Short Films, Big Visions: Transportation-themed films spark conversation about community connections

Community Power Minnesota video still with a woman and small child on a bike

Dozens of community members and transportation advocates tuned in to “Short Films, Big Visions: A Series on Transportation and Community” on February 23. Co-hosted by CTS and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the virtual event featured a screening of short films produced by the Redford Center for its “Community Power'' series followed by an engaging panel discussion.

Community Power Minnesota: Transportation and Happiness” features the research of University of Minnesota professor and CTS scholar Yingling Fan. Created by Minneapolis filmmaking team Sebastian Schnabel and Cici Yixuan Wu, the film showcases Fan’s decade-long, community-based research that supports the idea that the way we commute can have a significant impact on our feelings of well-being.

“Transportation is an unavoidable emotional landscape in everyday life,” Fan says. “In any urban area, significant portions of land area are devoted to streets, parking, public transit, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks.”

The screening included a video welcome and introduction by Redford Center Executive Director Jill Tidman. Following the screening, CTS Director Kyle Shelton moderated a half-hour panel discussion about Fan’s work, issues raised by the films, and transportation policy. In addition to Fan, the panelists were Mariia Zimmerman, strategic advisor for technical assistance and community solutions, US Department of Transportation; Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, public works director, City of Minneapolis; and Emily Smoak, active living coordinator, Minnesota Department of Public Health.

Video still showing a smiling man on a bike

Watch a video of the panel discussion

MnDOT, Metro Transit, Move Minnesota, Move Minneapolis, and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota sponsored the event, and staff from these organizations provided questions and joined community members in the discussion. Topics included improving access to transportation options and deepening connections between transportation infrastructure and communities.

The five films in the Community Power series each focus on different areas of the country and different aspects of the future of transportation, sustainability, and community empowerment. They can all be viewed online through the Redford Center’s website. Founded in 2005 by Robert Redford and his children, the Redford Center harnesses the power of film, video, and new media to increase public engagement on frontline issues and support like-minded community efforts.

Writer: John Siqveland


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