Assistant Professor Erin Espelie is a filmmaker, writer and editor living and working in Boulder County's Four Mile Canyon and in New York City. Her writing and filmmaking investigate current scientific research related to the Anthropocene, issues in environmental history, questions of epistemology and our expectations of the moving image.
Espelie's films have shown at the New York Film Festival, the British Film Institute, the Natural History Museum of London, Whitechapel Gallery, Crossroads (San Francisco), the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and more. Her feature-length experimental documentary, The Lanthanide Series, examines the materiality of the digital world, combining approaches of nonfiction narrative essay, abstract visual and sound exploration and the history of black mirrors; it recently premiered at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen.
Most of her professional career in print journalism has been on the staff of Natural History magazine, where she serves as editor-in-chief and as a columnist. Since 2002 her monthly column, "The Natural Explanation," has highlighted high-caliber wildlife photographers and human influences on the environment. She has also worked in television production for public broadcasting and various other channels.
With a degree in molecular and cell biology from Cornell University and a Master of Fine Arts in experimental and documentary arts from Duke University, Espelie taught courses in environmental issues and the documentary arts from 2012 to 2015 at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image. She now has a joint appointment at CU-Boulder’s Film Studies program and the Department of Critical Media Practices.
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