The 24th annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, March 15-26, is the largest and longest-running environmental film festival in the country. This year, over 140 films from 33 countries and over 70 Washington, D.C., U.S. and World premieres all provided fresh perspectives on a wide variety of environmental issues facing our planet. In collaboration with over 100 local, national and global organizations, the films were screened at 52 venues throughout the Washington metropolitan area, including museums, embassies, libraries, universities, and local theaters in all eight wards of the city, and about 70 percent of film screenings were free.
Among these wonderfully selected films were:
“An American Ascent,” co-directed by George Potter and Andy Adkins, and produced by James Mills, George Potter, and Andy Adkins. This award-winning feature documentary film explores the trials of a group of nine climbers, the first African-American climbing team, as they set out to take on the challenge of climbing Denali. Previously known as Mount McKinley, Denali is this continent’s highest peak. The film’s aim seems to be to raise awareness of the wilderness our world offers to minorities that may not have a connection to the wilderness. Filled with breath-taking scenery; as well as a realistic look into the challenges the team faced of weather and very human limits, through interviews with the climbers and their instructors, the film is inspiring.
“Ice and Sky,” directed by Oscar and Caesar award-winning documentary film-maker Luc Jacquet (“March of the Penguins’”) explores and pays tribute to renowned French scientist Claude Lorius. Through countless expeditions and drilling in the Antarctic ice fields with an international team of scientists since the 1950’s, Lorius’s scientific discoveries have changed our world’s understanding of global warming and climate change. The film follows his life through recovered archival footage, interviews, and present day footage of Lorius’s last trip to the Antarctic. Filled with many strong images and awe-inspiring cinematography, the film explains Lorius’s scientific discoveries behind global warming in an educative and relatable way.
“River of Gold,” co-directed by Rueben Aaronson and Sarah DuPont for the Amazon Aid Foundation, and narrated by Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock, the film describes the effects of illegal gold mining in the Amazon on the environment. Ron Haviv and Donovan Webster, two experienced journalists led by Peruvian Enrique Ortiz, embark on a journey into the rain forest to uncover the destruction of the pristine jungle by miners in the pursuit of illegally mined gold with global consequences. Although the Peruvian government has made efforts to intervene, the film documents the consequences of the mining using mercury and other destructive methods which contaminate the water, plants, animals, and the environment as a whole. It is an eye-opening view on how financial need and greed can affect the environment and the people in it.