18th Annual Environmental Film Fest

© Tribe of Heart

From sustainable food culture to colony collapse disorder to school lunches, the vital connection between food and the environment is a major theme of the 18th annual Environmental Film Festival, March 16 through 28.

Film buffs and environmentally aware citizens will have the opportunity to see 155 documentary, feature, animated, archival, experimental, and children’s films that provide fresh, thought-provoking perspectives on the environmental issues facing our planet.

The festival takes place at 56 venues throughout the city, including museums, embassies, libraries, universities, and local theaters–and most of the screenings are free.

Local Highlights

The Green House: Design It. Build It. Live It., is a documentary that chronicles the building and design of the first carbon-neutral house in the Washington, D.C. area. A discussion with the filmmakers, builder, and designers featured in the film follows the screening on Wednesday, March 17, 7:00 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

Who Killed Crassostrea Virginica: The Fall and Rise of Chesapeake Bay Oysters documents the decline of a Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery devastated by the economy of traditional tidewater communities in Maryland and Virginia. This documentary re-evaluates the usual suspects – overfishing, pollution, disease, and mismanagement – in light of fresh findings from science labs, the bottom of the Bay, and long-forgotten historical archives. Sunday March 21, 1:30 at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Lunch is a short documentary that takes a close look at the nation’s school-food programs through the meals offered by Balitmore’s public schools. The filmmaker not only highlights the links between food and academics and between the current food system and political decisions, but also focuses on initiatives aimed at giving our children healthier lunches in school. Monday March 22 at 7 p.m., American University, Center for Environmental Filmmaking & Earth Day Network.

Global Highlights

The Washington, D.C. premiere of GasLand, an award-winner from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, will screen on the festival’s opening night with filmmaker Josh Fox in attendance. A special sneak preview of Turtle: The Incredible Journey traces the extraordinary lifetime journey of the loggerhead turtle as it navigates the globe. The D.C. premiere of Colony documents the crisis of colony collapse disorder within the beekeeping community.

What’s On Your Plate? focuses on food sources and Fresh on the growth of a sustainable food culture in America, while Seed Hunter spotlights the search for seed genes able to withstand global warming. Dirt! The Movie and Soil in Good Heart highlight the key role of topsoil in creating nourishing food.

The Music Tree, which explores the future of the threatened brazilwood tree, a vital in the manufacturing of fine violin bows since the age of Mozart, will receive the Festival’s first annual Polly Krakora Award for artistry in film at its Washington, D.C. premiere with Brazilian filmmaker Otavio Juliano.

The Environmental Film Festival has become the leading showcase for environmental films in the United States. There will be cinematic work from 31 countries and 66 Washington, D.C., United States and world premieres. Fifty-six filmmakers and 94 special guests will discuss their work at the festival.

Green on the Screen

Credit: Purple Turtle Films
Credit: Purple Turtle Films

Oceans, honeybees, and our very own Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora fame are highlights from the 17th annual Environmental Film Festival that will be held March 11 through 22.

The health and sustainability of earth’s oceans and sea life is a major theme of the 2009 Festival, which features 56 world premieres. Fifty-four filmmakers will discuss their work at the Festival along with 69 scientists, environmental experts and special guests including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith who will speak about toxins in our waters and show clips from his upcoming film, Poisoned Waters.

The 2009 Festival also presents a retrospective of 11 environmentally oriented films by renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog, including his most recent, Encounters at the End of the World about scientists at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Nora! celebrates the life and achievements of Nora Pouillon, who opened the nation’s first certified organic restaurant. Among her many achievements, Pouillon has established personal and professional relationships with farmers around the national capital region and helped establish FRESHFARM Markets. A discussion with filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown and Nora Pouillon follows the screening.

Green on the Screen

Break out the organic popcorn–the 16th Annual Environmental Film Fest is coming to DC March 11-22. Several of the films being premiered include “All in this Tea,” which follows a renowned tea expert to the remote regions of China in search of the finest handmade teas in the world, and “Arid Lands,” about the former Hanford nuclear site in Washington State, which has become the largest environmental cleanup in history.

This year’s festival has a selection of films that look at the topic of water and its growing scarcity on the planet. The premiere of the IMAX film “Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk” calls attention to watershed conservation on a trip down the Colorado River, while “The Water Front” documents the struggle against water privatization in Highland Park, Michigan. And “It’s Your Water–Use it Wisely” tells young people how D.C. gets its drinking water.

The festival’s last day, March 22, coincides with World Water Day, and will include a day-long tribute with films from Mexico, India, Austria, Slovenia, and Chile, accompanied by a panel discussion with experts on the need to provide safe water, sanitation, and hygiene throughout the world. The Sundance film “Flow–For Love of Water,” will close the day.