River of Grass brings audiences on a journey through the past, present, and precarious future of the Florida Everglades, a vast region of wetlands unlike any other on earth. Maligned as “worthless” for hundreds of years, they were drained to half their size and reclaimed for development. The consequences have been enormous. The Everglades supply drinking water to over 8 million Floridians, and are essential to mitigating the Climate Crisis–yet today they are on the verge of collapse. Told through the writings of the late environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and those who today call the region home, River of Grass explores the entwinement of past colonial violences and present-day ecological urgency.
River of Grass is a 2022 (Egg)celerator Lab Finalist.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Sasha Wortzel is an artist and filmmaker working between Miami, Florida, and Brooklyn, New York. Wortzel’s films have screened at MoMA DocFortnight, True/False, DOC NYC, BAMCinemaFest, Blackstar Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, and Berlinale. Their work has been exhibited at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, Krannert Art Museum, and SALTS Birsfelden. Wortzel has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, Doc Society, and through the 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and Points North Fellowship. Wortzel has participated in residencies including the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Residency, LMCC Workspace Program, Abrons Arts Center, The Watermill Center, New York; Artists in Residence in the Everglades (AIRIE), and Oolite Arts in Miami Beach. Wortzel’s film This is an Address (2020) is distributed by Field of Vision. Happy Birthday, Marsha! (2018; co-director Tourmaline) won a special mention at Outfest and is distributed by Frameline. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places, Brooklyn Museum, Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, and Studio Museum of Harlem. Wortzel has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, and Art in America.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Danielle Varga is a producer based in New York. She recently produced Bulletproof directed by Todd Chandler, who won the Hot Docs Emerging International Filmmaker Award. She produced Brett Story’s critically acclaimed documentary The Hottest August, and co-produced Kirsten Johnson’s award-winning, and Oscar® shortlisted film Cameraperson. Danielle was listed on DOC NYC’s inaugural list of 40 Under 40 filmmakers to watch. She was a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow.
ABOUT THE CO-PRODUCER
Houston Cypress is a Two-Spirit Poet, Artist, Producer, and Environmentalist from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Cypress serves as the head of Love The Everglades Movement, an organization devoted to the development of platforms and initiatives for environmental protection, and cultural preservation. Cypress acts as a cultural ambassador, fostering meaningful exchanges between his society of native clans and the global community. He presented at ICA Miami a lecture titled Decolonizing Gender, Land, and Spirit (2017) and contributed to their Digital Commissions series with his short film … what endures … (2021). He co-created Every Step Is A Prayer (2021), a short film, executive produced by Superblue and NOWNESS. His recent artist residencies include the Heat Exchange by Bas Fisher Invitational and Rogaland Kunstsenter, and the Thread Residency by the Musagetes Foundation. He invites you to join him in creating portals between worlds.