography of Mourning (8:30)  
Director: Shayna Connelly
This film uses static imagery and unpredictable sound to reconcile the contradictory interior and exterior experiences that grief elicits.

Flyover (10:58)  
Director: Brian White
A day in the life of a modern Midwestern community as a farmhand hunts for the cow he scared away.