EarthxFilm announces growth on all fronts including a 65% increase in attendance from the inaugural year
EarthxFilm’s presentation of Filmmaker Awards and $37,000 cash prizes included Chanda Chevannes’s UNFRACTURED awarded the Jury Prize for Best Feature and Eric Liner’s BIRD OF PREY earning the Feature Film Audience Award
Dallas, TX (May 21, 2018) – EarthxFilm, presented by EarthX, reported today on the growth of the environmentally focused film festival in their 2nd year, including a 65% increase in attendance from the first year. The festival wrapped things up on Sunday, April 22, by handing out the first awards ever presented by the fest, including cash prizes totaling $37,000. A portion of the prize funds directly benefited the environmental organizations and efforts that the films themselves explored or profiled. The award-winning films were led by Chanda Chevannes’s UNFRACTURED, which was selected as EarthxFilm’s $5,000 Best Feature Film Jury Prize, and Eric Liner’s BIRD OF PREY, which took home the $3,000 Audience Award for Best Feature Film.
EarthxFilm’s co-Founder/President, Michael Cain, said, “In our second year, we sought to go beyond the presentation of the wonderful films exploring our world to take real action ourselves to create positive change. Putting money in filmmakers’ pockets to help support their work, as well as giving funds to some of the fantastic organizations and people whose work they have highlighted, is about as direct as it gets. Another way we did that was our Strike Out Straws campaign which worked toward eliminating plastic straws from our oceans.”
THE FILMMAKER AWARDS:
In addition to honoring Chevannes’s UNFRACTURED with the Best Feature Film Award, the EarthxFilm jury (comprised of film festival veteran and former Art Prize Executive Director, Christian Gaines, Sundance Film Festival Documentary Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy, and entrepreneur and former Silverdocs co-founder, Amy King), gave a Special Jury Mention to Chris Jordan’s ALBATROSS. Jordan Manley’s THE CURVE OF TIME was the Jury’s choice for the $3,000 Best Short Film, with Ben Knight’s THE LAST HONEY HUNTER given the $2,000 Creative Storytelling Award. Mallory Cunningham’s DITCH THE VAN won the $2,000 Audience Award for Best Short Film.
EarthxFilm also gave out two $2,500 EarthxCatalyst Awards, given to a project still in production that has enormous potential to impact its subject, to Matthew Testa’s THE HUMAN ELEMENT, and Gabrielle Piamonte’s work-in-progress, GROUNDED. The money going to the HUMAN ELEMENT will aid in outreach and assist in funding additional screenings of the film in Texas, with the prize money for GROUNDED going toward completion funds. The two films receiving the $2,500 EarthxFilm Impact Awards, given to people or organizations who are having a real and tangible impact were Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin’s CHASING THE THUNDER benefiting the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society, and Stash Wislocki’s PERMAFROST NOW benefiting the Polaris Project.
EarthxFilm Youth Online Film Competition enjoyed a 300% increase in competitors over the intial competition launched in 2017. 96 entrants competed for $12,000 in prizes distributed in two categories: Students 12-16 years old were challenged to support the EarthX initiative Strike Out Straws; and sponsored by the Oxygen Project, 17-21 year olds explored the crucial relationship between oxygen and phytoplankton. A $2000 Grand Prize Winner was awarded to Charlotte Blank of Prince of Peace Catholic School for the Strike Out Straws competition and Angie Fuentes took home $2750 winning both Grand Prize and Audience Award for her film related to the Oxygen Project. Other awards included an Impact Award, Creative Filmmaker Award and most Online Votes. Local Schools Emmitt J. Conrad and Highland Park High schools won $1500 each for their schools by having the most entrants in a category.
Prior to EarthX in support of the Strike Out Straws Campaign, EarthxFilm screened STRAWS to over 2,500 students across DFW. During the event, in partnership with KD Conservatory, AVSD and the Dallas Art Foundation, EarthxFilm provided multiple filmmaking and green screen workshops where kids learned professional film techniques, became cub reporters and learned how to write and star in their own environmental PSA.
THE FESTIVAL’S GROWTH:
Led by Artistic Director David Holbrooke, the overriding theme of the EarthxFilm’s 2nd edition was growth and returning friends from the environmental activist community. Audience numbers increased 65% from the first year to over 8,500 film goers this year. The enthusiastic audience had more locations throughout Dallas to see those films, with screenings at Fair Park, the Wyly Theatre, the Angelika, the Texas Theatre, Dallas Contemporary, the Dallas Arts District and the Dallas Farmers Market. There was also an exponential increase in VR, augmented, and mixed reality programming which thrilled audiences throughout the festival’s second weekend.
EarthxFilm featured appearances by key people who are at the forefront of environmental issues around the globe, including; Kiribati’s President Anote Tong, attending the screening of Matthieu Rytz’s ANOTE’S ARK; celebrated war photographer Kate Brooks, attending the festival with her directorial debut, THE LAST ANIMALS; the legendary Captain Paul Watson returning with Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin’s CHASING THE THUNDER; photographer James Balog, with director Mathew Testa’s THE HUMAN ELEMENT; Dr. Sylvia Earle, also returning to the film festival for the second year, with MISSION BLUE; and Oscar winning director Louie Psihoyos, producer Gina Papabeis and James Wilks with their film THE GAME CHANGERS.
STUDENTS, MUSIC, AND ANIMALS (IN THE THEATER):
Highlights included documentarian Laura Nix attending numerous screenings of her Sundance hit, INVENTING TOMORROW with Dallas-area students. Ukrainian singer Ruslana performed prior to the Opening Night screening of Louis Psihoyos’s THE GAME CHANGERS. Musician Ben Sollee performed for the audience at a screening of Mallory Cunningham’s DITCH THE VAN, the documentary, that chronicled his unique musical journey across the country. Quinn Costello brought along a live nutria in lieu of directing partner Jeff Springer as part of a special screening of their festival hit, RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE, at the Texas Theatre. Not to be outdone, Windows to the Wild thrilled audiences at the Angelika theatre with a hawk and an owl prior to Eric Liner’s film, BIRDS OF PREY.
VR AND MIXED REALITY CARVE OUT A LARGER SPACE:
The EarthxInteractive Zone gave waitlist audiences the chance to explore remote natural wonders from earth to space, go on wild adventures and get up close with endangered species all in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and Immersive experiences.
Highlights included seven VR world premieres: ANOTE’S ARK VR, PALMYRA ATOLL 360, GUARDIANS OF THE FOREST; NAKURU: AWAKENING; JOURNEYS OF OUR COAST; THE DANCE AND THE VOYAGE; and #ZEROEXTINCTION. Augmented Reality DANCE WITH FLARMINGOS spurred an uptick of flamingo adoptions by allowing viewers to dance with the graceful birds in AR. Audiences were able to meet the real life stars of VR with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residences Mike Libecki and Sylvia Earle both in attendance. GREENLAND MELTING brought viewers up close with NASA scientists to explore disappearing Arctic scenery. Critically acclaimed, TREE, scored another festival hit as viewers felt – and saw first hand what it would be like to grow and live the life of a majestic rain forest tree.
EarthxInteractive kicked off with exciting sponsorships and partnerships with Corgan Media Lab, Dell, Google, HTC Vive, Liquid Galaxy, Samsung, UNVR and Austin Music Video Fest. VR was showcased from nature advocates including Conservation International, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Greenpeace, Humane Society, National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Protection Solutions and more.
2018 EarthxFilm Award Winners
UNFRACTURED – Best Feature Award ($5000 prize)
Director: Chanda Chevannes
ALBATROSS – Special Mention
Director: Chris Jordan
THE CURVE OF TIME – Best Short ($3000 prize)
Director: Jordan Manley
THE LAST HONEY HUNTER – Creative Storytelling Award ($2000 prize)
Director: Ben Knight
GROUNDED – Earth Catalyst Award ($2500 prize)
Director: Gabrielle Piamonte
THE HUMAN ELEMENT – Earth Catalyst Award ($2500 prize)
Director: Matthew Testa
CHASING THE THUNDER – Impact Award ($2500 prize)
Directors: Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin
PERMAFROST NOW – Impact Award ($2500 prize)
Director: Stash Wislocki
BIRD OF PREY – Best Feature ($3000 prize)
Director: Eric Liner
DITCH THE VAN – Best Short Film ($2000 prize)
Director: Mallory Cunningham