‘Plastic Turkey’ PSA Gives Students Real-World Movie Chops


A script by Edward Bergham ’22 describes a typical Thanksgiving gathering. In a warmly-lit home, backed by the song L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole, family members laugh, new guests arrive, kids play cards, and a smiling matriarch calls everyone to the table.

But the shocking reveal at the end of the one-minute, 22-second video (view here) sends a strong message about humans’ use of plastics and how that use impacts the world’s oceans. “I think people need to understand that throwing plastic in the trash doesn’t mean it’s gone,” said Bergham.

The “Plastic Turkey” script was selected from several submitted in an all-student competition. Speaking of his inspiration for the idea, Bergham said, “I thought that if I could make people see how messed up it is for a living thing to ingest something that is dangerous to it and placed in its environment illegally,” he said, “then maybe it would bring environmental issues to the forefront of peoples minds.”

The PSA was the second project written and produced by the Williston Film Club with the assistance of Dan Phakos ’06. Phakos, who studied photography with visual and performing arts teacher Edward Hing ’77, said he thought it would be inspiring to have dedicated Williston film students produce a short video. The generosity of the Grum Project made production possible for the second year in a row. (See the first video here).

Creating a short video, however, was no small job. Phakos brought a lighting technician and a van full of professional gear to campus to film at 216 Main Street in April. Students worked alongside Phakos and handled all aspects of production over two 14-hour days. Kira Bixby ’19 produced the film. Quincy Sandbank ’20 was first assistant camera and editor. Minh Le ’19 served as second assistant camera. Sage Friedman ’22 was production assistant. Virginia Kozikowski ’19 had the lead actress role. Faculty children, additional students, and outside actors were cast in the remaining roles. Makeup artist Laura McCullagh ’13 rounded out the crew.

Kira, Quincy, and Minh are currently studying film production in college (Quincy at Bard College at Simon’s Rock as a high school senior). Bergham said he also intends to work toward a film major or minor. “That’s pretty solid evidence of the impact these projects have on students’ perspectives,” said Hing.