Return to Sender
Sara Wylie, Hannah Tollefson | 2019 | 15:26
Return to Sender tells the story of the Khian Sea waste disposal incident, in which a cargo ship carrying 14,000 tons of toxic ash traveled from Philadelphia across the Atlantic Ocean in 1986. When countries in the Caribbean, Central America and Africa refused to accept the waste, the bunker covertly dumped 4000 tons of ash in Haiti, and illegally disappeared the remainder into the ocean in 1988. In 1997, funds were raised for “Project Return to Sender” in which the waste was picked up from Haiti and forcibly returned to the United States, setting precedents for hazardous waste disposal via cargo ship.
“Return to Sender” is a visual essay using the ‘poor’ images of found footage and Skype interviews to explore themes of exporting and accountability in the logistics of waste removal, the rogue movements of shipping infrastructure, and by ending with a speculative inquiry into what a zero-waste future might resemble.
Bios: Sara Wylie and Hannah Tollefson
Sara Wylie is a non-fiction filmmaker, producer and researcher. She has directed and produced award-winning documentaries that have screened at Hot Docs Festival, DOXA Festival, RIDM Festival, the Canadian Labour Film Festival and more. Sara graduated with distinction from Ryerson University’s Documentary Media MFA Program in 2019, and her work explores themes of labour politics, radical histories, archival methodologies and abolitionist futures.
Hannah Tollefson is a PhD student in communication studies at McGill University. Informed by environmental humanities and media and technology studies, her work examines the mutual implications of environment and infrastructure, with a focus on how extraction, energy, and logistics shape settler colonial resource economies and ecologies.resource economies.