In 2009, director Emily James was given access to a group of environmental activists seeking results through direct action campaigns throughout England. What resulted was a film that gives you a unique look into the world of illegal activism, including its successes and failures, through animated, endearing characters and their interviews, all with the same goals in their hearts - to fight capitalism and raise awareness about the environment.
Against all odds, in the boarded-up shops, empty lots and defunct factories, seeds of change are taking root in Detroit. With the most vacant lots in the country, citizens are reclaiming their spirits by growing food. A small group of dedicated Detroiters have started an urban environmental movement with the potential to transform a city after its collapse.
Valentin Thurn's timely and startling documentary on global food waste (did you know that on the way from the farm to the dining-room table, more than half of all food ends up in the garbage?) is both a call to arms and a how-to for doing our best to eliminate this major problem.
The third part of Gary Hustwit’s design film trilogy, joining Helvetica (2007) and Objectified (2009), is a captivating and lively look at the design of cities. Urbanized examines how major urban environments are adapting to the challenges of today and tomorrow, particularly climate change and population growth. This eye-opening film looks at the issues and promises facing some of the world’s important cities.
Bay Area filmmakers Ann and Steven Dunsky (Butterflies & Bulldozers, SFGFF 2011) create a fascinating look into the life of a brilliant individual, Aldo Leopold. Over his lifetime, Leopold developed a theory of land and wildlife conservation based on the interconnectedness of the natural world. Through his work and writings, Aldo Leopold continues to influence the modern environmental movement around the world.
Did you know your mobile phone contributes to violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Danish director Frank Piasecki Poulsen takes on the Congolese military and warlords to gain access to Bisie, a militia-controlled mine that produces cassiterite, a tin oxide used in cell phones. In this courageous documentary, Poulsen reveals a mineral trade plagued with violence and human exploitation.
Beautifully shot, alternately joyful and horrifying, Alma captures the ecological, and even spiritual, cost of meat, dairy, and leather production in the Brazilian Amazon. Patrick Rouxel (Green, SFGFF 2011) creates a powerful statement about the global industrial economy and the speed with which virgin forests are being cleared for timber and new grazing land.
This beautiful documentary chronicles professional surfer Dave “Rasta” Rastovich’s path to cetacean protection. Rasta’s latest campaign - a 660km sailing expedition along Australia’s Gold Coast – provides the backdrop for this evolution. His quest to gather support from professional surfers, seek guidance from Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson, and visit with California’s first coastal tribe, leads to a showdown in Taiji, Japan, made notorious in The Cove.
Having moved from Maine to New York City, ﬁlmmaker Ian Cheney ﬁnds himself in an environment so ﬂooded with artificial light that one can scarcely make out a star in the night sky. The City Dark follows Cheney as he seeks to learn the true impact of light pollution on people, animals, and the environment, and shines new light on the meaning of dark.
Waking the Green Tiger is an electrifying account of a group of villagers and farmers close to China's Tiger Leaping Gorge on the verge of losing everything to a massive dam project. Banding together with activists and journalists, the film taps into a broadening sense of community and environmentalism that grows beyond their single issue with remarkable results.
Described by Variety as a story of “Hillbilly Davids” besting a “corporate Goliath”, On Coal River does an extraordinary job of capturing the struggles of ordinary people fighting to save what remains of an Appalachian valley that they and their families have called home for generations. In the process, it beautifully captures the true human and environmental costs of “cheap”, dirty energy.
How did sushi become a global cuisine? What began as a simple but elegant food sold by Tokyo street vendors has become a worldwide phenomenon. Shot in five nations, the film explores the tradition, growth and future of this popular cuisine. As ocean predators such as Bluefin Tuna are auctioned at astronomical rates, we see that sushi is big money and these fish are gold.
Bill Forsyth's whimsical tale of sweet-natured corporate rapacity features standout performances by Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. Knox Oil and Gas Company wants to buy, raze and replace a sleepy Scottish seaside village (in reality the village of Pennan in You’ve Been Trumped) with refineries and deep-water docks. They send their top deal-maker and trouble-shooter to handle the negotiations. But things don't go as expected...
Courage abounds in this film that risks life and limb to penetrate the operation of Donald Trump and his designs on Aberdeen, Scotland and its precious sand dunes, (Bill Forsyth’s classic 1983 film Local Hero was made here). Called, “deeply troubling, amusing and rousing all at the same time…” by Starz Film Festival Jury, this film is a constant juggle of humor, confrontation, espionage and strange, compelling characters (Trump included).
As an activist, Judi Bari popularized protests against clear-cutting together with EarthFirst! in the 1980's. On May 24th, 1990 in Oakland, CA, a bomb explodes in Judi's car and she suffers debilitating injuries alongside confidant Darryl Cherney. Produced by Darryl Cherney, this film chronicles a movement, the false accusations and court struggles that follow the blast leading to a surprising resolution.
Jon Shenk spends a year with President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives as he confronts a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced – the literal survival of his country and everyone in it, due to the devastating impacts of climate change. Witness the first chapter of his global environmental fight, a fight which, following his forced resignation on February 7th, has clearly only just begun...