EarthxFilm, presented by EarthX, announces Full Schedule for 2nd edition of the fest (April 13-22)

Louie Psihoyos’s THE GAME CHANGERS is the Opening Night choice, with highlights including Laura Nix’s INVENTING TOMORROW, Kate Brooks’s THE LAST ANIMALS, Matthew Testa’s THE HUMAN ELEMENT, and Chanda Chevannes’s UNFRACTURED

 

VR projects making World Premieres include Matthieu Rytz’s ANOTE’S ARK, Brittany Neff and Benjamin Ross’s GUARDIANS OF THE FOREST, and Christophe Bailhache’s PALMYRA ATOLL 360°

 

EarthxFilm will hand out cash prize jury and audience awards Totaling $25,000, with an additional $12,000 to be presented to winners of the festival’s online student film competition

 

Dallas, TX (March 15, 2018) – EarthxFilm presented by EarthX (formerly Earth Day Texas), today announced the full slate of films and VR presentations for the environmentally focused film festival’s 2nd edition at Fair Park and theaters throughout Dallas, Texas on April 13-22. Following a “Kick-Off” week of special screenings and events from April 13-18, Louie Psyihoyos’s THE GAME CHANGERS will be the official Opening Night selection for a Gala Presentation on Thursday, April 19, at the Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District. Among the 21 feature films, 33 shorts, 19 mixed reality films and series, are films that investigate the state of our environment, profile the people on the front lines that work to protect it, look at the animals and creatures that live in it, and place audiences in places all around the world to get a first-hand view of lands, and waters around the world that oftentimes have an effect on what is going on in our own backyards.

 

In its 2nd year, EarthxFilm has taken another step in aiding the important work and careers of filmmakers making environmentally-focused films and VR projects by adding cash jury and audience prizes totaling $25,000, as well as an additional $12,000 for the festival’s previously announced online student film compeition. Prizes will be awarded for “Best of Festival Feature-Length ($5000), “Best Short” ($3000), Audience Awards for Feature-Length and Short Film ($5000 combined), Impact Award – given to people who are having a real and tangible impact on their chosen issue, with the prize money going directly to the individual or advocacy group ($5000), Creative Storyteller Award ($2000), and the EarthxCatalyst Award – given to a project that is still in production that has enormous potential to impact its subject ($5000).

 

EarthxFilm Artistic Director David Holbrooke, said, “This year’s slate of knockout films covers the globe, examining the myriad of environmental challenges our planet faces today. The program also spotlights a dazzling array of real life heroes who are on the front lines of some of the most Important battles being fought today. The stories of these deeply impressive men and women inspire us and provide hope, which to me is essential in these turbulent times.”

 

EarthxFilm’s co-Founder/President, Michael Cain, added, “In our second year, we are broadening the reach of EarthxFilm in Dallas, adding screenings at the Wyly Theatre, Angelika Theater, Dallas Farmer’s Market, Dallas Contemporary, the Dallas Arts District, and the Texas Theatre, to those that will take place at Fair Park. Just as we are excited about the films and VR projects we have programmed this year, we are equally thrilled to offer many interactive programs, panel discussions, even teaming with the Dallas Comedy House for our first comedy night to entertain audiences, as we seek to educate them about their environment and inspire them to help protect it.”

 

THE GAME CHANGERS, the new feature documentary by Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos (THE COVE) takes a two-pronged look at the benefits of a vegan diet, as it introduces us to world class athletes who swear by eating plant-based food, as well as how the environment greatly benefits from a reduction of raising and processing animal products for food. The gala evening opens with a cocktail reception, and will be followed by drinks and discussion with special guests in the Potter Rose Performance Hall.

 

Other highlights include four films featuring people who are at the forefront of environmental issues around the globe; Matthieu Rytz’s ANOTE’S ARK, which looks at the precarious state of the tiny island nation of Kiribati, that is literally disappearing under rising ocean levels, and the quest by its President, Anote Tong to save his people’s culture and their land from extinction; Kate Brooks’s THE LAST ANIMALS, which takes a devastating look at the decimation of African elephants and rhinos by poaching and transnational wildlife trafficking and the conservationists, scientists and activists at the frontlines of the battle to save them; Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin’s CHASING THE THUNDER, which offers drama, action and excitement to spare as the film follows a pair of boats from Paul Watson’s legendary eco-warriors, Sea Shepherd, as they chase and attempt to thwart a notorious fishing vessel called the Thunder as it indiscriminately fills its nets with sea life; and Oscar winner CHASING ICE’s James Balog will attend EarthxFilm with director Mathew Testa’s THE HUMAN ELEMENT which follows Balog as he seeks out people on the front lines of the unfolding climate change disaster who are struggling with the new reality of their world and their lives. President Anote Tong, Kate Brooks, Paul Watson, and James Balog will each be at EarthxFilm to meet the public and talk about their films.

 

Additional highlights include; Laura Nix’s Sundance hit, INVENTING TOMORROW, which gives audiences a needed blast of hope via a look at a group of entertaining, charismatic, and incredibly smart high school students who come from all over the world to compete in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF); Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and Jeff Springer’s RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE tells the story of the ongoing fight in Louisiana as a group of citizens attempt to defend their land against the onslaught of nutria, an invasive giant swamp rat that is wreaking havoc by destroying the wetland there; Chanda Chevannes’s UNFRACTURED, which profiles biologist, mother, and anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber as she leads a grassroots fight to ban fracking in New York State, oftentimes with a deck seemingly stacked against her; and Matt Trecartin’s CHASING WILD HORSES, which follows New York City fashion photographer Roberto Dutesco as he tracks and chronicles the wild horses roaming the coast of Nova Scotia. Roberto Dutesco will also be in attendance at EarthxFilm this year.

 

Mixed Reality (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality) will have an increased presence at the festival this year, courtesy of the EarthxInteractive Zone. It will offer visitors an opportunity to be able to go on immersive journeys from April 20-22 — swimming with dolphins in the ocean, dancing with flamingos, exploring the most remote islands on the planet and trekking through the jungles of Africa to defend wildlife — all through today’s most exciting emerging art, media and technology. EarthxInteractive will present more than 30 virtual, augmented and mixed reality projects and educational workshops in the interactive zone and satellite locations throughout the Earthx expo.

 

The VR and Augmented Reality lineup this year features three world premieres, including; the VR presentation on Matthieu Rytz’s ANOTE’S ARK, which takes you on a journey to the tiny island nation of Kiribati to bear witness to one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, as it begins to disappear under the rising tides; Brittany Neff, Benjamin Ross’s UNVR distributed GUARDIANS OF THE FOREST, which tells the story of a volunteer environmental monitoring force of the Guajajara tribe in the Brazilian Amazon working to monitor and protect their forest from illegal logging; and Christophe Bailhache’s Palmyra Atoll 360°, which reveals this unique coral reef atoll to the world in 360°, allowing viewers to truly experience it, and come to understand what makes this place so special and worthy of marine conservation and protection.

 

Additional VR and Augmented Reality highlights include, Kristin Lucas’s DANCE WITH FLARMINGOS which brings participants into a mixed reality world where they can dance with virtual flamingos as flamingo avatars, and an app that invites you to populate yourr surroundings with life-size augmented reality flamingos; Cascade Game Foundry’s DIVE WITH SYLVIA, which is an Oculus Rift-enabled experience, featuring a relaxing, 5-minute scuba dive with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle; and Milica Zec and Winslow Porter’s TREE, a critically acclaimed and haptically enhanced virtual reality experience that transforms the viewer into a majestic rain forest tree. With their arms as branches and body as a trunk, the viewer will experience the tree’s life from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. Dr. Sylvia Earle will also be in-person at EarthxFilm.

 

Other special events and attractions at EarthxFilm this year include; Comedy4Climate, a night of improv comedy looking at our planet earth, climate change and other issues through a skewed comic lens at the Dallas Comedy House on Monday, April 16; ALBATROSS at the Dallas Contemporary, where internationally acclaimed photographic artist Chris Jordan documents the cycles of life and death of these magnificent seabirds in the ethereal calm of the Dallas Contemporary on Tuesday, April 17; the Common Ground Community Dinner: A Celebration of Food, Film, and Community on Wednesday, April 18, which is a pop-up dinner at the Dallas Farmer’s Market benefiting Farm Aid, Grow North Texas, and the North Texas Food Bank with screenings that celebrates the story of food and the heroes behind the food we eat, and the free-to-the-public Short Film Parade featuring chamber ensemble Montpolis at Fair Park, on Saturday, April 21.

 

Festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, please go to earthxfilm.org. For more information, visit EarthX.org/edu.

 

2018 EarthxFilm Official Selections:

 

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

The Game Changers

Director: Louie Psihoyos

Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min

Louie Psihoyos is a man on a mission. After making documentaries that took on the Japanese dolphin fishing industry (Oscar-winning The Cove) and then delving into the extinction crisis (Racing Extinction), his new effort, The Game Changers, looks at veganism. The film’s main character and narrator is James Wilks, a mixed martial artist who goes vegan to recover from an injury and then immerses himself in research to learn more about its effects. Other subjects who advocate for an entirely plant-based diet include a variety of super athletes, from ultra-runner Scott Jurek to Patrick Baboumian, who holds multiple world records as a professional Strong Man. These remarkable humans maintain that their professional success is partly due to their diet — an assertion that’s backed up by a chorus of scientific voices.

 

 

Albatross

Director: Chris Jordan

Country: USA, Running Time: 102 min

Chris Jordan spent eight years in his quest to chronicle, understand and properly communicate the story of the albatrosses that populate Midway Island, a small speck of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The result is Albatross, an exquisitely shot labor of love that is much more than a nature documentary. Instead, it’s a work of art; an examination of life, loss and love; and an expression of what these extraordinary sea birds mean to one human who dedicated his life to them.

 

Anote’s Ark

Director: Matthieu Rytz

Countries: Kiribati, Canada, Running Time: 78 min

The denizens of the tiny island nation of Kiribati, which is beleaguered by rising oceans, powerful storms and other effects of climate change, face a difficult choice. They must find a new home; theirs will be swallowed by the sea within a few decades. As residents begin to emigrate in a climate-fueled diaspora, President Anote Tong sets out on a quest to secure a future for his people — exploring man-made islands, seeking the purchase land elsewhere and pleading on a world stage on behalf of his country and its culture, which are on the verge of extinction.

 

Antarctica: In the Footsteps of the Emperor

Director: Jérome Bouvier

Country: Antarctica, Running Time: 90 min

Scientists have been telling us for decades that the North and South poles are the thermostats of the planet, and that changes wrought there by climate change will drastically affect us all. Signs in ice cycles and biodiversity are already alarming; the white havens are suffering. To document what is unfolding in Antarctica, photographer and diver Laurent Ballesta and photographer of extreme environments Vincent Munier spend two months diving, exploring and chronicling the otherworldly white continent. To do so, they follow the path of the iconic Emperor penguin, from vast and isolated ice sheets to crowded bird colonies and the undiscovered realm of the deep ocean. What they discover makes a convincing argument for conservation.

 

Beartrek

Director: Chris Morgan

Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min

A decade ago, British ecologist and bear specialist Chris Morgan set out on his motorcycle to research and protect the world’s most recognizable omnivores. Beartrek documents his extraordinary journey. From the salmon-rich rivers of Alaska’s bush to the sere mountains of the Peruvian Andes and the lush tropics of Borneo, Morgan is determined to learn, understand and educate people about the health and the fate of bears, many of which are threatened.

 

Bird of Prey

Director: Eric Liner

Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min

With ice-colored eyes, a crown of wily feathers atop its head and the largest wing surface of any bird of its kind, the Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle is a creature of both arresting beauty and staggering power. This jungle denizen is also one of the rarest raptors on the planet — just 700 individuals remain — its fate threatened by logging, hunting and other human activities. In 1977, cinematographer and raptor specialist Neil Rettig traveled to the Philippines to capture the first filmed images of the eagle in the wild, an effort that helped catapult the bird into a national symbol. Bird of Prey follows Rettig as he returns to the island nation 40 years later.

 

Blue Heart – The Fight For Europe’s Last Wild Rivers

Director: Britton Caillouette

Country: USA, Running Time: 41 min

Blue Heart tours three countries, telling the stories of particular rivers and the challenges they face from hydroelectric dams. This could easily make for an overly earnest and tedious documentary, but this film is anything but, sharply directed by Britton Caillouette and smartly built around its tremendous central characters — deeply dedicated activists. Particularly striking are the women in Bosnia who work tirelessly to stop the building of a dam on their local river, organizing a non-stop occupation of critical roads. Strategically, they keep their men out of the protest, knowing that they would face more violence and punishment than this all-female movement, which still gets beaten. Nevertheless, these women keep on.

 

Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story

Director: Phillip Baribeau

Countries: USA/Mexico, Running Time: 86 min

When Eduardo Garcia happened across a dead bear while hunting in the Montana backcountry in 2011, it piqued his curiosity. But when he prodded it with his knife, he was jolted with 2,400 volts of electricity — the animal was concealing a live electrical wire. The incident almost killed Garcia, forcing doctors to remove his arm and leaving him with significant injuries, and altered the course of his life forever. Charged follows his painstaking recovery, his return to the kitchen as a “bionic chef,” and the way nature helps him heal — both from his physical wounds and from his emotional challenges, which prove to be the most formidable of all.

 

Chasing The Thunder

Directors: Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin

Country: Antarctica, Running Time: 96 min

Few environmental documentaries have as much drama, action and excitement as Chasing the Thunder. The film follows a pair of boats from Sea Shepherd, which was founded by the legendary Paul Watson to track and stop illegal whaling, as they chase a notorious fishing vessel called the Thunder. The audience is right there on the deck as this extremely dangerous pursuit unfolds on the open seas, and it’s riveting. What’s at stake is made clear when the eco-warriors of Sea Shepherd find the criminals’ lines and pull them up. The Thunder was fishing for Chilean Sea Bass (originally Patagonian Toothfish), which filled the net along with a horrific mess of dead sea creatures.

 

Chasing Wild Horses  

Director: Matt Trecartin

Country: Canada, Running Time: 50 min

Sable Island is a thin crescent of land about the size of Manhattan that sits off the coast of Nova Scotia. Within its windblown dunes and sandy hills roams a herd of wild horses — the animals probably arrived there via shipwrecks or other sea vessels. This film follows New York City fashion photographer Roberto Dutesco as he tracks and chronicles these beautiful, mysterious and hardy creatures.

 

Don’t Frack with Denton

Director: Garrett Graham

Country: USA, Running Time: 58 min

Denton, Texas, is a hub of music, culture and academics — an alluring place to live and well-loved home to its denizens. But something’s wrong with the air in Denton. And a group of citizens believe the poor air quality is caused by the town’s high density of fracking wells — nearly 300 within city limits. So they band together with the goal of banning fracking in their hometown. Through a grassroots effort of door-to-door outreach, rallies, meetings and a ballot measure, they succeed in getting a city-wide ban passed. But instead of being the end of their fight against fracking, it’s just the beginning.

 

The Farthest

Director: Emer Reynolds

Country: Ireland, Running Time: 116 min

In 1977, NASA launched a mission so unique in its scope, mission and reach that we’ll never see another like it. The Voyager mission sent two probes into deep space just in time for a historic alignment that allowed them to make a successful exploration of the outer planets of our solar system for the first time. What ensued was a fantastic fact-finding mission that was fruitful beyond expectations. Voyager gave us the first close-up images of Jupiter’s red spot, Saturn’s rings, Uranus’ drab crust and the lovely planet of Neptune.

 

From the Ashes

Director: Michael Bonfiglio

Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min

During his the State of the Union in January, President Trump called for the return of “beautiful, clean coal.” But according to the documentary From the Ashes, the reality of the coal industry is very different today than it was in its heyday in the 20th – if not the 19th – century. This compelling film does much more than examine how coal is an outdated technology that’s harmful to the environment, not to mention our personal health.

 

The Human Element

Director: Matthew Testa

Country: USA, Running Time: 76 min

James Balog, the star of the essential climate change documentary Chasing Ice, is not only an acclaimed photographer but a trained geologist who has spent his career studying way the Earth changes and moves. The Human Element follows Balog as he seeks out people on the front lines of the unfolding climate change disaster who are struggling with the new reality. Some of these hard-working folks are in crisis — a flood or a fire has landed at their front door — but others are slowly yet clearly seeing the seas rise and have to reconcile that deepening truth with their own views about climate change.

 

Into the Okavango – The Beating Heart of Our Planet

Director: Neil Gelinas

Countries: Botswana/Angola/Namibia, Running Time: 94 min

The Okavango Delta in northwest Botswana is a vast system of wetlands surrounded on all sides by the Kalahari Desert. It’s a veritable freshwater oasis, a landscape so huge it can be seen by space, and its wildlife significance cannot be understated. The Okavango teems with the largest wildlife populations in Africa — lions, elephants, birds, hippos and caimans thrive in its fecund ecosystems. As ornithologist Steve Boyes puts it: “This is the wild perfect. As perfect as we used to be.” It’s also, Boyes notes, a delicate place where the water and wildlife have been diminishing.  In order to fully comprehend the delta’s system, Boyes assembles a team of scientists and guides to find the source of the Okavango and follow it to its terminus.

 

Inventing Tomorrow

Director: Laura Nix

Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min

With all the challenges facing our planet, a film like Inventing Tomorrow is a needed blast of hope. It’s not that the myriad of problems will fade away, but audiences can take comfort that there are young, committed and brilliant scientists who are out there ready to build a better world. The film follows a group of wonderfully awkward yet charismatic high school students who are competing in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). These young Einsteins hail from all over the world and share a deep love of science and innovation, but here they are in the hot seat, deeply immersed in a high-pressure competition that could have a huge impact on their future.

 

The Last Animals

Director: Kate Brooks

Countries: USA/UK, Running Time: 92 min

War photographer Kate Brooks has covered human destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria for many years. In The Last Animals, she turns her lens to a different kind of genocide: the decimation of African elephants and rhinos by poaching and transnational wildlife trafficking.

In this comprehensive and disturbing examination of the poaching crisis, Brooks draws out startling connections between illegal wildlife trade, international border security and government corruption. She chronicles the conservationists, scientists and activists at the frontlines of the battle against poaching.

 

Rodents of Unusual Size

Directors: Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, Jeff Springer
Country: USA, Running Time: 71 min

The name is a nod to those villainous rats in The Princess Bride, but this film is no fictional tale. Instead, it tells the very real story of nutria, an invasive giant swamp rat that is wreaking havoc in the wetlands of Louisiana. These orange-tooth rodents, which hail from South America, are chomping up coastal wetlands, disturbing ecosystems, breeding like mad and threatening the future of humans to inhabit these areas. But the Louisianans who have called the state home for generations aren’t the type to give up their land without a fight.

 

Unfractured

Director: Chanda Chevannes

Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min

As an introverted biologist and mother, Sandra Steingraber isn’t your textbook environmental activist. But her conviction that fracking is harmful to human health is steely enough to fuel her into becoming the outspoken leader in a grassroots fight to ban fracking in New York State. To succeed, Steingraber finds, she must devote all her time, energy and money to the cause — sometimes to the detriment of her family life back home, and even while her husband suffers from a series of strokes. Unfractured isn’t a film about the dangers of fracking and the oil and gas industry. Instead, it’s an intimate look at the beliefs, sacrifices and hopes of one activist who is determined not to back down.

 

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

Directors: Anna Chai, Nari Kye

Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min

In America, a staggering 40 percent of food that is produced goes to waste — and 90 percent of that waste ends up in landfills. It’s enormously expensive, it happens while millions go hungry around the world and it contributes in a major way to climate change. But there’s a movement afoot to both repair this broken food waste system and change the way we think about unwanted food. Wasted! takes the audience on a journey around the world to the front lines of food waste solutions, where chefs, journalists, activists and farmers are creating a host of innovative answers to the problem.

 

Yakona

Directors: Paul Collins, Anlo Sepulveda

Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min

This multi-award winning film takes viewers on a stunning visual evolution of Texas’s San Marcos River, traveling from prehistoric times through the modern era on a journey told from the perspective of the river. From source to sea, through changing seasons, this film interprets the river’s time and memory by documenting the relationship between nature and humanity. Yakona will play during a special screening at the Short Film Parade, where it be accompanied by a live performance of the musical score by the chamber ensemble Montpolic.

 

 

SHORT FILMS

 

Adaptation Bangladesh: Sea Level Rise

Director: Justin DeShields

Countries: USA/Bangladesh, Running Time: 10 min

With its dense population and vast system of coastal deltas, Bangladesh is incredibly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. While climate change is still a specter in some parts of the world, it’s a reality here. But as the water rises, the people are adapting in surprising ways. In this short film, cultural anthropologist Alizé Carérre takes us on a tour of the country, where the residents have created floating gardens, schools are in boats and architects are designing communities that will exist on the surface of water.

 

City on the Water

Director: Jon Bowermaster

Country: USA, Running Time: 19 min

Encircled by 520 miles of waterfront, New York City is truly a city on the water. But with more than 8 million residents, dense development and a history of heavy industrial activity, much of that water has been severely degraded. Despite that, some areas in the city’s coastline are starting to rebound from decades of pollution. In City on the Water, we meet scientists, teachers, residents and environmentalists who are working to restore New York City’s rivers, creeks, canals and bays to a healthier state.

 

The Curve of Time

Director: Mike Douglas

Country: USA, Running Time: 23 min

As professional skiers, Chris Rubens and Greg Hill spent years of their lives touring the globe by plane, snowmobile, helicopter and chairlift in search of killer lines and deep pow. But when climate change becomes an incontrovertible fact of life, it triggers an existential crisis: the skiers realize their very lifestyle harms the thing they love the most. Together they set out on a quest to do better for the future of the sport, switching to electric vehicles, slashing travel and eating less meat.

 

Denali’s Raven

Director: Renan Ozturk

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

Leighan Falley is many things: mountain guide, skier mother, artist, pilot and spot-on crow impersonator. More than anything though, she’s an Alaskan native whose intimacy and love of the massive mountains and windswept valleys of the northern state have defined nearly every aspect of her character. Denali’s Raven is a portrait of a woman shaped by place.

 

Ditch the Van

Directors: Mallory Cunningham, Kyle Romanek

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

As a professional touring musician, cellist and singer-songwriter Ben Sollee found himself spending a great deal of time flying over and zooming through America at a breakneck pace. He was exhausted, his health was suffering and something felt off. So he bought an Xtracycle cargo bike, strapped his cello to the back and embarked on a new kind of tour. This one would entail five years, 5,000 miles on the road and untold adventures exploring America on two wheels.

 

A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends

Director: Chad Clendinen

Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

When Tyler Dunning lost his best friend Nate in a terror-related bombing in Kampala, Uganda in 2010, he was plunged into darkness, self-medication, anger and grief. Eventually though, he found solace in the rocky spires and muffled forests of Rocky Mountain National Park. After being humbled by failed attempt to climb Longs Peak, he was inspired to set out on a quest to visit all 59 U.S. national parks. From Yellowstone to Saguaro, the Everglades, Kenai, Big Bend and Glacier, he explored the nation’s most beautiful wild places, sometimes stuffing them into wild weekend excursions.

 

Fix and Release
Director: Scott Dobson

Country: Canada, Running Time: 16 min
The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre treats hundreds of injured turtles each year. These reptilian patients have been struck by cars, hit by boats or mauled by predators, and are often nearly broken beyond repair. But Dr. Sue Carstairs and her team meticulously piece them back together, nurse them to life and help hatch and raise their offspring. In this way, more turtles are released to the wild then are admitted. Fix and Release tells an uplifting story of wildlife rehabilitation and focuses on an overlooked but remarkable animal that deserves some time in the spotlight.

 

For Flint
Director: Brian Schultz

Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min

When people hear the name Flint, Michigan, they often think of tainted water, government corruption and a city on its knees. For Flint will leave you with a much different impression of the Michigan burg. That’s because the film profiles artists, teachers and youth advocates who are working to beautify, strengthen and enlighten their city, one story at a time, creating a whole new narrative for Flint.

 

High Seas Journey to the Costa Rica Thermal Dome

Director: Kip Evans

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

It’s the lifelong mission of the indomitable oceanographer Sylvia Earle to save our struggling oceans. At the age of 82, she tirelessly travels around the world exploring and advocating for a more thoughtful strategy for these essential ecosystems. In this short, earnest documentary, Earle alights in Costa Rica, where a unique thermal dome desperately needs protection.

 

Homeplace Under Fire

Director: Charles D. Thompson

Country: USA, Running Time: 30 min

In the early ‘80s, a devastating collision of spiking interest rates, sinking farm prices and misguided federal policies sparked a national tragedy known as The Farm Crisis. The crisis drove families into foreclosure, forced generational farmers out of the business and led many to lose their land. But out of the despair and loss emerged a legion of farmers and activists who decided to fight for their land and way of life. These farmers, farm wives and rural leaders became self-made legal advocates, organized the purchase of land trusts, started hotlines and went toe-to-toe with lenders.

 

The Last Honey Hunter

Directors: Ben Knight, Renan Ozturk

Country: USA, Running Time: 32 min

In the rugged and mist-shrouded mountains of Nepal’s Hongu River valley, the Kulung people etch their lives out of the land and practice a form of animism built around the god Rongkemi. Local denizen Mauli Dhan Rai is an unassuming man with a highly significant role: he is believed to be chosen by the gods for the treacherous rite of honey harvesting. The task involves climbing rope ladders up sheer cliffs to hack down combs made by the world’s largest honeybee before collecting the poisonous and psychedelic honey within. It’s extraordinarily dangerous, and more nerve-wracking to behold than any of today’s extreme sports.

 

Lions of West Texas

Director: Ben Masters

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

In the hardscrabble landscape of West Texas, mountain lions are like ghosts: their elusive presence felt more than it’s seen. But by trapping, collaring and tracking the big cats, researchers with the Borderlands Research Institute are changing that. As they gather data on the big cats’ home ranges, diets and breeding habits, the researchers are gaining an understanding of how lions have survived in these mountains for centuries, and how they’ll persevere into the future.

 

Metronomic

Director: Vladimir Cellier

Country: France, Running Time: 15 min

What happens when you mix saxophone players, vocalists, dancers and movement artists into the high-flying and absurdist world of French aerialists? You get this inventive, clever and funny short, which successfully blends cliff dancers, BASE jumpers, singers flung on giant rope swings and one unforgettable flying band.

One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts

Director: Peter Byck

Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min

Will Harris is not your typical touchy-feely organic farmer. He’s a fourth-generation no-nonsense businessman, a salt-of-the-earth type who was raised to grow his cattle in strict industrial fashion. And that’s what he did, pumping hormones, antibiotics and ammonium nitrate fertilizer into his production, aiming for maximum profit and squeezing out every penny he could get. But in the mid-’90s, something began to shift. Harris began to see more value in the microbes in his soil than in the beef yields demanded by the industry.

 

Permafrost Now

Director: Stash Wislocki

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

In vast swaths of polar tundra across the globe, permafrost acts as a giant container for carbon dioxide, locking it inside the Earth’s surface and keeping it out of our atmosphere. But only when it’s frozen. Scientists know that permafrost is rapidly thawing, threatening to release enormous amounts of CO2 that could accelerate the effects of climate change drastically. In order to fully understand what’s happening to permafrost and advance the next generation of scientists, the Woods Hole Research Center’s Polaris Project sends teams of students and advisors to the northern tundra of Alaska, where they meticulously research the behaviors of permafrost, work on potential solutions and strive to find a way to “science the shit” out of this issue.

 

The Pines

Director: Sam Ryan

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min

The history of North America is one of ingenuity, self-reliance and sometimes, mistakes. But the wise ones among us learn from those mistakes. The Pines tells a story of right-of-way roads, the building and use of which once involved an enormous waste of hardwood resources. These days, however, the process has been re-invented in impressive ways.

 

Sky Migrations
Directors: Charles Post, Forest Woodward, Max Lowe

Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min

Raptors have been traveling great distances on their annual migration paths for hundreds of thousands of years, soaring from frozen northern landscapes to the tropics of the southern hemisphere. Along the way, they also provide evidence of the health of the ecosystems they fly over. In Sky Migrations, ecologist Charles Post joins Hawkwatch International in the Goshute Mountains of Nevada and beyond to research and trace the paths of these formidable creatures across the skyscapes of the west.

Walk on the Mountain
Director: William Gregg

Country: USA, Running Time: 19 min

Junior Walk is a 26-year-old bearded, camo-wearing native of West Virginia who grew up exploring, hunting and living off the land in his backyard of Coal River Mountain. With that mountain today in danger of mountaintop removal for coal mining, Walk has emerged as one of Appalachia’s most effective anti-coal advocates. Walk on the Mountain follows the young activist as he wades into the thorny and contentious battle, sometimes making enemies as he takes on a powerful industry and deep cultural history.

Weightless

Director: Jean-Baptiste Chandelier

Countries: Portugal/France/Brazil/South Africa, Running Time: 6 min

Paraglider Jean-Baptiste Chandelier takes to the skies on a whimsical aerial tour from the French Alps to the coast of South Africa and the Azores Islands — skimming over cityscapes, soaring over valleys, gliding between church steeples, walking on water and flying down snowy slopes in a spectacular display of aerial flying.

 

Where the Wild Things Play

Director: Krystle Wright

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

This clever ode to badass female athletes starts by posing a question: Where all the ladies at? Answer: sending gnarly climbing routes, shredding huge backcountry lines, tearing up the singletrack on mountain bikes and generally leaving all the men behind.

 

 

COMMUNITY SCREENINGS

 

RAINFOREST PARTNERSHIP’S 2nd Annual FILMS FOR THE FOREST Community EarthxFilm Screening:

Films for the Forest (F3) is an annual international short film challenge created by Rainforest Partnership in 2010. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of rainforests while encouraging lmmakers to create inspiring forest-related films. 2018 F3 Judges: Richard Linklater, Michael Cain, Bill Imada

Big Booom (4:00) Marat Narimanov – Russia

Communities Combat Coca Growers (7:41) Jaye Renold – Peru

High and Dry: Cutting Fog for Science (3:16) Daniel Grossman – USA

When Old Growth Ends (13:13) Ayana Young & Leslie Satter eld – USA

Colibri Bee Project (2:39) Rainforest Partnership – Peru

A Living Legacy (11:40) Taira Malaney – India

Forest People (1:55) Rafa Calil & Tito Sabatini – Brazil (RP Partner lm)

Guardians of the Forest: taking our message to London (10:38) Jaye Renold – UK

BioVida Panama: The Golden Frog (14:00) Megan O’Connell – USA

A Better Place (2:54) Heather Garcia – USA

Person of the Forest (16:41) Melissa Lesh – USA

Sani Isla Project (5:25) Rainforest Partnership – Ecuador

 

 

VR AND AUGMENTED PROJECTS

 

Anote’s Ark                                      World Premiere

Director: Mattieu Rytz

Duration: 9 min

With almost no environmental footprint, the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati is one of the most remote places on the planet, yet it is one of the first countries confronting the main existential dilemma of our time: Imminent annihilation from sea level rise. Anote’s Ark VR takes you on  journey to Kiribati to bear witness to one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.

 

Conservation International: Valen’s Reef

Director: Inraa Ishmale

Duration: 8 min

Valen’s Reef is a touching, immersive virtual reality film that shares the wonder of some of Earth’s most beautiful reefs through the eyes of West Papuan fisherman-turned-coral-reef-scientist and conservationist Ronald Mambrasar and his 8-year-old son, Valen. Together, they take viewers on an underwater journey among the region’s stunning sea life and share how their people have reclaimed their ancestral waters, creating one of the world’s most successful community-based marine conservation projects. Valen’s Reef was created by Conservation International in collaboration with Here Be Dragons and with support from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

 

Conservation International: Under the Canopy
Director: Patrick Meegan

Duration: 11 min

The Amazon rainforest gives us air we need to survive and is our best hope in this time of climate change. With its second virtual reality film, Conservation International invites you to plunge through the forest canopy, meet Amazonia’s stunningly abundant wildlife and explore the jungle with Kamanja, a wise member of an indigenous community, which is uniquely able to protect such a vital place. Under the Canopy lets you see first-hand how protecting this forest means protecting our future. It was created by Conservation International in collaboration with Jaunt and with support from MacArthur Foundation, SC Johnson, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and HP.

 

Dance with FLARmingos  

Director: Kristin Lucas

Join the flock! Dance with life-size augmented reality flamingos. Pick up flamingo dance moves researched by scientists, snap a photo, and adopt a flamingo through a wetlands conservation initiative. Workshop with artist Kristin Lucas to learn how they were animated by human motion capture and a dynamic flocking algorithm. Made with Pioneer Works in partnership with Tour du Valat research institute in Arles, France.

 

Dive with Sylvia

Produced by Cascade Game Foundry

Duration: 5 min

Dive with Sylvia is Cascade Game Foundry’s first Oculus Rift-enabled experience and features a relaxing, 5-minute scuba dive with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle. The legendary oceanographer leads you on a tour of a dive site in Belize that features corals, reef fish, sea turtles, groupers and whale sharks. Because the wildlife on each dive is different, as it is in the real world, you never know what you may see.

 

Explorer Mike Libecki presented by Dell VR

Director: Mike Libecki

A climber turned explorer searches out the last truly wild places on the planet in virtual reality. Mike Libecki is the consummate adventurer. With more than 45 expeditions to his name, often solo and in unexplored pockets of the world, he shows no signs of slowing down. Despite his creative expeditions, unwavering desire, and quirky demeanor, Libecki has remained on the fringe of the adventure world’s conscience.

 

GREAT BARRIER REEF VR SERIES

The Ocean Agency/Seaview 360 Production in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Panedia, University of Queensland

Director: Christophe Bailhache

Full Series Duration: 14 min

Explore science and witness rare underwater moments with dolphins and manta rays on the Great Barrier Reef captured in full 360°.

Dolphin Encounter on the Great Barrier Reef

Duration: 2 min

Underwater, you never know what’s around the corner… Although they usually hunt in groups, solitary dolphins can also be seen hunting. This bottlenose dolphin let us be a witness of this rare moment.

Manta Rays encounter on the Great Barrier Reef

Duration: 3 min

Swimming alongside these graceful ocean giants is a magical experience.

Life underwater at Lady Elliot Island

Duration: 3 min

This film explores the incredible richness of a sanctuary situated at the southern tip of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Life underwater at Heron Island

Duration: 3 min

Heron Bommie on the Great Barrier Reef, rated in Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s top 10 dive sites in the world.

Science on the Great Barrier Reef

Duration: 3 min

Follow the work of scientists from The University of Queensland at the Heron Island Research Station.

 

Greenland Melting

Directors: Catherine Upin, Nonny De La Peña

Duration: 13 min

Greenland’s glaciers are melting faster and faster. This VR experience brings the story to life as never before. On the heels of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, Greenland Melting provides a rare, up-close view of icy Arctic scenery that’s disappearing faster than predicted. The VR experience was created with high-resolution photogrammetry capturing both interiors and exteriors of nine different locations. The NASA scientists in this story were filmed using 8i technology and added to scenes as 3-D figures.

 

Greenpeace 360

Director: Christophe Bailhache

Duration: 3 min

For more than 45 years, Greenpeace is committed to saving the oceans and all the life in them. The underwater world is stunning as you can see in this virtual reality video. Together we can protect our oceans. Will you join us?

 

Guardians of the Forest                             World Premiere

Directors: Brittany Neff, Benjamin Ross

Duration: 9 min

Guardians of the Forest tells the story of a volunteer environmental monitoring force of the Guajajara tribe in the Brazilian Amazon. The Guardians, led by international indigenous activist Sônia Guajajara, struggle to leverage what few resources they have to monitor and protect their forest from illegal logging. These activists are the last line of defense for the rainforest in the heart of an industrialized Amazon, giving us deeper insight into the roots of the crisis and see the Guajajara vision for the future.

 

HUMANE SOCIETY’S US ANIMAL RESCUE TEAM DISASTER SERIES

Produced by The Humane Society of the United States / Humane Society International

Hurricane Harvey

Duration: 2 min

Join The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team as they rescue animals from the destruction following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Disaster relief efforts included transporting 1,890 animals out of harm’s way, as well as providing eight tons of feed, 1,500 bags of shavings for bedding, and 2,554 bales of hay for cattle.

Black Beauty Ranch
Duration: 1.5 min

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch is a world-renowned animal sanctuary in Murchison, Texas that was founded in 1979 by author and animal advocate Cleveland Amory. Take a virtual tour of this incredible facility, which is now home to nearly 1,000 domestic and exotic animals, many of which have been rescued from near-death situations.

 

IMPACT VR
Director: Isabelle Fournet
Duration: 5 min
The IMPACT VR experience is a portal through which users can visualize their ecological footprint on the planet, based on demographic information entered, consumption data on plastic pollution, deforestation and fossil fuels. When presented with choices for changing behaviors, the impact of the users’ footprint on the environment diminishes, creating a picture of a more sustainable future.

 

Land to Lake – Creating Equilibrium
Conceptual Design – Mia Hanak

Curatorial Development and Creative Design – Isabelle Fournet
Duration: 2.5 min

Land to Lake is an environmental art experience with data-driven storytelling that takes viewers on a journey through the anthropogenic (man-made) impacts on the terrestrial and aquatic ecology of the Lake Tahoe Basin, as well as the solutions required to restore balance. Ethereal narration by an indigenous tribal elder, one of the very last speakers of the ancient and endangered Washoe (Wašiw) language, intertwines with animated data visualizations to create

an emotional connection to the Lake Tahoe region.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VR SERIES

Produced by BLACK DOT FILMS VR for National Geographic Partners

Galapagos
Duration: 3 min

Journey with National Geographic to the remote Galapagos Islands and come face to face with animals found nowhere else on Earth. In this breathtaking VR film, dive beneath the waters of the Galapagos into a feeding frenzy as dozens of sharks and tuna tear into a teeming school of thousands of fish — while seabirds dive into the bait ball from above.

Orangutan School
Duration: 9 min
National Geographic VR takes you inside the International Animal Rescue sanctuary in the forest of Borneo to see what it takes to teach a baby orangutan … to be an orangutan. There, a dedicated team of vets teaches these orphans (some of whom have never even seen a tree) everything they’ll need to know to one day head out on their own, back into the wild.
Climbing Giants

Duration: 4 min

Climb to the top of the biggest trees on Earth. Deep inside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks a team of scientists are studying how these 3,000-year-old trees are reacting to a rapidly changing climate.

Great Hammerhead Shark Encounter

Duration: 3 min
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas and come face to face with a curious great hammerhead shark. One of the most viral VR films of 2016, this film has been seen over 30 million times on Facebook and YouTube.
Glow Worm Caves of New Zealand

Duration: 3 min

Captured with custom-built 360 time-lapse motion control rigs, this 360 VR film plunges viewers deep into the caves of New Zealand, where glowing worms imitate the night sky to attract unsuspecting victims into their deadly webs.

 

Palmyra Atoll 360°                            World Premiere

The Ocean Agency/Seaview 360 Production in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries, US Fish & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy

Director: Christophe Bailhache

Duration: 5 min

Palmyra Atoll is a National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and a Nature Conservancy center for world-class ocean and climate scientific research. Palmyra’s remoteness and high protection status means it is out of sight, out of mind to the majority of the world. By revealing this unique coral reef atoll to the world and in 360°, allowing people to truly experience it, viewers can begin to understand what makes this place so special and worthy of marine conservation and protection.

 

The Planetary Survival Scenario

Developed by the Human Interface Technologies Team, University of Birmingham, UK

This growing series of mixed reality vignettes is designed to show the importance of merging real, physical fidelity with computer-generated fidelity in technology-based training. Approach a planetary drone, which launches and relays aerial images. With the threat of an incoming dust storm, the user’s task is then to locate and seek the shelter of a survival module.

 

Tree

Directors: Milica Zec, Winslow Porter

Duration: 8 min           

This critically acclaimed and haptically enhanced virtual reality experience transforms you into a majestic rain forest tree. With your arms as branches and body as a trunk, you’ll experience the tree’s life from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. In Tree, users experience the cycle of life through the lens of the natural world. To ensure that Tree encourages not just awareness, but action, we’ve partnered with The Rainforest Alliance.

 

Tubbataha

Director: Christophe Bailhache

Duration: 6 min

Dive into one of the most beautiful seas in the world, the Sulu Sea. Join H.A.H Prince Albert II of Monaco during his visit to the remote reefs of Tubbataha in the Philippines for a critical turtle conservation project in collaboration with the Tubbataha Reef National Park.

Wildlife Protection Solutions Endangered Species
Produced by Wildlife Protection Solutions
Duration: 10 min
The Wildlife Protection Solution mission is to use technology to conserve endangered species and ecosystems. Join this team on the front-lines of conservation and get up close with elephants, lions, buffalo, baby rhinos, monkeys and more.