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Film Descriptions

Above All Else (USA, 95 m).  Sun, 2/15, Noon.  Directed by John Feige.  One man will risk it all to stop tar sands oil from crossing his land through the Keystone XL pipeline. Shot in the forests, pastures, and living rooms of rural East Texas as David Daniel rallies neighbors and environmental activists to join him in a final act of brinkmanship: a tree-top blockade of the controversial pipeline. What begins as a stand against corporate bullying becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide.

Alegria, A Humanitarian Expedition (Switzerland, 28 m).  Sat, 2/14, 12:15 pm.  Directed and filmed by Christoff von Toggenburg.  In 2010, Christoph von Toggenburg cycled 1,988 miles across the Himalaya pulling a 66-lb trailer packed with survival gear and filming himself the whole way.  His goal?  Help leprosy patients and mentally destitute women in India and in the process create public support for providing aid to these abandoned groups. With little air to breathe and temperatures between minus15 to plus 45 degrees C, von Toggenburg crossed mountain passes higher than 3 miles high. Crossing Nepal during the Maoist unrests and braving conflict-stricken Kashmir, he encountered boundless hospitality, found new friends, and saw some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes of this planet.

Animal Equality (USA, 10 m).   Sat, 2/14, 3:45 pm.  Directed by Kindness Trust. Philip Wollen makes an impactful case against animals on your menus in front of an audience at the St. James Ethics Centre and the Wheeler Centre. Wollen then passes the debate onto a six-person panel, with three members supporting his case and three making an argument to continue to keep animals on the menu.

Animation Hotline (USA, 5 m).  Sat, 2/14, 7 pm.   High School Competition Entry.  Directed by Dustin Grella.  A series of short animations where anonymous messages on the artist's voice mail provide content for this compilation of sometimes insightful, sometimes bizarre micro-short pieces. The project started in 2011 and is currently in its 3rd year.

Backyard (USA, 26 m).   Sun, Feb 15, 1:45 pm.  Directed by Deia Schlosberg.  Following stories about the effects of fracking in Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Dakota, and Montana, an eerie similarity emerges despite the vast differences in geography, personal histories, and different stages of hydro-fracking development that involves increasingly difficult methods of fossil fuel extraction at increasing costs to the people and the environment. Interspersed throughout these human stories are animated illustrations of the bigger “puzzle picture” of which each story is only one small piece.

The Chikukwa Project (Australia, 52 m).   Fri, 2/13, 4 pm.   Directed by Gillian Leahy. Gillian and her brother visited a Shona Africa community in Zimbabwe, an area that has been practicing permaculture for over 20 years. The community has pulled 7,000 Shona Africans out of hunger and malnutrition using permaculture farming techniques and bottom up social organization.

A Climate of TRUST (USA, 16 m).   Thurs. Feb 12, 5 pm.  Directed by Our Children’s Trust. A Climate of TRUST is the story of the scientists who developed the scientific prescriptions necessary for climate recovery, the attorney who figured out the legal basis for the right to a healthy atmosphere, and one of OUR CHILDREN'S TRUST's attorneys who is supporting these youth in court.

The Coralax (USA, 7 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:30 pm. - High School Competition Entry  Directed by Taylor Redman, Kawelu Higashino, Kaya Goosby and Troy Lau (Maui Huliau Foundation).   Inspired by Dr. Suess's The Lorax, this claymation by our new middle school students uses 667 images to show how irresponsible shoreline development can impact our precious reef ecosystem

Dams: The Lethal Water Bombs (India, 21 m).  Sat, Feb 14, 2:15 pm.    Directed by Sohan Roy.  This award-winning short focuses on the very high risk currently posed by the 99-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam in India.  Giving intense weight to the concern, is the fact that this dam has some very similar characteristics to the the Banqiao Dam in China that collapsed in 1975 due to torrential rains and killed at least 250,000 people.  If the Mullaperiyar Dam collapses, the human toll would be magnitudes greater and entire large metropolitan areas destroyed.   Further, old dams pose similar threats all over the world.  After this documentary, if there is time, excerpts of a Bollywood-like thriller by the same director that projects a story around a similar fictional dam may be shown:  DAM999.  A day before its release in India, DAM999 was banned in the Indian state that has a 99-year lease on the Mullaperiyar Dam

Dancing in Jaffa (Israel, 90 m).   Sat, 2/14, 4:45 pm.  Directed by Hilla Medalia.  Pierre Dulaine, four-time ballroom dancing world champion, is fulfilling a life-long dream when he takes his program, Dancing Classrooms, back to his city of birth, Jaffa. Over a ten-week period, Pierre teaches Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance and compete together. The film explores the complex stories of three children, all of whom who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation, and racial prejudice as they dance with their enemy.

Deepor Beelor Paare Paare  (India, 4:14 m) - music video.  Sat, 2/14, 2:45 pm.   Composed, lyrics written, music arranged and programmed, and video conceptualized and directed by Ibson Lal Baruah featuring Manas Chowdhary with the didgeridoo in association with the Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant and with supports from the World Wildlife Fund, Assam Elephant Foundation, Wildlife Trust of India, Aranyak, Estrada, joi-the band and others. A beautiful musical and visual tribute to how we must understand things that happen around us and why we need to preserve habitat and environment. The video tells the story of unregulated development that is threatening the existence of Deepor Beel, a Burma monsoon forest conservation area in Guwahati, Assam, and that is resulting in elephant deaths caused by trains.  The work by Ibson and the band is among the most important campaigns on behalf of the Asian elephant and ecology of NE India. 

Dry-Clean Only (USA, 85 m).    Fri. 2/13, 5 pm.  Directed by Claudia Adams. All Claudia Kanne did was have her wool blankets dry-cleaned and life as she knew it disappeared forever. She unknowingly ingested the toxic dry-cleaning solvent, tetrachloroethylene, aka perchloroethylene, until her body reached its 'saturation point' and could no longer fight back.  A burden to her husband, she crawled away like an elephant going to a graveyard, to spend her last days in a motel with nothing but the clothes on her back, to find out what was killing her. After fighting for six years, Claudia's efforts helped establish the first banning of the chemical in the U.S., and the beginning of Greener Cleaners.

Exploring Glen Springs (USA, 60 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:15 pm.  Local water activists explore Gainesville’s fresh waterways and how they have been integrated into the city – even crawling beneath behemoth stores to follow the waters.

Fleming's Legacy (USA, 6 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:30 pm.- High School Competition Entry,   Directed by Dylan Falces and Kaulana Puʻu (Maui Huliau Foundation).   Fleming's Legacy tells the story of agricultural entrepreneur David Thomas Fleming and his role as an early conservationist on Maui. The film also shares the efforts of his granddaughter and others to carry on his work in the native plant arboretum that bears his name.

Food Chains (USA, 83 m).   Sun, 2/15, 7:30 pm   Directed by Sanjay Rawal. This exposé traces the efforts to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry by an intrepid group of Florida farm workers who create an ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

Forest Man (India, 17 m).   Fri, 2/13, 5:15 pm.   Directed by William Douglas McMaster. Since the 1970s Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date, he has single-handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland into a lush oasis.

From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction (USA, 57 m).   Fri, 2/13, 7 pm.   Directed by David Mrazek. This film reveals the compelling story of the unlikely extinction of the passenger pigeon and explores the pigeon’s striking relevance to conservation issues today, such as the alarming depletion of shark species worldwide. For centuries, the sleek long-distance flier was the most abundant bird in North America and perhaps the world. On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last passenger pigeon in captivity, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, marking the end of the species, and the upcoming centenary of the extinction event.

In His Own Home (USA, 42 m).   Sun, 2/15, 6:45 pm.  Directed by Malini Schueller.  Included as film dealing with importance of a local, sustainable culture, this documentary is about the March 2010 shooting of an unarmed disabled black graduate student, Kofi Adu Brempong, by campus police at the University of Florida and the failure of the administration to address the racism and over-militarization of its police force.

Into the Gyre (USA, 44 m).   Fri, 2/13, 4:06 pm.   Directed by Scott Elliot. Thirty-four volunteer researchers, scientists, and sailors participated in a 5-week long adventure to the remote Sargasso Sea, east of Bermuda. Sailing on a 135-foot tall ship, the SSV Corwith Cramer, operated by the Sea Education Association. The film closely follows four of the scientists as they collect, count, and archive the plastic they collect out of the sea. Along the way, the film examines the history of plastics, the adverse effects it is causing in the ocean, and possible solutions to this problem.

Just Eat It (Canada, 74 m).   Sun, 2/15, noon.  Directed by Grant Baldwin. Filmmakers and food lovers, Jen and Grant, dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling.

Last Rush for the Wild West (USA, 50 m).Sun, 2/15, 2:45.  Directed by Jennifer Ekstrom.  Exposes how impending tar sands and oil shale mining would destroy massive landscapes in Utah and put the already imperiled Colorado River Watershed at risk. Utah has approved the USA’s precedent-setting tar sands mine despite widespread health impacts of similar projects in northern Canada.

Lion Ark (USA/Bolivia, 91 m).   Sat, 2/14, 1 pm.  Directed by Tim Phillips.  More action adventure than traditional documentary, this film follows the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue, with a narrative compiled from film, interviews, conversations, and reactions as events unfolded. How attitudes toward animals were changed in Bolivia, illegal circuses pursued and closed, and 25 lions airlifted to freedom.

The Lost Bird Project (USA, 63 m).   Fri, 2/13, 5:45 pm.   Directed by Deborah Dickson. Gone and nearly forgotten in extinction, the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon leave holes not just in the North American landscape but in our collective memories. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to create memorials to the lost birds—to bring their vanished forms back into the world.  The Lost Bird Project follows the road-trip that McGrain and his brother-in-law, Andy Stern, take as they search for the locations where the birds were last seen in the wild and negotiate for permission to install McGrain’s large bronze sculptures there.

Lost Rivers (Canada, 72 m).   Sat, 2/14, 9:45 pm.  Directed by Caroline Bacle.  Once upon a time, through almost every city, rivers flowed. Why did they disappear? How? And could we see them again? This documentary tries to find answers by meeting visionary urban thinkers, activists, and artists from around the world.

Love Thy Nature (USA, 76 m).  Sat, 2/14, 8 pm.  Directed by Sylvie Rokab.   Narrated by Liam Neeson, this is a cinematic immersion into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. While environmental crisis threatens the survival of our species, a renewed connection with nature holds the key to a highly advanced new era.

Moving Mountains (USA, 104 m).   Sun, 2/15, 4:15 pm.  Directed by Jeanie M. Clark. True story of a heroic struggle by one woman, Trish Bragg (Theresa Russell), a house wife with no money and little education.  When a coal mining operation causes the wells in her community to go dry, she takes on the billion dollar coal company and a governmental bureaucracy.  Her struggle leads to historic changes in the way coal mining is done and propels Trish into the forefront of the environmental struggles our country still grapples with today.

Of the Land (Canada, 89 m).   Sun, 2/15, 1:30 pm.  Directed by Bryan Law.  New technologies and scientific ingenuity have given rise to genetically modified organisms (GMO).   and other novel foods. Some people have raised concerns about the safety of GMOs in our food supply, given their incredible dominance in the majority of our diet.  This film looks at our current food system as well as a variety of smaller, organic options available to consumers who want to support sustainable farming methods.

On the Brink: Sea of Cortez (USA, 6 m).   Fri, 2/13, 4 pm.   Directed by Michelle Nash.  The Sea of Cortez is one of the most lush, bio-diverse seas on this planet. Or at least it was. Located between mainland Mexico and the California Baja Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez has been called the “Aquarium of the World” being home to over 950 varieties of fish and 30 species of marine mammals. But this maritime treasure and the creatures that call it home are in danger.

One River, Many Relations (Canada, 62 m).   Sat, 2/14, 11 am.  Directed by Michael Tayas.  The Alberta Oil Sands are one of the world’s most controversial industrial developments. They are the target of high profile protests and debate around the globe. One essential voice is excluded from any discourse on the issue; the voice of downstream indigenous communities. One River, Many Relations is a hard-hitting film that profiles the experiences and insights of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Dene. Two years in the making, it documents both the benefits and damages associated with living in proximity of the oil sands.

PINKY - El Satyakatha (India, 123 m).   Sun, 2/15, 3:45 pm.  Directed by Sudhin Thakus.  Story of an award winning woman athlete who was charged with rape and accused of being a male. A brief glimpse into the political machinations that are hurting Indian sports in the present day.

Remember Your Roots (USA, 4 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:30 pm.  High School Competition Entry  Directed by Kaimana Idica, Billy Dean "Hanohano" Meyer, and Tierra Bartlotti (Maui Huliau Foundation).   Using stunning high resolution images from a DSLR camera, this team of high school students show the change in our relationship to Hawaiʻi's natural resources over time. Part of the story is told from the perspective of an endemic Koa tree in Waikamoi Forest Preserve.

Restoring Our Piko (USA, 7 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:30 pm.  High School Competition Entry  Directed by Bernardo Buenrostro, Kaulana Pu'u, and Dylan Falces (Maui Huliau Foundation).   Filmed by students during a four day trip to Kahoʻolawe, this film outlines the history of environmental degradation on the island, the restoration efforts of Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission and the role of a county-funded solar installation in making the island more sustainable.

Return of the River (USA, 70 m).   Sat, 2/14, 4:45 pm.  Directed by John Gussman.  A group of people attempt the impossible: Change the opinion of a town and eventually the nation to remove two dams. The community comes to consensus, launches the largest dam removal in history, and in the process shows the way to a more sustainable future. Infused with hope, the film explores an unlikely victory for environmental justice and restoration that led to the demolition of dams on the Elwha River in Washington State in August 2014.

Revolution (Canada, 85 m).   Thurs. Feb 12, 7 pm  Directed by Rob Stewart.  Continuing the story of an adventurous journey around the world, this film is inspiring humanity to change the world and save our planet. Along with world renowned experts, the director learns that past evolutions can help solve some of our current and future environmental problems. Startling, beautiful, and provocative.

Song from the Forest (USA/Central Africa, 98 m).   Fri, 2/13, 8:45 pm.   Directed by Michael Obert. As a young man, American Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that gripped his imagination. He followed the mysterious sounds all the way to the Central African rainforest and found their source – the Bayaka Pygmies, a tribe of hunters and gatherers. Louis did not return home until 25 years later. Carried by the contrasts between rainforest and urban America, the stories of Louis and his son, Samedi, are interwoven to form a touching portrait of an extraordinary man and his son.

A State of Emergency (USA, 12 m).   Sat, 2/14, 7 pm.  College Competition Entry  Directed by Sydney Guthrie. A short documentary discussing the drought in California, particularly how water shortages are affecting Southern California farmers, local relationships with policy-makers, and the environment. Through interviews and verite scenes with a local Ventura County farmer, with The California Secretary of Natural Resources, and with an environmental activist from The Surfrider Foundation, this film delves into a deeper understanding of how the drought is affecting Californians on a personal level, and how they plan to address the drought as it comes closer to a point of no return.

Terra Firma (USA, 62 m).   Sun, 2/15, 6 pm.  Directed by Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson. Since 2001 over 280,000 women have been sent to the Middle East to serve in the War on Terror. Often traumatized by their experiences, many return home with PTSD, unable to cope with the daily rigors of life.  Terra Firma weaves together the stories of three women veterans who were among the first to deploy, serving in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. After years of struggling, each has found ways to heal the hidden wounds of war through farming.

Tide Lines (Canada, 95 m).  Sat, 2/14, noonDirected by Andrew Naysmith and Arwen Hunter.  Two brothers and a friend set sail from Mexico with a dream to circumnavigate the world and surf.  In their 3-year 40,000-nautical mile journey crossing all the major oceans of the world and visiting some 40 countries, they discover endemic plastic pollution on ”pristine” beaches. The films shows how the local and global effects of the ocean’s pollution are intertwined and explores solutions.

TRUST of Alaska (USA, 8 m).   Thur. Feb 12, 5 pm.  Directed by Our Children’s Trust.  Meet Nelson Kanuk, a 17-year old who learned how climate change was affecting his community. Nelson explains that the main problem facing the northern parts of the world is winter coming later and later. This increases erosion due to permafrost melt, increases flooding due to warmer temperatures, and intensifies storms because sea ice forms too late in the season now to provide a natural barrier for our coastal communities.

Vibrance and Abundance: A Future for Maui's Reefs (USA, 6 m).   Sat, 2/14, 6:30 pm. High School Competition Entry  Directed by Lily Katz, Koali'i Pu'u, and Natalia Polinskey (Maui Huliau Foundation).   This documentary explores the formation of the Maui Nui Marine Resources Council and their community-based efforts to restore vibrance and abundance to Maui's reefs.

Weir the Sockeye (USA, 34 m).   Sat, 2/14, 7 pm. College Competition Entry  Directed by Gleb Mikhalev.  A weir is an obstruction to redirect or capture fish.  This film shows the day-to-day work involved in managing a weir in southeast Alaska.

Who Owns Water? (USA, 50 m).   Sat, 2/14, 12:45 pm.  Directed by Michael and David Hanson. It's a conflict once unthinkable in the deep green South. Three states are locked in battle over the diminishing fresh water that saw Atlanta go from a small town to the largest growing city in the US. In this stunningly-shot, award-winning documentary film, brothers Michael and David Hanson return to the source of their childhood river and paddle it to the Gulf of Mexico to take you deep into the Water Wars.