Are straws the next plastic bag? This filmmaker thinks so. 

Source: The Beach Reporter.

A viral video in 2015 of a sea turtle with a straw stuck deep in its nasal cavity shed light on the dangers of plastic infiltrating the world’s oceans. Hermosa Beach filmmaker Steve Shor took it a step further and conceived and co-produced, “Straws,” a short documentary film highlighting plastic straw awareness.

Shor, the program director for the Sonoma International Film Festival, said the inspiration came from living one house from the beach where he takes daily sunset photos.

“To earn my sunset photos, I basically started picking up plastic,” Shor said. “The number one item I find on the beach as well as looking down at any gutter are straws. I wanted to make a documentary on straw awareness, so I talked to a director friend (Linda Booker) of mine who jumped on it and ran with it.”

“Straws,” narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tim Robbins and screened at a number of film festivals, started out as environmental piece about single-use plastic. But Shor, with director, writer and co-producer Linda Booker, expanded to a conservation theme when he saw that viral turtle video.

“The plastic we have out there is getting into the environment in so many ways, whether it’s birds, fish, turtles and it is as dangerous as fishing lines in the water,” Shor said.

The documentary looks at alternatives to plastic, including paper straws or even bamboo, stainless steel or aluminum straws. While he does own glass and aluminum straws, Shor admits he doesn’t always think to bring them with him. He suggests declining straws when at a bar or restaurant.

“One less straw used is one less straw thrown away,” Shor said. “Just say no to plastic straws.”

Shor added, “Most people go, ‘You’re right. When I get a glass of water there’s always a straw in it. I never asked for the water in the first place, let alone the straw. When you get a drink in the bar, why is there a stirrer in it?’ There’s all of this wasted plastic out there.”

Shor is hoping chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks will look into alternatives to plastic. Paper and other alternatives are pricier than plastic straws, but if large chains make the switch, Shor believes the price point would go down. He also encourages individuals to ask local bars and restaurants to look into alternatives to plastic straws.

“It’s almost like the plastic bag … can you get along without it? Of course you can,” Shor said.

The viral turtle video started a movement, Shor believes, from school children starting a GoFundMe site to get In-N-Out Burger to get rid of plastic straws to the cities of Monterey and Huntington Beach discussing banning plastic straws.

“I’m not the one who started this whole thing, but I feel very lucky I’ve done a piece that’s just coming out into the public when the awareness is breaking through,” Shor said.

“Straws” is part of the “Music, Art & Humanity” short film block for the South Bay Film + Music Festival. It screens Saturday, June 24, beginning at 12 p.m., at the Hermosa Beach Community Theatre, located at 710 Pier Ave.

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