Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Environmental Film Festival: March 16-28

Environmental Film Festival logoThe DC Environmental Film Festival is a twelve-day extravaganza showing films that are generally unavailable in commercial theaters. They can be challenging, funny, educational, whimsical -- and often stunningly beautiful. This year there will be 155 films in just two weeks, spread across 56 venues: embassies, theaters, museums and more. Many are free, and many will be attended by the filmmakers.

The festivities kick off with a launch party on Wednesday, March 10 (that's tomorrow). For a $20 cover there's hors d'ouvres, an open bar with eco-friendly vodka, and a silent auction with some pretty cool stuff.

There are a few films on the schedule that have some local interest:

THE GREEN HOUSE: DESIGN IT. BUILD IT. LIVE IT. (USA, 2010, 90 min., World Premiere) "This illuminating documentary chronicles the building of the first carbon-neutral house and the designing of the first green show house in the Washington, D.C. area. The building of the house in McLean, Virginia was captured from start to finish, from the monumental groundbreaking to the exquisitely furnished show home decorated by eco-conscious designers." 3/17/10 7:00 pm, E Street Cinema. Tickets, $10, available ONLY at E Street Cinema Box office beginning March 8.

THE MEANINGFUL WATERSHED EDUCATION EXPERIENCE (USA, 2006, 10 min.) and WHEN LEARNING COMES NATURALLY (USA, 2009, 30 min.) A 10 min film on environmental education programs on the Anacostia, paired with a longer film on innovative outdoor-education programs that "help children understand and experience the wonders and joys of nature." Followed by a panel discussion. 3/19/10 12:00 pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. FREE.

WHO KILLED CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA: THE FALL AND RISE OF CHESAPEAKE BAY OYSTERS (USA, 2010, 58 min.) "The decline of the Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery devastated the economy of traditional tidewater communities in Maryland and Virginia. And the destruction of the oyster reef system with its immense water-filtering power also altered the ecology of the entire ecosystem." Discussion with filmmaker Michael Fincham and oyster biologist Ken Paynter and skipjack captain Ed Farley, both featured in the film, follows screening. 3/21/10 1:30 pm, Carnegie Institution for Science. FREE.

COAL COUNTRY (USA, 2009, 40 min.) "Most Americans are shocked to learn that nearly half of the electricity used in the United States today is produced by coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Coal Country reveals the truth about modern coal mining. The story is told by people directly involved, both working miners and activists, who are battling the coal companies in Appalachia. Tensions are high...as families and communities are deeply split over mountaintop removal mining." 3/23/10 7:30 pm, St. Columba's Episcopal Church. FREE, with suggested donation of $5.

"RIVER OF HOPE": WELCOME TO OUR CITY, MR. PRESIDENT (USA, 2009, 25 min.) and NOT A DISTANT BEAST (USA, 2009, 10 min.) River of Hope "spotlights the positive transformation of formerly committed youth participating in D.C.’s Civic Justice Corps....seeking to reclaim their lives and the Anacostia River.” Not a Distant Beast follows "Carl Cole, a lifelong Washington, D.C. resident, [who] formed a deep relationship with the city’s most polluted natural resource, the Anacostia River, which led him to become a water sportman and an activist and steward of the river." 3/27/10 2:30 pm, Carnegie Institution for Science. FREE.

Beyond that, there are beautiful-looking nature documentaries from all over the world, a Finnish epic drama, animation for kids, stories of destruction, stories of redemption...and a fantastic-looking series on food and agriculture issues, including a movie about Nora Pouillon of DC's Restaurant Nora, and FRESH!, which includes segments on Joel Salatin, who markets meat and eggs in the DC area..  Check out the catalog. What films are you looking forward to?

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