An image of the Earth suspended in a colorful rendering of space, criss-crossed by yellow trails of light. In front of the globe stands a person in a red hooded sweatshirt facing the globe, away from the camera.

The Assignment

A short narrative film trailer celebrating the Center for Science and the Imagination’s collection of climate fiction, essays, and art: The Climate Action Almanac.

The Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University (CSI) has partnered with Scirens, a creative team at the intersection of science and storytelling. Together, they have crafted “The Assignment,” a short film that encapsulates the hopeful spirit of The Climate Action Almanac, which brings together fiction authors, researchers, artists, and advocates from around the world to share positive visions of climate futures. This cinematic production extends the reach of the Almanac through an additional medium, while also inviting viewers to imagine better climate futures that are grounded in their own values, experiences, and community needs.


“The Assignment” has its roots in an earlier partnership between CSI and Scirens. Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich, editors of The Climate Action Almanac and executive producers for the film, had partnered in 2021 with Scirens co-founders Tamara Krinsky and Taryn O’Neill on “Flipping the Script on Climate,” a virtual event showcasing live readings of climate stories from anthologies published by CSI. Scirens advocates for innovative storytelling that envisions more protopian futures, diverging from traditional Hollywood dystopian tales and instead crafting narratives to inspire people to take action around climate change. 

Given this shared mission, multi-hyphenates Krinsky and O’Neill recognized the opportunity to bring the message of the Almanac to the screen and conceived of “The Assignment.” The duo co-wrote and co-produced the project, with O’Neill taking on directing duties. 


Shot in the style of a short film, the unique trailer is a narrative-documentary hybrid, containing scenes with scripted and interview elements. “The Assignment” features the four Climate Imagination Fellows, fiction authors from around the globe who wrote original fiction for the Almanac: Gu Shi, Hannah Onoguwe, Libia Brenda, and Vandana Singh. The piece also features game engine–rendered VFX coupled with AI imagery generated in Adobe Firefly. In creating a story about the future, the filmmakers were able to utilize cutting-edge tools to craft transportive images.

Moreover, “The Assignment” is distinguished by its collaborative approach, with Scirens partnering with ASU faculty and students throughout the production and post-production processes. Cast and crew were sourced from ASU’s community of students and alumni, and the shooting took place on location at ASU’s Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in Mesa, Arizona. The MIX Center, which opened in the fall of 2022, is a world-class facility for emerging media technologies. In addition to advising students on site during shoot days, O’Neill and Krinsky worked hand-in-hand with faculty from the Sidney Poitier New American Film School throughout the pre-production process, including participating in remote class instruction.

The film debuted as part of the online premiere event for The Climate Action Almanac, headlined by acclaimed science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, whose novels include the Mars Trilogy, New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future

“The Assignment” is the first cinematic production by the Center for Science and the Imagination. With this film and The Climate Action Almanac, CSI and Scirens invite viewers to embrace the power of global storytelling and forge a path toward a more sustainable and resilient world.

Watch “The Assignment” on YouTube. See full credits at IMDb.

Explore The Climate Action Almanac for free online at


See full credits at IMDb.

Director: Taryn O’Neill
Screenwriters: Tamara Krinsky and Taryn O’Neill
Producers: Tamara Krinsky and Taryn O’Neill
Executive Producers: Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich
Line Producer: Tamara Krinsky
Associate Producer / ASU Faculty Advisor: Jason Davids Scott
Cinematographer: Josh Belveal
Editor: Josh Belveal
Production Sound: Daniel Reddick
VFX Artist: Elizabeth Leung


“The Assignment,” along with The Climate Action Almanac, was supported by a grant from the ClimateWorks Foundation. 

The production was made possible through collaboration with Arizona State University’s Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center and Sidney Poitier New American Film School. Special thanks to Jason Davids Scott, associate professor at the Sidney Poitier New American Film School and associate producer and ASU faculty advisor for “The Assignment.”

More Information

Center for Science and the Imagination
Instagram: @imaginationasu
LinkedIn: @imagination-asu

Instagram: @scirensofficial
Twitter: @scirens


Production stills

Behind the scenes
Photos by Paul Amendola