Fifth Annual Festival

Neglected Sky

01:36 min
Youth Animation
Director: John Cooney
Producer: John Cooney with Citizens for Global Solutions

Winner of the Environment Award
Sponsored by Loreto Bay Company


More About Neglected Sky from Citizens for Global Solutions

The idea to submit a movie to the Citizens for Global Solutions National Flash Contest came to John Cooney as he sat in his science and society class in his hometown college, the University of California, Davis. A Techno-Cultural Study major, Cooney wanted to produce a film that tackled a global environmental issue and offered a comprehensive solution. What came from this epiphany was Neglected Sky, a Flash movie that focused on the threats of global warming and the need for greater environmental standards.

Although Cooney had used Flash before, he had never submitted his work to a national competition. Consequently, when word came that he had won the contest, and with it a $1,000 cash prize and the rights to have his film be Citizens for Global Solution’s promotional clip for 2006, Cooney was both “thrilled and shocked.” “This is the first contest I have ever won,” said Cooney, “and it feels great to know that people liked my animation and the message it gave.”

Cooney’s entry, which traces the ordeals of a little black stripe as it stops environmentally disastrous acts, was done with an imaginative craftiness that belied his age. In the film, the protagonist line comes down from space to save a penguin from a melting Antarctic iceberg, stop a stick-figured man from driving a pollution-emitting car, and successfully lobby the President to sign the Kyoto Protocols. In part, Cooney’s clip is inspirational because, as he notes, it shows that even the simplest of heroes (a black line) can have the courage and ambition to fight the world’s problems.

Although he knew that he wanted to produce a movie based upon environmental concerns, Cooney admitted that he had no set plan on how best to produce his Flash film. “I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but when I start animating, things just started coming together and I felt like I could express my thoughts.” Over the course of approximately two weeks, working three to four hours a day, Cooney gradually put together Neglected Sky.

Since Neglected Sky won the Citizens for Global Solutions National Flash Movie Contest, John Cooney has had his work featured in The Davis Enterprise. He has also continued to produce Flash frame pictures and posted work on his personal website.

Cooney claims the experience was a giant success. “[The contest] was a great experience,” Cooney remarked. “It makes perfect sense to have a Flash contest concerning global issues.  Putting the animation on the internet pushes that idea even further, allowing people from all over the world to be reached. I learned a lot just from watching the other contest entries.”

About the Music from Arts Engine’s Shira Golding

When the festival jury chose Neglected Sky for inclusion in the lineup, we were excited about the opportunity to distribute John’s inspiring animation to audiences around the country. The only problem was that the soundtrack that John was using in the video was the song “Such Great Heights” by the popular band The Postal Service. The song sounded great and really contributed to the fast-paced feel of the video, but we were concerned that John didn’t have the rights from the band’s label. As it turned out, the label had given John limited rights for festival screenings, but we needed a piece that could be licensed for all of the many distribution modes included in Media That Matters — web streaming, screenings, DVD and broadcasts.

So we approached the experts,
href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons
. They are a nonprofit organization committed to the creative exchange of intellectual property. They spread the word to their community that we were looking for a piece of music that was available for our purposes.

Within days, we were contacted by John Buckman of Magnatune, a company that specializes in distributing music under Creative Commons licenses. John recommended that we listen to some of the tracks by Beat Under Control, a band that is part of the Magnatune roster. Sure enough, we found a great track for John Cooney’s film, and we were introduced to a great music resource.


Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival, environment, health / health advocacy
Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works


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