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Kansas City advocates for climate resilience are highlighted in new 'hopeful' documentary

Prairie Hollow Productions co-founder Laura Mead interviews The Resilient Activist founder Sami Aaron for "Hot Times in the Heartland."
Prairie Hollow Productions
Prairie Hollow Productions co-founder Laura Mead interviews The Resilient Activist founder Sami Aaron for "Hot Times in the Heartland."

Local documentary filmmaker Dave Kendall produced "Hot Times in the Heartland" with his company, Prairie Hollow Productions. The film is a comprehensive look at how the climate crisis is impacting the Kansas City region and how local changemakers are working to counter it.

Dave Kendall produced and hosted KTWU’s “Sunflower Journeys” for 27 seasons, traveling around Kansas to tell residents’ stories. When he left the show in 2015 to co-found Prairie Hollow Productions with his wife, his primary goal was to return to his roots as an independent producer.

He didn’t plan to spend two years producing a documentary on climate change, but he was guided by personal interest and concern with the topic.

One of the highlights of the film is an interview with Sami Aaron, the founder of The Resilient Activist, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that supports climate activists suffering from advocacy-related stress.

“When we went into this project, we didn't want to bum people out and make them even more depressed and hopeless about the situation,” Kendall said. “It turned out we found people that actually are doing something and providing services that are going to be beneficial to people. We came out of it feeling a little bit more hopeful and wanting to magnify the voices of people like Sami.”

  • Dave Kendall, producer and co-founder of Prairie Hollow Productions
  • Sami Aaron, founder of The Resilient Activist

Hot Times in the Heartland will screen at 2 p.m. on April 10 at the Johnson County Community College; at 5:30 p.m. on April 22 at the Kansas State University Student Union; and at 6 p.m. on April 25 at the Emporia State University Science Hall. The documentary will air at 7:30 p.m. April 18 and 2:30 p.m. April 21 on KTWU’s Channel 11. 

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