Now in its 21st year in the nation’s capital, the Environmental Film Festival has become one of the world’s grandest and most influential purveyors of environmental film. Many local, national and global premieres are included in the lineup, including documentaries, narratives, animations and shorts, in addition to archival, experimental and children’s cinema. Films are shown throughout the city at partnering museums, embassies, libraries, universities and local theaters.
With a program curated to offer fresh views on global environmental issues, most of the screenings are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests. This year’s festival, which runs from March 12–24, will include a record 190 films from 50 countries, including 110 premieres. Here are just a few of the highlights.
1. 'Hot Water'
Featured among the festival’s opening night films is the highly anticipated world premiere of "Hot Water," a look at the depressing, devastating, toxic effects of uranium mining in the American West. Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who ran for president in 2004 and 2008, is featured in the film, along with filmmakers Elizabeth Kucinich and Lizabeth Rogers. Directed by Kevin Flint and Rogers.
2. 'To the Wonder'
"To the Wonder" is the latest film by acclaimed American Director Terrence Malick. The film, “an exploration of love set against the majesty of nature,” stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. The film premiered in competition at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, and is making its Washington, D.C. premiere during the festival.
This Washington, D.C., premiere presents Canadian filmmaker and environmental activist Rob Stewart’s new work, "Revolution" — a rally cry to today’s youth to change the planet before it’s too late. The award-winning documentary takes Stewart through 15 countries over four years, in an effort to find the secret to saving the ecosystems we rely on for survival.
Wonderfully zany, the smart and quirky documentary, "Lunarcy!," launches into the ridiculous and sublime as it reveals to viewers a cadre of characters who are utterly obsessed with the moon. Directed by Simon Ennis.
5. 'Lost Rivers'
"Lost Rivers" is a fascinating look at the hidden river networks that exist beneath major cities. Showing us the subterranean river networks of London, Brescia, Montreal and Toronto, adventurous groups of subterranean explorers known as “drainers” untangle the mysteries of these cities’ past as told by the water. Written and directed by Caroline Bâcle.
6. 'The Fifth Season'
Beautiful, surreal, and haunting, Jessica Woodworth’s latest feature, "The Fifth Season," is a “poetic meditation on nature in revolt against humans.” The dramatic narrative takes place in Belgium's secluded Ardennes, where the inhabitants rely on the land, but nature takes a turn and seems to go on mysterious strike. In French and Flemish with English subtitles. Directed and produced by Woodworth and Peter Brosens.
7. 'The Fruit Hunters'
The festival’s closing film, "The Fruit Hunters," takes a look at people who obsessively scour the world for exotic fruit. Inspired by Adam Gollner’s 2010 book of the same name and directed by Yung Chang, the film travels across culture, history and geography to illuminate the glorious, crazy, beautiful world of fruit in all of its glory. Read more about the film and star Bill Pullman in this recent MNN story.
To see a full listing of all the fantastic films, visit dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.
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