This year we bring you 45 films from 14 countries over our four-day film marathon. The films are powerful and shocking, moving and compelling, enlightening and frightening, and sometimes funny and sweet – all focused on the many ways our lives are tightly woven into our environment.
100 Short Stories
100 Short Stories is a collage ranging from the serious to the humorous. This original and engaging documentary tackles opinions regarding governance, public policy, and questions what are sound ideas socially, environmentally and culturally in today’s society. It’s about predatory Capitalism, renewable energy, stopping the frakers, and contemporary life in Atlantic Canada. Created by Neal Livingston, a well-known Nova Scotian documentary filmmaker and artist – as well as renewable energy practitioner, developer and policy advocate – who calls the film partly autobiographical.
A Bridge Between Two Worlds
A Bridge Between Two Worlds relates how Muslim and Catholic farmers, on the Island of Flores, Indonesia, wage a battle to defeat their poverty and to enhance their environment with the support of North American and European families. This remarkable human chain has been initiated by Gilles Raymond, a Canadian volunteer from Québec who has forged deep bonds in Flores over the last 15 years. This quest for autonomy is punctuated by hard work, children smiles and ancestor worship. By sheer strength, it traces a road between our two hemispheres, at a time when foreign aid is being questioned
A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity
A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity is a feature-length documentary that follows a community in Australia who came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group built tiny houses, planted veggie gardens, practised simple living, and learned how to live in community. This film is the product of hours and hours of footage that I shot during that year-long experiment in simple living.
Una Perla de la Revolucion (A Pearl of the Revolution)
A documentary short that focuses on a sustainability project in Cojímar, Cuba
Ali is a Turkman horse trainer. Horses are his life. Ilhan is the name of the horse that has won him so many prizes. Ali is planning to use Ilhan’s and his other horses’ awards money to pay for his wedding. But not everything goes favorably in a course. Ilhan gets in an unexpected condition and Ali needs to fight for Ilhan’s championship. In Turkmen language, Atlan means “mount a horse and depart”. Horse is the most important element in the life of Iranian Turkmen. That’s why courses are some of the most significant social events in their land, Turkmen Sahara. Turkmen Sahara is a region in north eastern Iran and is the homeland to Iranian Turkmen. Ali is a Turkman with his life, like many of his peers’, intertwined with courses. Now his wedding depends on his success in courses
Call of the Forest - The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees
Diana Beresford-Kroeger’s journey explores our profound biological and spiritual connection to trees. From Japan to California and Ireland to Germany, to Vancouver Island and across to the great Boreal Forest, Diana meets people who are taking the lead to replant, restore and protect the last of these great ancient species forests. As the journey progresses the film explores the science, folklore, and history of this essential, and often overlooked, eco-system. Beresford-Kroeger reminds us that when we improve our profound human connection to woodlands we can, not only, restore our health - we can restore our planet.
Canada’s National Parks: Banff and the Rocky Mountains
Banff and the Rocky Mountains: sparkling glaciers, thundering waterfalls, deep gorges and unbelievably blue lakes reflecting the endless fir forests and high craggy mountain peaks. Postcard photo motifs are everywhere. Banff National Park stretches over three vegetation zones to offer a great variety of scenic splendour. The park lies in the middle of the mightiest mountain range in North America, the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Although the days of pioneers and prospectors have long gone, the adventurous spirit from the past has been preserved in the founding history of Canada’s oldest National Park
Close to Heaven - The Rice Terraces of the Philippines
This documentary shows the mammoth challenges being faced by the Ifugao in the globalisation age and asks whether it will be possible to maintain the unique rice terraces while also doing right by the young generation of Ifugao. Based on the story of a family from Banaue, the film shines a spotlight on the generation conflict within the Ifugao people. While the father still works as a rice grower, his son is a tourist guide in Banaue, taking visitors on tours of the rice terraces. In addition to this story, the film explores the various efforts being made to keep alive the unique cultural landscape and rich tradition of the Ifugao. As well as featuring the breathtaking landscapes of Hungduan or Batad, the film will include scenes from the Imbayah Festival in the Banaue at the end of April.
Death by a Thousand Cuts
Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park was found brutally murdered by machete. At the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation.
Facing the Surge
Facing the Surge documents the tangible costs of sea level rise for the people of Norfolk, VA. Norfolk is home to the largest naval base in the country and to thousands of hard-working Americans struggling to adapt to the rising tides and an uncertain future. The town has registered 16 inches of sea level rise since 1930. But Facing the Surge is not a film about loss and inaction. It tells the stories of citizens from across the United States as they step forward to raise awareness and push their government to solve climate change.
Fallow Land Bears Sweet Fruit - Part 1
In part one, filmed near Qingdao in 2015, Tang Guanhua and Xingzhen experiment with a self-sustainable lifestyle. They describe their rationale for pursuing such a life and introduce their dream of building an intentional community. Is this an important new direction for Chinese society, or a self-indulgent escape for a privileged few?
A short film that documents visionaries Michael Lewis (of Growing Warriors) and Rebecca Burgess (of Fibershed) as they collaborate to re-introduce industrial hemp to the American landscape.
Jetty Cats explores contemporary animal rights issues through a focus on a feral cat colony that has survived on a rocky, seaside jetty in Southern California for decades. There is an ongoing debate over feral cat colonies involving advocates who support the trap, neuter, and return -- or "TNR" -- model of management, and those who argue that trapping and euthanizing the cats is more humane. This documentary’s point-of-view supports the TNR model and the related “no-kill” animal shelter policy, and features an exclusive interview with Richard Avanzino, the "Father" of the no-kill movement.
An animation short that informs and educates about the urgent issues that are threatening the future of wildlife and communities on the island of Madagascar. As an island nation of spectacular and unique biodiversity, Madagascar has over 80% of its animals and plants that are found nowhere else on Earth. Madagascar's Scars attempts to inform the viewer of the environmental crisis involving illegal logging, deforestation and hunting of the critically endangered lemur which threatens the future of the island, as well as offer hopeful solutions to protect the biodiversity and improve the lives of the Malagasy.
Younes is the survivor of a diving team in the Iran-Iraq war who lives beside the Persian gulf. He desires to set a status under the gulf as a memorial to those friends who were murdered in the Persian gulf. Meanwhile he faces the water pollution of oil companies.
Microsculpture is a unique visual experience. A 10mm insect is shown as a 3 meter print, revealing minute detail and allowing the viewer to take in the structure of the insect in its entirety. The beautifully lit, high magnification portraiture of Levon Biss captures the microscopic form of these animals in striking high-resolution detail.
No Harm No Foul
In the tendency to assume that science-based conclusions are objective and reliable, public health tragedies are allowed to occur repeatedly.
One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts
Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures, tells us his evolution from industrial to regenerative farmer.
Owsia (Darkened Water)
Owsia (Darkened Water) tells the story of the aqueduct of Iranian city Yazd that has supplied water for hundreds of years. Now, the 2500 year old structure rots due to bureaucracy and corruption. Wastewater pollution is poisoning the pure and clean water that ran through the aqueduct during 84 kms of current.
In 1998, a vast power grid serving 5 million people in Canada was destroyed by an ice storm. Twenty years later researchers of that disaster are developing a new kind of resilient power grid. Based in part on the book The Grid and the Village, the film explores how to protect grids and the people they serve from war, terrorist attack, and extreme weather.
Internationally renowned river advocate, Mark Angelo, journeys through some of the world’s most pristine waterways, to some of its most polluted, in an unprecedented global adventure that reveals the dark side of the fashion industry. Through harsh chemical manufacturing processes and the irresponsible disposal of toxic chemical waste, the manufacturing of our clothing is destroying rivers globally. Shot in %K with images both stunning and shocking, RiverBlue is a call to action to manufacture our clothing in a more sustainable way.
Saving Jamaica Bay
Saving Jamaica Bay tells the story of how one community fought government inaction and overcame Hurricane Sandy to clean up and restore the largest open space in New York City, which had become a dumping ground for garbage, sewage and bullet-riddled mobsters. Narrated by Academy-Award winning actress Susan Sarandon, Saving Jamaica Bay underscores the importance of citizen action and the role of urban nature in protecting our cities from the effects of climate change.
Sea of Life
The ocean is the source of all life on earth and it’s in trouble. Sea of Life follows filmmaker Julia Barnes on an underwater adventure to discover the truth about the biggest threats facing our oceans today.
Soil Carbon Cowboys
Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis - heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning ON their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth rather than run off. And these turned ON soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It’s an amazing story that has just begun.
The Call from the Sea
The Call from the Sea addresses the future of our oceans and what we are leaving behind. The Bajau are an indigenous, sea nomadic group that live on top of the ocean in Indonesia. This short documentary. It is a personal and poetic story about life as a Bajau and how our actions affect their world and other people’s world who live closest to the ocean.
The Fox of Shichigorosawa
This story is told in the Ainu language, which has been deemed a critically endangered language by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Higashiyama, the home of the foxes, has become an illegal dumping ground. This has resulted in the decline of small animals, which the mother fox relied on as prey to feed her children. The fox comes down for the mountains in search of food to feed her children, and comes upon a human village.
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.
British Columbia is one of the last places on earth logging old growth forests. In the face of climate change, old growth forestry isn’t just a threat to species living in the area–it’s a threat to the world itself.
Unbroken Grounds explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis. It explores four areas of agriculture that aim to change our relationship to the land and oceans. Most of our food is produced using methods that reduce biodiversity, decimate soil and contribute to climate change. We believe our food can and should be a part of the solution to the environmental crisis -- grown, harvested and produced in ways that restore our land, water and wildlife. The film tells the story of four groups that are pioneers in the fields of regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing, diversified crop development and restorative fishing.
Unforgettable Khusargang follows the story of Absar Khan who attempts to scale the peak of Khusargang. Along the way, Absar promoted community empowerment, conducted environmental awareness workshops, installed trash bins in the village, organized lavish iftari meals, highlighted the many issues posed by the lack of organized structured tourism and attempted to climb as high as he could, one base camp at a time. The Giligit-Baltistan side of Pakistan holds fragile natural beauty and poverty stricken locals.
The Voyage of Swell - Steer with Your Heart
Patagonia ambassador Liz Clark sails the world on a quest to live a simple life fueled by the wind and the desire to surf.
The Islands and the Whales
On the isolated Danish Faroe Islands, the longtime hunting and fishing practices of the Faroese are being threatened by animal rights activism, plummeting wildlife populations, and rising mercury levels.
Waste Not Want Not
As a state becomes overburdened with landfills, passionate individuals argue for recycling as a better way. This film takes an exclusive look at the recycling industry in Alabama, a state that is home to the worlds largest plastic recycler. Ultimately, the film asks why the state is incentivizing landfills, rather than supporting an industry that is both more environmentally friendly and economically beneficial.
Toronto is often perceived to be a flat geography, but the truth is that civil engineering has hidden a vast network of river ravines from our sight. Many people are unaware of this bounty of green spaces that add up to 30 times the area of NYC's Central Park. We hope to change the way people see the nature we're fortunate to have in our midst. These oases from the swirl of urban life will become even more important to our quality of life as our city continues to grow.
A documentary about the activism of Carol Buckley with elephants in captivity and how they are trained, forced to long working hours and living in a clearly improvable conditions.
The Mystical Migration of the Monarch
A story about a Monarch Butterfly, her vanishing habitat and her unique relationship to the Gulf Coast.
<p>After traveling the world alongside migrating birds and diving the oceans with whales and manta rays, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud return to more familiar ground, the lush green forests and megafauna that emerged across Europe following the last Ice Age. Winter had gone on for 80,000 years when, in a relatively short period of time the ice retreated, the landscape metamorphosed, the cycle of seasons was established and the beasts occupied their new kingdom. It was only later than man arrived to share this habitat, first tentatively as migratory hunter/gatherers, then making inroads in the forest as settled agriculturalists, and later more dramatically via industry and warfare. SEASONS, with its exceptional footage of animals in the wild, is the awe-inspiring and thought-provoking tale of the long and tumultuous shared history that inextricably binds humankind with the natural world.
Time to Choose
Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced – and it is also our greatest opportunity. We have the solutions we need, but we are in a race against the clock to implement them in time. Oscar-winning documentary director Charles Ferguson captures the urgency and innovation of this critical moment in his new film, which takes audiences on a journey from the threats we face to the remarkable stories of people changing our world for the better.
Rising Tides examines the effects of sea level rise and coastal erosion on the coastlines here in the states and globally. A topic that has much debate. Scientists, politicians, and the everyday person explain the impacts sea levels will have over 10, 50 to 100 years from now, as well as touch on the power of storm surges not just to the coastlines but to important infrastructures. This is an issue with many questions as well as many possible solutions but are we open to the conversation.
Sustainable Me - Food For Thought
This episode looks at a range of sustainable practices young Edmontonians are engaged in to bring local, healthy and delicious food to local tables. Host Paula Humby plants an apple tree.
Black Tide is a documentary about the ongoing environmental crisis with South Florida's water, due to mismanagement by the Army Corps. of Engineers and the power of Big Sugar.