Elicia Epstein: Tracing the Pass

Elicia Epstein: Tracing the Pass

About the Project

Tracing the Pass is a short documentary where filmmaker Elicia Epstein follows the path of the proposed Northern Pass electrical transmission project. Elicia takes a unique perspective by choosing to bike much of the project's path, interviewing abutting landowners and nearby residents along the way. She speaks with these stakeholders to find out how the project will impact their homes, livelihood and way of life.

Production for the Pass Project (2015) took place over two weeks in June of 2015. During that period, Elicia spent time travelling and shooting along the proposed route for the Northern Pass Transmission line in New Hampshire. Elicia's original vision for the project was to bike and hike the 185-mile transmission route, spending time with different households, individuals, organizations and communities along the way. Her concept was to weave together a collection of rural and industrial landscapes, portraits of homes, properties and people, reflecting the complexity of the affected communities along the route and their relationship to their land.

As part of her work around the Northern Pass, Elicia is developing a story map that will show user-submitted stories of those effected by the line. A blog site accompanied the film, where viewers could find updates on her project, including screenings. As of the project's completion, the future of the Northern Pass project had not yet been decided. 

According to Jack Savage of the Forest Society, “The opposition to the Northern Pass may lead to defining what New Hampshire communities want to be for the next 5 to 10 years, or even decades. This story transcends the Northern Pass—it’s about people’s relationship to their land, how important that is and how this kind of energy infrastructure threatens it—and Elicia captures this in her film."

Elicia was first introducted to CMG through David Conover, CMG’s Founding Director. Around that time, CMG had produced a pilot campaign focusing on the Northern Pass project for the Forest Society. CMG felt Elicia's project would be a great match for their focus, and so worked on putting a grant together. CMG provided Elicia with a $10,000 Filmmaker-In-Residence grant to produce, edit and distribute her film.

About the Grantee

Elicia joined CMG as the Filmmaker-in-Residence for the summer of 2015. Originally from outside Boston, Massachusetts, she moved west to study Studio Art and Media Studies at Pomona College in California, focusing on photography, sculpture and social practice. Elicia got her start in video work while studying Multimedia Storytelling for a semester at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Here she made a documentary piece about a practicing coven of witches based in Maine. On her most recent documentary project, Elicia biked solo up the Pacific coast from Los Angeles to southern Oregon to explore people’s spiritual relationship to the land and the traditions that engender this connection. Through her work this summer on the Northern Pass, Elicia hopes to continue to link people’s relationship to the land they live on with the energy issues that stand to tangibly impact that land. 

Project Updates and Milestones

The film was screened in October of 2015 and included four locations throughout New Hampshire: the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests in Concord, the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, the Tillotson Center for the Arts in Colebrook, and the Pease Public Library in Plymouth. Elicia also entered the film into the DC Environmental Film Festival and the Green Film Festival in San Francisco and plans on entering the film in six additional festivals.

Visit the project site for more information on film festival results, additional screenings or to see the film.

Watch Elicia's completed 26-minute version of Tracing the Pass below. The 50-minute Director's Cut version is available to watch HERE.

Elicia Epstein / Tracing the Pass

CMG Filmmaker-In-Residence: Elicia Epstein / Tracing the Pass (Director's Cut)