This is a big question for any Festival. In part one, we covered the process of screening films and selection.
Here we're turning our heads towards the stories that catch our eye as we begin screening the hundreds of films that are submitted to Green Film Fest.
Some things that catch our eye
We are seeking stories that explore the relationship between people and the planet. This is purposefully a big tent.
From the global impacts of climate change to the pollution suffered by a single town, no environmental story is too big or too small in the hands of a good filmmaker.
That said, there are some things that make a film stand out. We see this in films that value artistic excellence, scientific accuracy, and environmental action.
When they come together they provide the powerful narrative that makes a film shine.
A powerful narrative
What does artistic excellence look like? We're seeing the craft of documentary filmmaking expand and get better every year.
In fact, whether it's documentary, animation or narrative, with film equipment and software even available on our iPhones, it's certainly true that more people have that ability to make a good film in their reach.
But we're not only looking for a beautifully produced film. We're looking for excellence in storytelling that takes our audiences on a journey.
We're asking questions like: Does the film uncover new territory or provide relevant information on the given topic? Does the film offer its message in an interesting and creative way? Are diversities of people and perspectives considered?
If the answer is yes, then we know our audience will learn something completely new or deepen their knowledge of an environmental passion.
Told with integrity
That said, a dubious claim - however intriguing the story or characters involved - has to be checked out.
We take seriously our responsibility to present our audience with good information. Good science has to be at the core of a films storyline to make it at Green Film Fest.
If there is any uncertainty, we turn to our experts in the film and environment fields on our pre-screening team to help guide us.
The Aha! Moment
And at the heart of it all, we're looking for storytelling that uses the power of environmental films to instigate change beyond the theater.
We're looking for films that give us that aha! moment. A film that gives us a unique window into the world. Or maybe even provides us with the spark that takes us in a new direction.
Ultimately, it is these three traits - artistic excellence, scientific accuracy, and environmental action - that makes a film that will entertain, inform and inspire our audiences.
In part three, we take a look behind the camera in the final part of this behind the scenes series.
Green Film Fest 2017: Entries Now Open
Be part of San Francisco's leading movement for films & discussions about people and the planet. Submit your film now to Green Film Fest 2017, April 20-26.