A City of Nature [Felicity Silverthorne, Ireland, 2017]
A City of Nature is a 5-minute documentary about environmental conservation efforts in Galway, Ireland. It is a very low-budget ‘talking heads’ style piece, with Silverthorne using the camera to capture the green spaces and wildlife that are under threat from basic human neglect. One of the main interviewees is Brendan ‘Speedie’ Smith, a wildlife conservationist and environmentalist who sums up the film’s attitudes early on stating that, “There is a magic in nature that we are losing touch with”. We also learn through intertitles that only 9% of Ireland is made up of forests, with many wildlife species becoming extinct as a result.
This is clearly a subject matter that is dear to the filmmaker’s heart and she should be commended for tackling an issue largely unexplored in the world of short film. It is a noble effort from someone that is still learning the ropes of filmmaking. The image and sound editing are disjointed and ultimately distracting, but one should bear in mind that the film was produced with little to no money and with sufficient backing, production facilities and crew, Silverthorne could go on to be a very interesting documentary filmmaker.