Carnegie Museum of Natural History is partnering with National Geographic and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to spark a conversation about climate change with an event on October 28.
The museum will host a free screening of National Geographic’s blockbuster documentary Before the Flood and host a panel featuring the film’s director and representatives from National Geographic and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF).
Before the Flood, the climate change feature documentary produced and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens alongside producer, Academy Award-winning actor, environmental activist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, premiered last October on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages as well as commercial-free on streaming and digital services, reaching over 60 million people worldwide and surpassing a record-setting 1 billion minutes viewed.
Museum directors from around the world are expected to attend the screening as part of the 2017 International Council of Museums NATHIST (ICOM NATHIST) Conference, which will be hosted by Carnegie Museum of Natural History October 25–29.
“The key theme of the conference is how natural history museums can tell the story of humanity altering the environment, so we are thrilled to team up with National Geographic and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,” said Dr. Eric Dorfman, the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. “Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh believes that climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time and that it is museums’ role to facilitate important conversations through exhibitions and programming.”
Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s screening on October 28 will be open to the public and will be preceded by the panel discussion with the filmmakers at 4 p.m.
Before the Flood’s award-winning director Fisher Stevens and National Geographic’s Vice President of Public Experiences Kathryn Keane will be at the museum for the panel discussion where they will join Dr. Dorfman and Dr. Stephen J. Tonsor, the director of science and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
“I hope people will come away from seeing Before the Flood with a better understanding of how urgently a sustained, global response to climate change is needed,” said Stevens. “This is one of the most important issues facing mankind.”
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is addressing the issue of climate change and humanity’s impact on nature through various programs and exhibitions about the Anthropocene—the proposed current geological and cultural time period sometimes called the “age of humanity.”
The screening will coincide with the opening of We Are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene, a new exhibition about the delicate interconnectedness of humanity and the planet. Created in-house by Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the exhibition invites visitors to break down global issues like climate change and pollution into individual actions and hope to define humans’ place in a changing world.
ICOM NATHIST’s 2017 conference, entitled Natural History Museums in the Age of Humanity, is also addressing the Anthropocene with a group of scholars and museum professionals that make up the international museum organization.
Before the Flood is presented by National Geographic.
About the Panelists
Fisher Stevens is the Academy Award®-winning producer of The Cove. He has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years. His versatility in the industry is evident from his wide range of credits, from acting to producing to directing, and from film to television to theater and working with the United Nations.
Stevens recently co-directed Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds for HBO (nominated for two Emmy Awards), directed Before the Flood with Leonardo DiCaprio, produced Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (the opening-night documentary at Sundance 2016), produced Louie Psihoyos’ Racing Extinction (the Emmy nominated film and his follow-up to the Oscar®-winning documentary The Cove), and co-directed and produced the Netflix Original Mission Blue about oceanographer Sylvia Earle (nominated for three Emmy Awards, winning one for best editing).
As an actor, Stevens was most recently seen in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. He has had a recurring arc on “The Night Of,” the HBO acclaimed miniseries starring John Turturro, and is currently seen on HBO’s “Vice Principals,” a comedy series with Danny McBride and Walton Goggins, and NBC’s “The Blacklist.”
Kathryn Keane is the vice president of public experiences at National Geographic and has overseen the development of many important exhibitions and initiatives of the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit dedicated to funding exploration, education, experiences, and storytelling initiatives that promote a better understanding of our world.
Dr. Eric Dorfman
Dr. Eric Dorfman is the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the president of ICOM NATHIST. He oversees strategic initiatives, operations, and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He is an active advocate for natural and cultural heritage and has published books on natural history and climate change, as well as children’s fiction and scholarly articles on museology and ecology. He is a member of the ICOM Ethics Committee, and in 2013, he published the ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums. He is also a registered ICOM mediator, chairs the ICOM NATHIST Wildlife Trafficking Working Group, and is a member of ICOM’s Museum Definition Working Group.
Dr. Stephen J. Tonsor
Dr. Stephen J. Tonsor received his PhD in Biology from University of Chicago. He serves as director of science and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Before joining the museum in 2015, Dr. Tonsor applied quantitative evolutionary genetics and study of form and function in both the laboratory and the field to understand how organisms adapt to changing climates. More recently he has turned his attention to research at a meta-level: understanding the integration knowledge through across scientific disciplines, the arts, and humanities, toward a synthesis that considers the meaning of human existence.
Introducing the film:
Karl Burkart is the director of innovation, media, and technology at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Since 2008, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has committed over $80 million in grants to environmental projects across six areas: wildlife and landscape conservation, marine life and ocean conservation, climate change, innovative solutions, indigenous rights, and the California program. LDF’s grantees and partners are currently active on every continent and in every ocean.