Alumni Film Celebrates Conservation

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021
Juilliard Journal
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Jennifer Smith, Nathan Hirschaut, and Treyden Chiaravalloti at the shore. They are sitting on a large log of driftwood and Chiaravalloti holds a movie camera on his lap
Jennifer Smith, founder of Community Carbon trees, with alums Nathan Hirschaut and Treyden Chiaravalloti in Costa Rica

Alumni film celebrates conservation and interdependence

A young girl helping to plant a tree feels a profound unity with the natural world. She asks her mother "Who taught the trees to grow?" and wonders who taught her to love. —alumnus Treyden Chiaravalloti, director of One Precious Life

One Precious Life, a 20-minute environmental art film that celebrates conservation and interdependence, was created by four alums and is being released on Earth Day. The brainchild of Nathan Hirschaut (BFA ’20, dance), it was directed by Treyden Chiaravalloti (BFA ’20, dance) and scored by Jonathan Miron (Pre-College ’10; BM ’14, MM ’18, violin) and Philip Sheegog (BM ’17, MM ’19, cello).

The project began a few years ago, when Hirschaut met Jennifer Smith, who created a nonprofit that works with communities around the globe to plant trees. After graduating, Hirschaut started working with other artists to create interdisciplinary, purpose-driven art. This video—which promotes sustainability and is their latest project—is a poetic narrative that tells the story of a little girl learning to live with the natural world. Proceeds from its showing will go toward the tree-planting initiative.

Adults are helping small children plant and water saplings
'One Precious Life' is an environmental art film that celebrates conservation

“There was just something about hearing the story of one little seed turning into a forest that moved something in me,” Hirschaut said as he and Chiaravalloti were wrapping up the shooting.

Sheegog and Miron described their score for One Precious Life as an attempt to “walk the lines between waking and dreaming, material and transcendent, individual and universal.” To capture the film’s essence, they said, they employed “organic, acoustic strings to ethereal synths, spacious reverbs, and other aural elements.”

Hirschaut takes the themes of the global tree-planting initiative and of the film and extrapolates them to the larger world. “It’s diversity that makes a forest work, and at a time we’re so polarized, the message that what makes us different will make us grow is an important one. The more differences we can embrace and understand and cooperate with, the more rich a forest—and a life—we can have.”

>See the trailer and find out more about Hirschaut’s interdisciplinary collective, HIVE Creates, here; find out about Community Carbon Trees, the tree-planting initiative that inspired this film, here