Film explains Cincinnati landslides

A nearly 45-minute film intended to educate the public about landslides debuts Sept. 7 on Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV (Channel 9), featuring a uniquely local story and cast of creators and narrators funded by a Cincinnati nonprofit.

The nonprofit Hillside Trust commissioned former investigative reporter and Cincinnati City Council member Laure Quinlivan to create the film, “Living with Landslides,” which airs at 9 p.m. on Sept. 7. The Hillside Trust mission is to preserve, protect and promote Cincinnati’s hillsides, educate the public and consult with local governments to help craft long-range design and land use policies.

Laure Quinlivan

The first public screening will be held Oct. 5 at the Redmoor in Mt. Lookout Square, with proceeds from the $5 ticket sales and silent auction benefiting the nonprofit Mt. Lookout Community Development Corp.

“Landslides affect every neighborhood in our region, and we’re one of the top landslide hazard areas in the country,” said Quinlivan, whose last major recent work garnered national attention and awards.

Quinlivan’s voice will be familiar to WCPO viewers. She spent 13 years at the station as a member of the broadcaster’s investigative reporting unit called the I-team. The president of Women in Film Cincinnati, Jaime Meyers Schlenck, edited the documentary, and the pair licensed music from local musicians.

The film digs into the causes and costs of Cincinnati’s unique hillside issues. From Mt. Washington to Harrison, homeowners in the Cincinnati region are learning the ground below their homes is not as solid as they thought.

Geological features dating back 29,000 years, plus modern land use practices, have put Cincinnati’s hillsides under pressures that lead to landslides. Sometimes, they close roadways, such as Columbia Parkway and Elberon Avenue. Many more undermine single homes or apartment buildings. In both cases, the cost is staggering.

The film covers the history of Cincinnati’s famous hills, and their slow-motion collapse, exacerbated by development and increasing incidents of intense rain. Since 2011, Cincinnati has experienced nine 100-year storms.

Quinlivan interviews experts who explain what triggers landslides and what it takes to stabilize threatened terrain. Her team speaks with homeowners who discovered insurance typically does not cover landslides, leaving them to choose between a six-figure landslide repair or abandoning their property.

Quinlivan, a Mt. Lookout resident, is a Peabody Award-winning director, writer and producer, tapping into her investigating roots to create films like “Living with Landslides.” She founded LQ Consulting in 2008 to help clients tell their stories. Her award-winning documentary “Blue Goes Green” on Cincinnati building the nation’s first net zero energy police station aired on PBS stations around the country in 2018 and won many awards at film festivals. She is a founding board member of Women in Film Cincinnati and is active in the Rotary Club of Cincinnati. Quinlivan served on Cincinnati City Council 2009-2013, leading environmental policy. As the longtime investigative reporter for WCPO-TV, her work has received many journalism honors, including 18 Emmys, three Society of Professional Journalists Awards, two Peabody Awards, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton.

Besides Schlenck, the film’s other collaborators included Glenn Hartong, its director of photography, and John LaRoche, graphic designer. The film licensed music from Jack McCarthy, a Westwood resident and 2010 Graduate of University of Cincinnati; Jess Lamb, an Over-the-Rhine resident, songwriting teacher at Xavier University and Miami University graduate; and Matthew Anklan, a Milford resident with a 2013 Master of Jazz Trumpet from UC.

Experts talked to include Oakley resident Tim Agnello, a Walnut Hills High School science teacher whose master’s thesis was on landslides; Dr. Brenda Hunda, a paleontologist with the Cincinnati Museum Center; former Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls; and Eric Russo, executive director since 2000 of the Hillside Trust.

Other community screenings may also be arranged by contacting Quinlivan at 513-520-4809 or email LaureQuinlivan@gmail.com.

Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/739632209

Film website with photos and bios: LivingWithLandslides.com

Instagram @LivingwithLandslides

Facebook @LQConsulting

Link to review the film: https://vimeo.com/732313417 (call for password to review the film)


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