Press Release

April 4 2023

City of Miami Beach and Oolite Arts Commission Short Films on Climate Change for 2024 Aspen Ideas: Climate Event

Miami Beach, FL – The City of Miami Beach and Oolite Arts today announced a new partnership to commission three short films on climate solutions to debut at the 2024 Aspen Ideas: Climate event.

The filmmakers — all South Florida-based — will each receive $15,000 to create a 10-to- 12-minute film on the climate crisis. They are:

  • Jayme Gershen, an award-winning filmmaker and photographer whose short film “Six Degrees of Immigration” (2019) is featured on the New York Times’ Op-Docs channel, won a regional Emmy and aired on PBS stations around the country. Gershen is currently a fellow of the ITVS Humanities Documentary Development Fund, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Joshua Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian-American writer with a diverse background in the film industry. He co-wrote the feature film “Ludi” (2021), which was awarded the CinematicArts Residency from Oolite Arts and premiered at both the Miami Film Festival and SXSW.
  • LeAnne Russell, a Miami native, actress and filmmaker who is developing her first feature film. She has a master’s from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and received a Special Jury Mention for her application to the 2022 Cinematic Arts Residency at Oolite Arts.
  • Oolite Arts, Miami-Dade’s largest artist support organization, helps fast forward the careers of South Florida filmmakers through its Cinematic Arts Program. Learn more
    about Climate Commissions at

    Presented by the City of Miami Beach and the Aspen Institute, Aspen Ideas: Climate brings hundreds of leaders and climate innovators together with the public to focus on climate solutions. The event features a range of public art commissions by Miami-based artists including film screenings, installations and performances highlighting issues related to climate change and sea level rise.
    For more information, visit


    We are committed to providing excellent public service and safety to all who live, work and play in our vibrant, tropical, historic community.

    About the City of Miami Beach
    World-famous Miami Beach welcomes millions of visitors each year to its sandy beaches, turquoise waters and vibrant cultural scene. Known for its colorful art deco and MiMo architecture, the 7-mile island offers some of the finest dining, lifestyle and health and wellness experiences anywhere. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the city is often described as a living laboratory for climate change. As a result, Miami Beach is also at the forefront of identifying workable solutions to meet the challenge of sea level rise.

    About Oolite Arts
    Oolite Arts strives to empower South Florida-based artists and enrich communities. Established in 1984, Oolite’s mission is to support artists and advance the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and innovation and encourages the exchange of ideas across diverse cultures through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach.
    Exhibitions and programs at Oolite Arts are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Jorge M.Perez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation; the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit Follow @oolitearts on social media.

    About the Aspen Institute
    The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

    Media Contact
    For additional information, images and interview requests please contact: Chloe Pingeon, Blue Medium
    E: [email protected] | T: +1 (212) 675-1800

    To request this material in alternate format, sign language interpreter (five-day notice required), information on
    access for persons with disabilities, and/or any accommodation to review any document or participate in any city-
    sponsored proceedings, call 305.604.2489 and select 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, then option 6; TTY users may
    call via 711 (Florida Relay Service).


    Melissa Berthier, Email: [email protected]
    Matt Kenny, Email: [email protected]