Noé Sardet & Tierney Thys: The Plastic Vagabond

Noé Sardet & Tierney Thys: The Plastic Vagabond

About the Project

Noé Sardet and Tierney Thys, along with team members Sharif Mirshak and Christian Sardet, created The Plastic Vagabond, a media campaign which set out to mobilize community efforts surrounding plastic ocean pollution, creating a momentum toward reducing our plastic footprint. An accompanying TED-Ed lesson allowed the filmmakers to track the educational impact of the campaign as it was used in schools by teachers around the world. The video featured a call-to-action through an international Facebook group that promoted both the film and the sharing of creative art projects using plastic pollution collected from beaches. Specific local action projects conducted by the filmmakers catalyzed community action in distinct geographic areas.  The final campaign consisted of one short film making a call for people to participate in beach trash collection and art creation events. The contest ran from March 10, 2016 - October 31, 2016 with a $500 prize given to the group who designed the best art project from ocean plastics.

Noé and Tierney used ujjhThe Plastic Vagabond to take the viewer deep into plankton ecosystems in order to witness how plastic gets drawn into the planktonic food web, acts as a vehicle for transporting invasive species, and insidiously winds its way into our own seafood supply. The film gives plastic pollution a face through the use of an engaging plastic toy narrator and take the viewer on a wild journey from land to sea and back again, helping to cultivate a love of the ocean while at the same time highlighting the longevity of plastic. Through powerful visual media, the campaign aims to catalyze individual and community actions to keep plastic trash out of the water, reaching unique audiences who may not otherwise learn about this issue.

Noé and Tierney distributed the film through social media, TED-Ed, community workshops, and through Noé and Sharif's production company (Parafilms) as well as partnerships with Ecomaris, the Ocean Guardian School, Think Beyond Plastic, the Ocean Expedition, the Carmel River School, and TARA Expeditions.

Impact of the campaign was be measured through a Facebook group page which will showcase international community plastic pollution art projects. Educational impact will be measured through TED-Ed. 

CMG met Noé and Tierney through our Action Grant pitch session at the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF). Their project was one of eight chosen to pitch and was selected as one of three winners. CMG awarded The Plastic Vagabond a $10,000 matching grant that will cover necessary production and distribution costs.

About the Grantees

Dr. Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences, marine biologist and filmmaker. Her work bridges the worlds of primary research and science communication to promote environmental understanding and stewardship. After receiving a degree in biology from Brown and PhD in zoology from Duke University, she was Director of Research at Sea Studios Foundation (SSF) in Monterey California for ten years. While at SSF, she helped create multimillion dollar documentary series such as Strange Days on Planet Earth and the Shape of Life. Her current projects include: Neurobiophilia—exploring how nature impacts the brain; Nature in Prisons Project—investigating nature imagery on the mental health of super-max inmates; Stories from the Sea—a TED-Ed film series focused on ocean conservation and; and Animal Jam—a massive online game with 25 million registered players in 140 countries where she serves as the Daily Explorer. Tierney is also a presenter for NG Expeditions, an expert on the giant ocean sunfishes, Molidae and a member of the TED Braintrust, Wildscreen Foundation Trust and Think Beyond Plastic Foundation.

Noé is trained as a communicator, videographer and multimedia designer. He holds a Masters in Art Direction and Multimedia Engineering from the University of Nice, France. In the past decade, he has worked as a graphic artist, multimedia designer, and filmmaker, in Paris, New York, San Jose, Montreal and in the south of France, where he was born and raised. Today Noé focuses his output on film production, exploring innovative modes of expression in the context of international science research and art projects. He is a diver and loves adventure. In the past years he has participated in several scientific expeditions and underwater archaeology campaigns in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in the Arctic.

In 2009, Noé founded Parafilms with Sharif Mirshak. Based in Montreal, Parafilms specializes in video production, creating documentaries, music videos, and film animation. Their award-winning documentary series “The Plankton Chronicles” shows the beauty and diversity of drifting marine organisms. Parafilms has worked with The National Science Center (CNRS, France), Tara Expeditions, TED Education, CBC, Takuvik Research team (Laval Univ. Quebec), Ecomaris and several other cultural and environmental non-profit organizations.  Noé teaches courses in Graphic Design and Digital Film to Vermont’s Champlain College students who come to Montreal for a semester abroad. Drawing from his own professional experience, and with the participation of local creatives, he instructs students in visual conceptualization, and guides them in learning to use the tools of cinematography, sound recording, and video editing.

Photo credit : Christian Pomerleau

Project Updates and Milestones

Noé Sardet and Tierney Thys, and filmmakers Sharif Mirshak and Christian Sardet, have released their short film The Plastic Vagabond.  The film, (shown below) is narrated in both English and in French and educates viewers on plastics as a major contributor to ocean pollution, and suggests a solution on what to do with the plastic found in our oceans.

Over the course of the film distribution period 6,065 classrooms were reached with the ocean plastics film and TED Ed lesson plan with 781 students' questions answered.  There were 20 in-person international screenings with over 800 viewers. The film also inspired viewers to hit the beaches together for communal beach cleanups - and then make sure the plastic never returns to the ocean, by creating art with the plastic debris found.  Viewers were asked to submit photos of their art submissions to the campaign's Facebook page for a chance to win $500.  The contest ran from March 10th, 2016 - October 31st, 2016.  Teachers and educators also utilized the Plastic Vagabond's TED-Ed lesson to educate students about plastic pollution.  There were 10 people who entered the contest, and the jury of Liz Smith (Director, Conservation Media Group), Simon Paquin (Director of EcoMaris), Tierney Thys (Biologist, NatGeo Explorer) and Christian Sardet (Biologist, CNRS) each voted to select the first place contestant....the winner of the Plastic-Art contest was Céline Bellanger with her "Plastic Monsters" (pictured below).  

Watch their videos below (and see the winner of the art contest too!):

Noé Sardet and Tierney Thys / The Plastic Vagabond (English)

Noé Sardet and Tierney Thys / The Plastic Vagabond (French)