We are thrilled to announce Between Earth and Sky as the winner of our inaugural IF/Then x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch event at DOC NYC Festival, celebrating stories that spotlight the benefits of time spent outdoors.
Between Earth and Sky, directed by Andrew Nadkarni, will receive a $25,000 production grant and a year of wraparound mentorship from IF/Then Shorts. The pitch team of Nadkarni and producer Swetha Regunathan was awarded the grand prize by an esteemed jury of film industry luminaries and environmental experts at DOC NYC Festival.
Also selected as honorable mentions by the jury of the Nature Access Pitch – Fruit of Soil and Makana o ke Mele (Gift of Song) – will each receive a $5,000 grant and distribution consultation from IF/Then Shorts. Upon their completion, all three films will be featured as part of The Redford Center’s Nature Films Program.
Between Earth and Sky, pitched by Nadkarni and Regunathan, shares the story of Nalini Nadkarni, Andrew Nadkarni’s aunt, a renowned rainforest ecologist and tree climber who has a calling to nature. In the pitch, Andrew Nadkarni shared stories of his aunt’s childhood, her family life, and the deeper meaning that climbing trees represents to Nalini. After a near-fatal, life-changing fall from 50ft above, Between Earth and Sky captures Nalini’s reflection on her past life in the trees, and if she is willing to climb again.
“This day reminded me that there’s so much vital work taking place that most people don’t know about. Amazing individuals and communities are working to solve the problems of nature access, and their stories are just incredible. I am so inspired and honored to have these new documentaries as part of The Redford Center family of films. We are going to support them, in many ways, to make sure their work is shared with the world. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this inaugural Nature Access Pitch, our partnership with IF/Then Shorts, and the platform of DOC NYC.”
We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to all six of our finalists who pitched their projects, shared their stories, and provided audiences with a deeper look into the historical and ancestral connections to land, water, and nature held by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and undocumented communities. Their pitches highlighted the difficult yet resilient ways these communities navigate the residual impacts of forced displacement, generational trauma, and inequity and injustice on their journey towards equitable access to nature and healing.