Samuel in the Clouds [SOLD OUT]
Directed by Pieter van Eecke
70 min. / with a panel discussion after the film
This screening is a part of the Portland Sustainability Series, co-presented by Portland Public Library and Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative. The Portland Sustainability Series presents a diversity of speakers to share different aspects of the work moving Maine towards greater endurance and sustainability. Sustainability Series events are typically hosted in the Rines Auditorium of the Portland Public Library on the final Wednesday of the month. You can also experience past Sustainability Series conversations using this link.
In the mountains of Bolivia, Samuel, an old ski lift operator, looks out his window on the rooftop of the world. All around him, the glaciers are melting. Generations of his family lived and worked atop the sacred Chacaltaya Mountain, operating the world’s highest elevation ski resort. Now, the ancient glacier has disappeared forever.
As scientists catalog and measure these ominous changes, Samuel is a first-hand witness. He goes about his daily routine, honoring the ancient mountain spirits, while continuing to chase his increasingly absurd fantasy of restoring the ski slopes to their former glory. Even with all of the data they gather, the scientists are even more at a loss than him.
With its breathtaking cinematography, Samuel in the Clouds offers a heart-breaking, but awe-inspiring perspective on the unprecedented environmental impact of the glacier loss, while also providing an allegory for a humanity struggling to come to terms with our rapidly changing natural world.
Josh Christie is the co-owner of Print: A Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Portland, Maine, founded in 2016. Josh is also the author of four books, and works as a freelance writer covering books, beer, and the Maine outdoors. An alumnus of the University of Maine’s Ski Industries program, he has worked in and around Maine outdoor recreation for two decades. Josh lives with his partner in Bath, Maine.
Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Burakowski is a Climate Scientist at the University of New Hampshire. Her research focuses on winter climate change in the northeastern United States — what changes we’ve seen in the past and what we can expect for the future. Liz learned to ski and snowboard in New England in the late 1900s and now enjoys backcountry splitboarding.