Thank you for joining our online community! Please enjoy our selection of behind the scenes Director Discussions and Virtual Environmental Film Screenings. New 2022 Festival Selections will be available on February 12. We will also be kicking off the festivities with LIVE Director Roundtable Chats, giving you the chance to join in and ask your own questions during the events.
Welcome to the Cinema Verde Community Film Discussions! Throughout the festival, you can come here to have discussions in our chat feature with the Cinema Verde team and filmmakers. We invite you to ask questions of our filmmakers and join our Cinema Verde film community!
View the films below and immerse yourself in the virtual world of Cinema Verde. Let’s change the world together.
Reports on Costa Rica's ability to manage without a military since 1948, despite invasions based in Nicaragua. Addresses the role of private armies serving multinational corporations, and whether the country's civil guard is a military by another name. Places Costa Rica in the context of Central and Latin American populist struggles against US backed regimes in El Salvador, Chile, Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras. Touches on the colonial history and explores whether Costa Rica depends on US military backing, and whether it is able to maintain independence from the US.
A Low Carbon Future for China's Furnace Cities (United Kingdom [UK], 10 min). Directed by Monika Koeck. China’s economic development and rapid urbanization has led to a dramatic rise in energy consumption due to excessive heating and air-conditioning causing carbon emissions of immense proportions. China’s government has set the ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40–45% by 2020 against the 2005 baseline. A UK/China-funded team working on how to solve the problem in some of the most extreme climate regions in China. The team discovers groundbreaking solutions using computational-fluid-dynamics simulations.
The experimental short film ANSAGE ENDE is an artistic reflection on being engaged with the world. Combining fiction and documentary, music and text, this hybrid film calls for a collective and activist approach to the climate crisis. The visually stunning ANSAGE ENDE opens with an imaginative journey through an empty landscape where water meets land. Two characters walk through the mud, away from the viewer, into an open yet unknown future. They fantasize about what our rapidly developing world might bring and question their personal participation in this possible future. Slowly the film moves away from the imaginary into the real. Climate destruction becomes ghastly visible: huge machines in a brown coal mine eat up the soil, searching for energy and profit. Policemen and women enable sawers to cut down the neighboring forest for the expansion of the mine. Young activists occupy the trees, trying to stop the destruction of this primeval forest.
Bury Me at Taylor Hollow follows the growing pains of Larkspur as they set out to raise $210,000 to buy 112 acres for both natural burial and conservation. With breathtaking footage and intimate moments of a soul finding its way, director Orion Pahl and writer/editor Rebekah Pahl weave an unforgettable glimpse into a new way of approaching death. More than just a film about death, Bury Me is about the through-line present in all our lives if we keep our ears close to the ground and listen.
The Dead Sea is disappearing. The documentary, Caught in Quicksand, was made to raise public awareness about the receding of the Dead Sea.
Moved by the lack of opportunity for women and youth in her community in El Salvador, Reina Molino ventures to Guatemala to study bici-maquinas—bicycle pedal-power technology. Leaving everything she knows behind, Reina embarks on an inspiring journey of self-empowerment and problem solving. Through the mentorship of Carlos, founder of the social enterprise Bici-Tec and the friendship of Geovany, Reina seeks to find her life purpose and change the lives of people in her community. For more information visit http://bicitec.org/ This video was produced on location by an Actuality Abroad student crew and shot primarily with Canon cameras.
CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST: A feature length documentary film. A unique look at eco-history from one who was there for 40 years: Peter Jay Brown, and a humorous examination of the word “eco-terrorist” in today’s reality.
Thirst – Daaham (India-subtitled, 4 min). Water Award 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.
Too much stormwater can be a big problem! This educational stop-motion animation series illustrates the causes of - and solutions to - dirty stormwater runoff. Join the Drain Ranger team, including Engineer Betsy, Juniper, Sophia and Ben as they discover ways we can all help keep our lakes, rivers and streams clean. This is Video 4 of the four-part series, and is titled: Dirty Stormwater Runoff: Advanced Engineering Solutions
Drops and Stardust (Japan, 1 min). Directed by Atobe Hiroshi. Director’s notes: “I found two words 'spontaneously' and 'simultaneously' alongside one another in a vocabulary notebook and thought it seemed to be wonderful that the meanings of the two words conjoined. I embody the idea by using a turntable with a running mirror under the photo panel, and it could imply how I and others relate across the media symbolism. Consequently water turns into the starry night, like howling dreams come true. Water drops turning to the starry night.”
El País De La Eterna Primavera, El – Land of the Eternal Spring (Guatemala, 4 min). Directed by Boaz Dvir. San Francisco-based photojournalist Jason Henry (New York Times, Vice, Wall Street Journal) treks to Guatemala’s most infamous landfill, Teculután. Against the backdrop of the Sierra de las Minas mountains, Henry tries to maintain his composure as he shoots children digging through the garbage in search of shreds of sustenance in a monstrous heap of human and animal waste and burning ash. Surrounded by swarming flies and accompanied by writer Erik Maza (Baltimore Sun, Town & Country), Henry observes, “This is their playground.”
Eryngium Proteiflorum (Mexico-in Spanish, 10 min). Directed by Dia Amida. Exists the ideal space-time with appropriate conditions for each organism fulfills its life cycle. Exists places to be fully habitats: The Eryngium Proteiflorum is an endangered endemic flower of the Mexican Transverse Volcanic Axis. Every being has its own space and time and the reflection on the human right to alter it takes relevance in a historical moment where protecting biodiversity can be a deadly battle, where the lives of those who fight for prevention are being taken, every human has its own metaphorical Eryngium. It is not just about a flower, it is about the idea that we can posses anything we want without considering its destruction. This film honors those who have no voice and whose future is plunging into extinction.
Flying With Monarchs is a short dance film celebrating the beauty of Monarch butterfly migration.
What if every person could actually make an impact on the world? “Green Waste” takes an in-depth look at the process of recycling and waste management in the community of Flagstaff. From recycling plastic bags, to re-using glass bottles, from recycling hazardous waste to the efforts of local businesses, the film shows how every contribution, no matter how small, can collectively make the difference for a better tomorrow. Filmed and Produced under the Emerging Filmmakers Program for youth filmmakers.
Combat veterans from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan find a new mission and personal healing with new careers as organic farmers and ranchers.
This is a short film focusing on multi-generational tree planting and the long-term benefits for ALL. Growing Hope amplifies the message of the non-profit www.grandtrees.org and its initiative to plant trees by young and old for a brighter future for us all.
Heavily armed officers of the University of Florida police department in Gainesville, FL, responding to a 911 call from a neighbor who heard screams, break into the campus apartment of Ghanaian graduate student, Kofi Adu-Brempong. Clad in SWAT gear and ready to attack, they see the disabled doctoral student, sitting with a metal table leg in his hand and within a minute of entry, shoot the unarmed man in the face. Adu-Brempong, who because of childhood polio, needed a cane to walk, and had been suffering from mental illness, now has severe facial injuries, and is charged with resisting arrest. He is guarded outside his hospital door, his legs shackled together when going to the bathroom. The officer who shoots Kofi, and who had previously been caught cruising through town throwing eggs at residents of a Black neighborhood, is not suspended or fired. Student protests lead the administration to drop charges but calls for revoking SWAT-like teams on campus go unheard. Kofi’s shooting is not an isolated incident but part of an ongoing pattern of police brutality against Blacks and a stark reminder of the dangers of increasingly militarized campuses nationwide. In His Own Home came out of outrage by a small group of concerned community members committed to seeing social justice happen on a local level. This documentary is an educational and organizing tool, especially calling for our communities to be safe from violence by racist and over-armed police.
Jetty Cats (USA, 56 min 35 sec) 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.
Job 1 (1 min) A puppet animation about employment.
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.
Nestled in India’s northeastern Assam district, Kaziranga National Park contains the world’s highest density of the endangered Asian one horned rhino. Long plagued by civil unrest, this park is also ground zero for poaching and illegal trade of rhhorn. The film focuses on the efforts of journalist Uttam Saikia, who begins to serve as a mediator between the park and local poachers.
“If you’ve ever thought ‘Someone should do something about that litter problem’, remember, you’re someone.” Joel Goldes has visited the creek in his suburban Southern California community nearly every day. And for the past 10 years, he’s been picking up litter, trapping invasive crayfish, opening blocked channels, and testifying at local hearings – often the lone voice in support of the under-appreciated ecosystem near his home.
Our garbage accumulates and gives life to a plastic monster. We wish his reign to be short. It is probably time to think over how we produce and consume to pollute less.
LA LUCHA SIGUE (THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES) is a feature length documentary that combines breathtaking cinematography with intimate access and creative storytelling as it follows COPINH and OFRANEH, two grassroots Indigenous and Black organizations leading the struggle for justice in Honduras.
Decades of mismanagement, environmental changes and a burgeoning population have created tensions for the 40 million people living on the shores of the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria. Desperate fishermen use illegal nets and overfish the East African lake's dwindling stocks, while many fishermen have had to turn to other forms of work - much of which has a detrimental impact on the health of the lake and its residents. Lake Victoria: An Ecosystem in Turmoil follows some of those trying to eek out a living on the lake: a Kenyan fisherman who illegally crosses the border into Uganda in the search for fish; a Ugandan who gave up fishing to become a palm oil farmer; and a Tanzanian gold miner using mercury with his bare hands to extract the precious mineral from unregulated mines on the lake's shores. But how well do they comprehend the pressure that they’re putting on the lake, and can the regional governments and communities take action before irreversible damage happens?
This Argentine production depicts the conscious and subconscious energies that each one of us has, which have the ability to influence others, ourselves, and our surroundings -- positively and negatively. We all have seeds from our past and it is up to us to work to make them conscious and transform them positively. Our energy can be passed on to others, to close ones, strangers and places with a strength that we do not realize. It is an invisible force, which we are not always aware we have or that it has the power of changing the world and its environment. It is up to individuals and human society to channel this energy to allow our future earth to be healthy and prosperous.
We pollute the environment upon which we depend. An exploration of the paradox of sustainable skiing and how we can protect the places we love.
Life of a Plastic Cup (United Kingdom, 5 min). Directed by Alan Terrell. This film focuses on the global problem of how plastic is destroying our wildlife and polluting our seas. A plastic cup is personified and goes on its own adventure. Awarded Film of the Festival at the Blaenau Gwent Film Festival for young people.
Life: Plastic Wrapped was filmed and edited during 2020 Quarantine. Did you know plastics are making a HUGE comeback due to COVID-19? The increase of plastic production and waste has been directly affected by this global pandemic. The poem, "I am a head in a plastic bag (for Sasha)" was written by collaborator Haley White in relation to my obsession with our plastic problem. Taking ownership of my own participation in our plastic world and climate catastrophe has allowed me to contemplate these issues on a deeper level.
L'eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life): From Standing Rock to the Swamp (United States, 25 min). Directed by Sam Vinal. On the banks of Louisiana, fierce Indigenous women are ready to fight—to stop the corporate blacksnake and preserve their way of life. They are risking everything to protect Mother Earth from the predatory fossil fuel companies that seek to poison it. The film follows water protector Cherri Foytlin in the swamps of Louisiana as she leads us on a no-nonsense journey of indigenous resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), which is an extension of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipelines are part of an ongoing legacy of colonization and slow genocide. At the heart of the struggle is a battle between people and profit.
Mine (United States, 9 min) Directed by Sasha Chudacoff. A dance and music collaboration between sisters exploring a 1920s coal mining site where an iconic structure called the Gronk still stands. The sisters collected stories and myths about mines from elders in Crested Butte, Colorado. The Gronk overlooks spectacular views of Paradise Divide in the West Elk mountain range. The sights are beautiful and popular for outdoor recreation; however sadly still toxic. The land has only partially recuperated from destruction. Mosses are the first step in ecological restoration of toxic mine sites. Very few mosses are growing here. After land violence, how is spirit of place honored?
Every year, one million tourists arrive in Boracay to get away from reality… but what is the reality for those who live there and cannot escape it? Documentary filmmaker Kat Jayme travels to Boracay, the crown jewel of the Philippines and her family’s favorite vacation spot — but this time she is not on holiday. With the help of the local children of the island, who make sandcastles for money, she discovers what life is really like on Paradise Island.
Inspired by the decline of monarch butterflies in the Midwestern prairie, a gardener, educator, and pastor transform a rural church’s backyard into a sanctuary for pollinating animals, an educational garden for the community, and a sacred space for spiritual contemplation.
Precarious Cinema Verite Award An independent art film, Precarious is a haunting evocation of the aftermath of the explosion at Chernobyl, 25 years on. Accompanied by testimony from a group of unseen veterans of the disaster, Precarious bears witness to both the folly and resilience of humans and to nature's fragility.
Set at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Port Aransas, Texas, the film is supportive of the international efforts to utilize wastewater treatment facilities as bird sanctuaries. The film features an original jazz score and commentary by naturalist Jeff Anderson and provides a glimpse of some of the diversity of bird life found along the Texas Coast while conjuring a Zen-like union with nature.
Rebel Bells is about an all-girls radical collective located in the Calumet region connecting southeast side Chicago, Illinois and East Chicago in northwest Indiana. The Calumet region is an economically precarious, environmentally-polluted industrial corridor in the U.S. Midwest. The Rebel Bells was started in 2016 by three mothers who are leaders in the environmental justice movements in their respective communities. The goal of the Rebel Bells collective is to teach young girls about social justice and community activism in an empowered and safe environment.
Resilience (USA, 30 min) Energy Award Directed by Stephen Farina. 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.
Spoken word poetry short film, written from the Earth's perspective from the beginning of time to present pandemic.
Riding Bikes with the Dutch Michael Bauch, a Long Beach resident and independent filmmaker, noticed that many of his local errands involved short rides which were less than three miles. In the summer of 2007 he and his family went to Amsterdam, to document the biking and walking culture that is so natural to the Dutch people. The film suggests that we in the U.S. re-examine our view of bicycles.
Does whale watching protect or harm whales? This film explores heated controversies over whale watching, boat noise, and orca conservation in Washington State and British Columbia. Whale watching companies claim that they serve as "sentinels" protecting the orca from unwary recreational boaters, ferries, and ships. A number of local conservationists and scientists have argued that whale watching boats crowd and harass whales, while adding noise to the orcas' immediate environment that makes it difficult for the social species to survive. "Sentinels of Silence?" uses dramatic imagery, peer-reviewed science, and interviews with conservationists, scientists, and industry officials to bring a fascinating chapter in the orca conservation story to light.
Sockeye, a species of wild salmon, is born in Kamchatkan waters and spends its entire life in the Pacific Ocean. Only once does it return to fresh waters - to give offspring, start the circle of life, and die. It is an inexhaustible resource that feeds billions of people on the planet, restored every year! But soon, we may find ourselves facing the unimaginable: humans will exhaust the inexhaustible!
Thousands from across the political spectrum were inspired to travel to Standing Rock and join the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. In Spring 2016, the call went out, and no one would have guessed the movement would gain so much support around the world. The fight is not over: The sacred fire has been kicked out, but the embers are still ablaze in water protectors everywhere as Native Americans lead the important challenges to protect our environment.
Swallowtail: An Apprenticeship Story follows six young aspiring farmers as they navigate the rollercoaster season of 2019-2020 in North Central Florida. The film centers on the thoughts and experiences of these apprentices who leave home to live at Swallowtail Farm and how the COVID-19 pandemic turned an already challenging learning experience into an unprecedented one. Throughout their journey, they reflect on issues of food security, sustainability practices, and community.
What exactly is the connection between bats and coronavirus? And how has sheltering-in-place disrupted field research in California and beyond? State and local governments have set restrictions on bat research and rescue in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Dr. Winifred Frick, chief scientist of Bat Conservation International, describes how the new restrictions have affected conservation efforts.
Twenty minutes outside of Visalia, amidst the seemingly endless rows of citrus trees, Yolanda Cuevas packs enchiladas with shredded chicken for her husband Benjamin, their adult daughters and two teenaged grandchildren in her modest single-story home. Their house is the first one off the main drag, one of 83 lining the two crumbling roads that comprise the tiny town of Tooleville. Yolanda must wash the tomatoes for the salsa first in the sink and then again with a splash of clean water from a 5-gallon jug. The process is arduous, and though she’s resigned to do it, she’s not happy about it. Along with Tooleville’s several hundred other residents, Yolanda’s family has survived on bi-weekly delivery of water to their homes for the past12 years. It’s an annoyance for the family, and it’s expensive for the State of California, which has been paying for the replacement water since the discovery of Chromium-6 (the same chemical featured in Erin Brokovich) in the water. The simpler solution would be to consolidate the town’s water system with that of its larger, affluent neighbor to the west, Exeter. And for this purpose, Yolanda has become a reluctant activist, attending community meetings in Tooleville and lobbying for consolidation at Exeter’s city council meetings under the expert guidance of Pedro Hernandez, an organizer with the Leadership Counsel. While Exeter has resisted the consolidation since it was first proposed, organizers like Pedro feel that this could be the year Exeter finally succumbs to the growing community pressure and brings Tooleville into the fold. The decision will echo around the Central Valley and across the state, as hundreds of similar community water systems find themselves in a nearly identical predicament.
The Invisible Mammal (10 min) Animal Award Directed by Kristin Tieche. Bats are struggling to survive, specifically in North America, where white nose syndrome is causing a sharp decline of certain species. Pertinent issues: climate change, habitat destruction, what can humans must do to prevent extinction.
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. These activists sought local issues that exemplified the threats of corporate globalization. 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, tree sits, endangered species, pranks, blockades, 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 1/2 hour documentary about the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) and Everglades Earth First!'s (EEF!) ten-plus year campaign to stop the Scripps Biotech development, with a focus on protecting biodiversity in the Briger forest and the Florida wetlands.
This film reveals how diverse environmental problems, from climate change to species extinction to ruined ecosystems, are all ultimately rooted in the “growth at all costs” attitude that pervades modern industrial society. Through beautiful and disturbing images and interviews with ecological scholars, spiritual leaders and activists, The Wisdom to Survive argues that the survival of humanity and most living beings on the planet. will not come from technology, but from a profound raising of consciousness and deep spiritual transformation of humans who finally realize that we must live differently on planet earth.
Voices of Transition An enthusiastic documentary on farmer- and community-led responses to food insecurity in a scenario of climate change, peak oil, and economic crisis. Concrete examples from Cuba, France, and the United Kingdom tell of a future society where our monoculture deserts will be restored to living soil, where fields will be introduced into our cities, and where independence from oil will help us live a richer, more fulfilling life.
Waters of the U.S. (United States, 21 min). Directed by Remi Escudié. The current administration is rolling back crucial protections for streams and wetlands across the country in a direct assault on the Clean Water Act. This incredibly beautiful film tells the story of the rivers, streams, and wetlands of Alabama to illustrate the dangers of the proposed regulation. By doing so, it shows the economic benefits, ecological health, and cultural way of life that hang in the balance. The director hails from Miami, Florida, with a strong passion for environmental advocacy. With a degree in Editing, Writing & Media from Florida State University and a background in environmental journalism, he intends to make documentaries to inspire protection wildlife and our natural resources.
Wild Florida's Vanishing Call. (United States, 5 min). Filmed and directed by Alycin Hayes and Jimmy Evans. A moving, powerful inside look at what has happened to the wild, rarely seen, real Florida. A compelling, emotional soundtrack carries the viewer through the past destruction of wild Florida habitats, to beautiful scenes of Florida's rarely seen native wild animals, including the most endangered cat in North America, the Florida Panther, and ends with a positive message encouraging the viewer to work to protect Florida's wildlife and habitat before it is too late.
“Wings of Hope,” is a film chronicling the re-discovery of a population of wild Harpy Eagles in the Maya Mountains of southern Belize. It details the history of the Belize Foundation and Research and Environmental Education (BFREE) and UNC Wilmington initiative born from this discovery – the Integrated Community-based Harpy Eagle and Avian Conservation Program. Created by Emmy-award winning filmmakers, Richard and Carol Foster of Wildlife Film Productions, this 20-minute documentary is rich with breath-taking footage of adult and juvenile Harpy eagles and other wildlife and vistas found in the pristine tropical forests of the Bladen Nature Reserve. Over the seven year duration of the project, the Fosters followed local people involved as they transition from trainees to conservationists and as their lives are changed through their efforts to save this rare bird and its diminishing habitat.
Population growth has been left out of the climate debate because it is considered controversial, yet it is one of the most important factors. The global population has passed the 7 billion mark and India will soon overtake China as the most populous nation in the world, but one state in southern India has found the solution: Kerala educates its women. The unique history of Kerala and ‘the Kerala Model’ is outlined, using it as an example of achieving population control in developing countries without coercion. Links are highlighted within the documentary between issues such as women’s education, women’s rights and status in society, women’s health, population growth, global poverty and global food shortage, economic growth and environmental stability.
A look into the devastating effects of a deadly disease on the historic olive trees in Puglia, Italy.