Cinema Verde 2019 – Film List and Synopses

Activist – Aktivisti (Finland - subtitled, 57 min).  Directed by Petteri Saario. A touching and encouraging story about a miner’s young daughter and her battle against one of the world's largest mining companies. The film depicts the destiny of an invaluable protected mine in Finnish Lapland. Is everything for sale when the bid is high enough? A film about exceptional determination, courage and love for one’s own roots and home village. 

Adventures of Zack and Molly, The (United States, 11 min).  Directed by Jim Toomey, Animated. Zack is more interested in the small world of his smart phone than the larger world around him. His online request for a roommate is answered by Molly, a tech-savvy dumbo octopus on a mission to tell the world about the importance of the deep ocean. Molly wants to use Zack’s apartment for her global communications headquarters, but Zack is skeptical. To win Zack over, Molly takes him to her deep ocean home in the Gulf of Mexico to see its unique features and diverse marine life, and to help him understand how human activities threaten its health.

Angel's Secrets, The (Canada, 27 min).  Directed by Elodie Turpin. Many know its name; few have seen it. Once present throughout Europe, the angel shark is now critically endangered. As unique as extraordinary, it reveals to us several secrets… little by little, and to those who take the time to listen.

Are You Volleyball?! (Iran- Islamic Republic of, 15 min).  Directed by Mohammad Bakhshi. A group of Arabian spoken asylum seekers arrive to an English spoken country border and can't keep going. They conflict with border soldiers everyday till a deaf-mute baby becomes a catalyst for better communication between two groups.  

Bahía (Colombia-subtitled, 8 min).  Directed by Santiago Ramirez. No longer than 60 years ago, Cartagena Bay harboured more than two hundred hectares of coral reefs, a thousand of seagrass beds and eight hundred of mangroves. It was home to a countless number of marine species that coexisted in harmony with local communities that lived off that richness. Then the so called progress came with its engineering projects and the balance was broken. Life was snatched away from the bay and local communities were left without means of survival. 

Balance (Iran- Islamic Republic of, 3 min).  Directed by Barzan Rostami, Student. Animated.  It’s a story about the soldiers who are sacrificing their lives and resist in order to the people of the city and future generations live in peace...  edec83eb-balance_triler.mp4

Big Booom (Russian Federation, 4 min).  Directed by Marat Narimanov. Animated.  The history of humanity and of our planet in four minutes. An eco-friendly statement developed in a single shot that has it all: humor, action and tragedy.

Blue Tomorrow - Mavi Yarın (Turkey, 15 min).  Directed by Numan Ayaz. Animated.  A man who lives alone on his island goes on an unknown journey caused by rising ocean. After witnessing a catastrophe on the way, he finds hope again with other people. But when the ocean rises again, this time he makes an unexpected decision to another unknown.

Boy-Zshan Bi-Den (United States, 8 min).  Directed by Colin Ruggiero. Bison were nearly exterminated across North America.  Thanks to the Shoshone tribe, the National Wildlife Federation and the coordinated efforts of a host of other individuals and organizations, bison have finally been brought back to the Wind River Indian Reservation and a landscape that they once defined.  

Butterfly Trees, The (United States, 1 hr 22 min).  Directed by Kay Milam. The Butterfly Trees is a documentary feature film that captures the transcontinental journey of the eastern monarch butterflies on their epic migration from the forested shores of Southern Canada to the rare and ancient oyamel fir trees of Central Mexico. Part science, part adventure, and part love story, the film is a captivating reflection on the profound mysteries of the natural world and the ties that irrevocably connect us all. The story weaves together a wondrous tapestry of stunning visuals, passion for discovery, and the eclectic mix of the people for whom these butterflies have become a magnificent obsession. Filled with allegory and poetic contemplations, The Butterfly Trees brings to the screen a universal story of life and the search for legacy and meaning by using the monarch migration as a poignant metaphor that embodies love, hope, transformation and connections that transcend borders. The monarch butterfly is emblematic of our fragile and complex ecology. But the monarch is also a potent symbol for our individual life’s journey, intergenerational connection, and the quest for mutual belonging and finding our place in this world.

Carbon Weevils (United Kingdom, 7 min) Directed by Tim Britton. A film about our love affair with carbon.

Caught in Quick Sand (United States, 4 min) Directed by Marty Novitsky and Uladzimir Taukachou. A short, beautiful film about a man experiencing being caught in quicksand in the Dead Sea in Israel, where he has visited for years, watching its decline. “I think it is very important that people be made aware the dangers of the Dead Sea. Recently twenty-five teenage students were hit by the flood while they were hiking in Nahal Tzafit in the Judean Desert west of the Dead Sea. Ten of the students were killed because of the flooding. Please consider showing this film to bring awareness to the dangers of the Dead Sea. I have attached a link that provides more information about the issue.

Confluence (United States, 55 min). Directed by Amy Marquis, Dana Romanoff. The Colorado River has carved a deep imprint both on the physical landscape and on the people who live near its waters. Confluence follows an up-and-coming indie folk band as they traverse this endangered river system and document the people who rely on it through original music.

Confluir (United States, 40 min). Directed by Henry Worobec. In Peru, the headwaters of the Amazon River cut through the Andes Mountains and help sustain resident communities as well as the most diverse ecosystem on Earth. As the energy demands of Peru increase, the currently free flowing Marañón River faces over 20 proposed dam projects, two of which have already been approved. Our international team of scientists and river experts spent 28 days rafting the Marañón while documenting the natural and cultural resources that would be eminently impacted by proposed dam projects.

Dignity at a Monumental Scale (United States, 8 min). Directed by Kelly Whalen. When images of everyday Navajo life began appearing at a monumental scale on abandoned buildings, roadside stands and water towers across the Four Corners region, it was a surprise for many in the community to discover it was the work of Chip Thomas aka “Jetsonorama," a long-time resident known by many as a healer of another kind. By day, Thomas is a primary care physician on the Navajo Nation, where he’s lived for 30 years. In his free time, Thomas installs massive photo murals depicting his neighbors, from sheepherders to grandmothers, and celebrating the beauty of a people whose land has been mined and poisoned, cut up and sold off. Blowing up and wheat-pasting his black and white photos onto the sides of merchants’ stands, abandoned buildings, and mobile homes, Thomas creates work that allows community members to see themselves represented at monumental scales; while his installations off the reservation help disseminate their struggles -- and their resilience -- to the world at large.  

Eating Animals (United States, 88 min). Produced by Natalie Portman. How much do you know about the food that’s on your plate? Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, and directed by Christopher Quinn (GOD GREW TIRED OF US), Eating Animals is an urgent, eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming. Tracing the history of food production in the United States, the film charts how farming has gone from local and sustainable to a corporate Frankenstein monster that offers cheap eggs, meat, and dairy at a steep cost: the exploitation of animals; the risky use of antibiotics and hormones; and the pollution of our air, soil, and water. Spotlighting farmers who have pushed backed against industrial agriculture with more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis while making the case that ethical farming is not only an animal rights issue but one that affects every aspect of our lives.

El Monte: The Mountain (Cuba, 14 min). Directed by Claudia Claremi, International Student Submission. Portrait of the mountain of the Sierra Maestra where José Manuel explains to his granddaughter Malena her vision of the world through an in-depth knowledge of the secrets of nature. Plants and people have great similarities and should be respected. José Manuel hopes that Malena inherits the knowledge that he in turn obtained from the father and becomes a great tree of the mountain.

El Río (United States - Spanish subtitled, 58 min).  Directed by Juan Carlos Galeano. El Río is a feature-length documentary where the daily life and stories of Amazonian peoples become cautionary tales in our Anthropocene era. El Río contributes to intersecting fields of anthropology and environmental humanities for our understanding of the perspectives of indigenous cultures and the life of water ecosystems under threat. It gives credence to the importance of ecological knowledge and belief systems for the entangled natural and human histories of Amazonia. 

Enough White Teacups (United States, 59 min).  Directed by Michelle Bauer Carpenter. The documentary Enough White Teacups highlights the Danish non-profit, INDEX: Design to Improve Life ® (INDEX) and the film explores their history as an international design competition and highlights the most innovative INDEX award winners. Enough White Teacups showcases how design can be used to plan and build affordable housing, to prevent of blindness, to destroy landmines, to deliver vaccines and blood in remote areas, to clean up the oceans and to help prevent infant and mother mortality, among others. Enough White Teacups examines sustainable designs/inventions that embrace the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability.

Esperanza (USA, FL, 6 min) Directed by Ryan Allen, Local. An archaeologist stumbles upon a remote Florida spring. Is it truly magic or a delusion?

Facing Navassa (USA, 10 min) Milo Kim, Student, A documentary short that examines the dark history of environmental injustice around a creosote plant in southeastern North Carolina.

Flying Rivers, The – Les Rivières Volantes (France, 53 min).  Directed by Aurélien Francisco Barros – From the heart of the Amazon rain forest to our European laboratories, climatologists, biologists and chemists are exploring and are starting to understand a mystery: the central role of forests in cloud formation.  Spectacular images will illustrate a strong ecological message and increase awareness of the danger that deforestation represent for our planet.

Gifts of Silver (United Kingdom, 17 min).  Directed by Eddie Frost – The ecology of Chilean Patagonian fjords is mysterious and fragile. This documentary follows Vreni Haussermann as she explores these rich ecosystems and highlights the key challenges for the wildlife there. The film calls for a better understanding of the area and for marine protected areas to be established urgently. Otherwise these 'gifts of silver' will be lost forever.

Green Years, The – Gli Anni Verdi (Italy-subtitled, 55 min).  Directed by Chiara Bellini – "Once you would go to the countryside and enjoy its fresh air, now you go to the countryside for its illegal dumps, and to check if some criminal has hidden toxic stuff among the bushes".  Instead of enjoying their pensions and taking care of their aches and pains, three inexhaustible old folks sweep the countryside devastated by abandoned industrial facilities and illegal dumps. They cope with illegal garbage disposal, toxic waste, and institutions often overtaken by the events.

GSLV Mark3 (India-subtitled, 6 min).  Directed by Dinesh Kuma, International College Student submission – GSLV Mark3 is a two point of view narration told from a girl and also the ISRO team who wants to launch their GSLV mark 3 satellite into the space. There is a beautiful connect between girl and rocket which is about to launch.

Juskatla (United States, 14 min). Directed by Georg Koszulinski -  weaves together perspectives of the people who live on the islands of Haida Gwaii—an archipelago on Canada’s Northwest coast, and the ancestral territories of the Haida Nation. From industrial loggers who harvest trees from ancient forests, to Sphenia Jones, a Haida matriarch who bears an intimate knowledge of her People’s territories, Juskatla meditates on the divergent ways of being that shape the islands and its people.

Keeper of the Creek (United States, 5 min).  Directed by Dan Goldes – For 8 years, Joel Goldes has taken responsibility for cleaning the creek near his home in Oak Park, CA. He's removed hundreds of pounds of garbage and trapped thousands of invasive crawdads, proving that one person really can make a difference.

Man of the Trees and the Green Beans, The – L'homme Des Arbres (Italy, French - subtitled, 19 min). Directed by Andrea Trivero. Daniel Balima is a senior horticulturist from Tenkodogo, a small Sub-Saharan African town in Burkina Faso, where he lives with his large family and has worked since he was born 67 years ago. Daniel as a child falls ill with polio and, although growing without the use of his legs, he is able to follow his father in the family nursery, walking on his hands. He works immediately with great passion and talent so much that his disability, which for many in Africa means a marked destiny, is for Daniel an opportunity: "I could take two paths: begging or taking my life in hand and devoting myself to work with dignity." Daniel has chosen and won this great challenge and, every day, he sows and cultivates with great effort and gratitude many vegetables and plants. In over fifty years of activity he has given life to more than a million trees and this is what is most important for Daniel because, as he tells us, his country, because of the drought, needs many trees and does not stop, on the contrary, he dreams of planting another million.

Mining Phosphorus (United States  g, 19 min) Directed by Alan Toth. Local, a Finalist for the 2018 Student Academy Awards. Phosphorus, the most critical element in modern agriculture, has been acquired through phosphate mining in Florida for over a century, but Florida’s phosphate is quickly running out. When it is gone, the United States will be dependent on phosphate imports. A new source of phosphate is discovered in North Florida that could extend America’s phosphate supply. Local landowners are determined to mine it, but environmentalists vow to stop them before they can begin. The environmentalists point to Central Florida, where strip mining for phosphate has polluted water and air for decades. A county permit is all that stands in the way of the strip mining project. The fight between mineral security and a healthy environment embroils two rural counties in North Florida, where the future of American phosphate mining will be determined by a few public servants.

My Golden Rule (United States, 4 min). Directed by Sally Sherwood – Animated, Experimental, Music Video by Melissa Gail Klein. This film was made as a tribute to the wonders of our earth and the importance of protecting them. Follow a young woman, armed with her banjo and her spirit,  as she enters a portal from a post-apocalyptic world into a realm of rhinoceroses, gorillas and ancient trees to recover magical seeds and make the world wild again!

Night Light (United States, 8 min).  Directed by Yamiset Trujillo, Jane Suarez, Student – Animated.  A wide-eyed, newborn sea turtle named Fin finds himself on the illuminated beaches of Miami. It is a perilous time to be a hatchling, with hazards of artificial light and debris present at every turn. With the help of Abueluna, his caring, celestial guide, Fin will make the daring trek from his cluttered nest to the open seas. 

Pulling Teeth from a Polar Bear (United States, 19 min).  Directed by Jackie Allegra Curnick, Student – In this short documentary, the community of St. Lawrence Island shares their struggle with environmental contamination. The Alaskan island, located 30 miles off the coast of Siberia, has faced  contamination associated with the military site, used during the cold war. One group, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, has been working with the community for 20 years to achieve environmental justice for the land, animals, and people in the area.  

Reboot (United States, 4 min).  Directed by Ellen Osborne – Animated.  Humans have finally succeeded in destroying the planet. As the last people board the ship to Mars, the earth breathes a sigh of relief and the boundless resilience of nature springs into action!

Rescuing Abundance (United States, 16 min) Directed by Pat Sehn. Rescuing Abundance is a food sustainability film starring heroes from the Pittsburgh food community. The film tells the story of how business, government, farmers, nonprofits, and college students can work together to reverse the current trend of 31% of the food produced in the United States ending up in landfills, despite millions of people going hungry every day. The ultimate purpose of the film is to develop the foundation for community-focused solutions. Business and the community can work together and drive social innovation in the food space.

Sharkwater Extinction (United States, ). Directed by Rob Stewart, who sent a personal video message to our VIP Opening NIght audience in 2015, when his film Revolution won the Cinema Verde Water Award. Sadly, Rob died on a dive in the Florida Keys in 2017. His work was monumental and his passion continues. This film dives into remote underwater locations to reveal the catastrophic effects humanity has had on the oceans. Illegal overfishing of sharks across the planet has deeper consequences that puts the Earth’s most important ecosystem in danger of collapsing, which threatens all life in, and above, the ocean. Stewart dedicated his life to conservation, saying: “Conservation is the preservation of human life.  And, that, above all else is worth fighting for.” He taught the world to love the oceans and their creatures and not fear sharks through his iconic images of hugging and free diving with sharks and mantas.

Skyfall (Spain, 3 min). Directed by Alberto E. Garcia - Animated. Nature fights back. :)

Story of a Forest, The (United States, 39 min). Directed by Suki Dejong. In 2004, a generation of activists arose in South Florida, carrying the passion of direct action groups like Earth First! and the deep analysis of the global justice movement that had swept the country in the preceding years.They sought local issues that exemplified the threats of corporate globalization which they had traveled all over the country protesting at free trade summits, political conventions and industry conferences.They stumbled upon a plan from biotech industry giants acting in collusion with the administration of then-Governor Jeb Bush to clear a vast swath of land in the Northeast Everglades of Florida to accommodate The Scripps Biotech Research Institute... And it was on. Over the next ten years, endless county zoning meetings were counter-balanced by dozens of civil disobedience arrests and a near-constant flow of news headlines about the battle: lawsuits, scandal, corruption, gag-orders, tree sits, the loss of endangered species, pranks, blockades, sabotage, and a roller coaster of incremental victories followed by devastating losses for years on end. THE STORY OF A FOREST captures it all in a film about the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition’s ten-plus year campaign to stop the development, with a focus on protecting biodiversity in the Briger forest and its wetlands.

Sustainable Living with Patrick Lang (United States, 5 min). Directed by Paige De Ponte and Sacha Riviere. A day in the life of Patrick Lang living a sustainable life in Malibu… filmed before his home and community were consumed by fire in the fall of 2018.

Thirst – Daaham (India-subtitled, 4 min).  Directed by Siva Nageswara Rao – Water is a precious resource which humanity should use responsibly. Our relationship with Nature should always be guided by reciprocity. Nature protects us all and we in turn should protect natural resources and be sympathetic to the needs of fellow human beings. Daaham short film emphasizes in a heart touching way the fact that, before taking we should always……. 

Violet and the Wild Man (United States, 18 min.) Directed by Krisztina Danka, winner of Best in Show at Cinema Verde 2018. New York City is full of eccentric characters, but nobody is like the Wildman. Who else can claim to have made international headlines by getting arrested for eating a dandelion in Central Park? Leading foraging tours and helping people embrace what nature has to offer in the most unexpected places, for decades, Wildman, now 68, a divorced father, is eager to ignite his passion for environmentalism in the younger generation. But can he inspire his own teenage daughter?

White Fortune (Iran- Islamic Republic of-subtitled, 38 min).  Directed by Reza Mohammadpour – The story of misery of Urmia Salt Lake in North West of Iran.

Within Reach (United States, 1 min).  Directed by Bryce Gunning, Florida High School Student submission. Story of a gopher tortoise who became lost in a development of homes, and the family who befriended him and helped him back to nature.     

Wonderwall (Ukraine, 7 min).  Directed by Alexander Denysenko – Music Video.  WONDERWALL is a short film/narrative cinematic music video, which tells the story of unconditional love that helps overcome the loss of a loved one and helps one cope with grief. A musical story follows a young man whose heart has been broken due to the lost of a loved one, and he is trying to escape reality. But his surreal experience while in the Chernobyl exclusion zone gives him a chance to discover himself.