The Environmental Film Festival
From the press release
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, the world’s premier showcase of environmental films and the largest and longest-running festival of its kind in the US, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this March. The 2017 Festival, March 14-26, will focus its lens on a planet in transition, exploring what has happened over the past 25 years and what lies ahead. The Festival will present 180+ films from 32 countries, including 64 Washington, DC, US, and World premieres. Most screenings include discussion with filmmakers, environmental experts, and cultural leaders and many are free.
The Festival kicks off on Opening Night with a 2017 Sundance selection, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney’s Water & Power: A California Heist, exposing the corruption behind California’s water crisis. Closing the Festival, the film Seasons showcases the diverse, wild, and wonderful animal life in Europe’s forests, directed by Oscar-nominated French filmmaker Jacques Perrin, who will receive the Festival’s Polly Krakora Award for Artistry in Film. Oscar-winning director Fisher Stevens’ Before the Flood, spotlighting the climate activism of actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, will receive the Festival’s Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy. Director James Gray’s new film, The Lost City of Z, shown in a special advance screening, is the winner of the William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award. For Kokota: Islet of Hope, a story of resiliency and adaptation on a Tanzanian island, director Craig Norris will receive the Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability.
Festival highlights include special advance screenings of the new Disneynature film, Born in China, with rare footage of three animal families – the panda, the golden monkey, and the snow leopard – and the ground-breaking BBC filmmaking team’s “Planet Earth II”: Cities, exploring how to build cities where people and wildlife can coexist. Through a special Virtual Reality experience, festival-goers can journey to the Amazon and dive into an Indonesian coral reef. Two films presented with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Academy of Sciences, Food Evolution and Spillover: Zika, Ebola, and Beyond, examine the controversy surrounding GMOs and how to contain pandemics.
The connections between environmental and social justice are explored in many Festival films. Flint, a work-in-progress, documents one of the worst mass poisonings in American history. RISE: Sacred Water captures the Standing Rock Sioux’s resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline. Riverblue: Can Fashion Save the Planet? reveals how the fashion industry is polluting rivers around the world that people depend on for survival.
The impact of climate change on Arctic cultures and ecosystems is the subject of the films: Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier, Kivalina, and Ice Edge: Wild Canada. The effects of global warming on earth’s opposite pole are treated in Antarctica: In the Footsteps of the Emperor. The Age of Consequences investigates the implications of climate change for national security and global stability.
Threats to earth’s oceans are investigated in A Plastic Ocean and Smog of the Sea, which show the consequences of our disposable lifestyle, while Vamizi: Cradle of Coral explores efforts to protect an important coral reef in East Africa.
Featured among local films and filmmakers are DC director Robert Nixon’s Sea of Hope, following ocean legend Sylvia Earle and her team as they establish blue parks in the ocean; DC-based filmmaker Ryan Patrick Killackey’s Yasuni Man, about threats to the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador’s Amazon; and Roger Sorkin’s Tidewater, exploring sea level rise in Hampton Roads, Va., a region whose vulnerability most affects national security.
Wildlife films include Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, the story of saving a baby elephant whose mother was killed; Last of the Longnecks, about threats to the African giraffe; Pristine Seas: Wild Galapagos, exploring the rich underwater life in the Galapagos Islands; Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise, tracking the lions of this revitalized preserve in Mozambique; and Sacred Cod, investigating the decline of New England’s cod fishery.
Colombia’s rich wildlife and vast biological diversity are on display in Colombia: Wild Magic, a US premiere. Additional Latin American films include two presented with the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival: Death by a Thousand Cuts, showing the fatal friction between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over charcoal exploitation, and Site of Sites, exploring the intersection of race, class, and environment at a Caribbean resort.
Films examining the connections between energy and the environment include Jamie Redford’s Happening, a work-in-progress capturing the dawn of the clean energy era across the US. Voices from Chernobyl, Luxembourg’s foreign language submission to the Oscars, offers eyewitness reports from the survivors of the nuclear disaster while City 40 visits a contaminated Russian city that is home to the country’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and Return of the Atom portrays the stressful life in a small town in Finland where a new nuclear power plant is under construction.
The World premiere of Behold the Earth explores how science and religion are collaborating to protect the creation. The Colorado pays tribute to the majestic and vital Colorado River. You’ve Been Trumped Too looks at the consequences of Trump’s actions. Havarie spotlights encounters with refugee boats in the Mediterranean. The story of Gertrude Bell, “the female Lawrence of Arabia,” is told in Letters from Baghdad. The cats of Istanbul are profiled in Kedi. Outdoor adventure shorts that travel from the Yukon to French Polynesia are a new Festival feature this year.
Female filmmakers are well represented in the Festival, with 40 women directors of Festival films, including the opening night feature. Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, which served as inspiration for Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade, is shown in a new digital restoration as part of the Women of the Rebellion series at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Presented in collaboration with over 100 local, national, and global organizations, the Festival is the largest film festival in Washington, DC and one of the largest collaborative cultural events in the city. Films are screened at 40 venues throughout the Washington metro area, including museums, embassies, libraries, universities, and local theaters across the city and in nearby Maryland and Virginia. Over 60 percent of screenings are free.
Visit the website for the complete schedule and other information.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
"All About Almodovar" (March 4-April 27) is a comprehensive review of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Titles in March are Pepi Luci Bom, Labyrinth of Passion, Dark Habits, What Have I Done to Deserve This, Law of Desire, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down, High Heels and Kika. More in April.
"The Marx Brothers" (March 24-April 20) is a retrospective of brothers Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo. In March you can see The Cocoanuts, Monkey Business and Animal Crackers with the rest in April.
"Muppet Movies" (March 4-April 23) includes The Muppet Movie (1979), The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Great Muppet Caper, Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird and The Dark Crystal. More in April.
Special engagements are The Wicker Man (1973) and Blade Runner in a Director's Cut.
"2016: A Second Look" (February 20-April 24) reviews some of last year's most distinctive films. Titles in March are Zootopia, Kubo and the Two Strings, Southside With You, Little Men, Laili Blues, The Fits, Krisha, Right Now Wrong Then, Keanu and Green Room. More in April.
"Kirk Douglas Centennial" (March 10-April 23) titles include Champion (1949), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Spartacus (1960), Out of the Past, Ace in the Hole, Detective Story, and A Letter To Three Wives (1949). More in April.
The Capital Irish Film Festival (March 2-5) titles include Born and Raised, Outcasts by Choice, Lift, Sing Street, The Lark's View, Anatomy of a Passion, Bobby Sands: 60 Days, War on Everyone, Atlantic, South, The Young Offenders and two Shorts programs.
The 13th "New African Film Festival" (March 9-19) shows films from the African continent. See below.
The AFI takes part in The Environmental Film Festival with The Lorax (1972) shown with Horton Hears a Who (1970); Kedi, Peter and the Farm, The Beekeeper and His Son, Red Desert (1964) and The Red Turtle.
Freer Gallery of Art
The Freer is closed for renovations until October 2017. Films will be shown at varying locations.
On March 5 at 1:00pm and 3:00pm is Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming (Anne Marie Fleming, 2016). Location: Ripley Center Lecture Hall.
For the Environmental Film Festival are two programs shown at the National Museum of American History: Born in China (Lu Chuan, 2017) on March 19 at 1:00pm and Plastic China (Wang Liu-Liang, 2016) on March 19 at 3:30pm.
Also for the Environmental Film Festival is "Michael Joo: Films and Conversation" on March 18 at 2:00pm, location Sackler sublevel 1.
"A Salute to Toshiro Mifune" is a two-part program: on March 23 at 6:30pm is Mifune The Last Samurai (Steven Okazaki, 2016), a documentary about Mifune's career. Location: Japan Information and Culture Center. On March 25 at 2:00pm is Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961). Location: National Museum of American History.
On March 26 at 3:00pm is I Adore Myself (Takako Matsumoto, 2008), a documentary about the artist Yayoi Kusama. Location: Hirshhorn Museum.
National Gallery of Art
"Alternate Takes: Jazz and Film" (February 3-March 4) is a film series accompanying the Stuart Davis exhibit. On March 3 at noon is Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959; on March 4 at 1:00pm is Jazz on a Summer's Day (Bert Stern and Aram Avakian, 1959); and on March 4 at 3:00pm is The Connection (Shirley Clarke, 1961).
"Il Cinema Ritrovato: From Vault to Screen" is a series of restored and rarely seen film. On March 5 at 4:00pm is The Crucible (Raymond Rouleau, 1957) starring Yves Montand and Simone Signoret; and on March 12 at 4:00pm is Assunta Spina (Gustavo Serena, 1915) preceded by Rapsodia Satanica (Nino Oxilia, 1917) and Inaugurazione di Campanile di San Marco.
Special events include The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957) on March 11 at 2:30pm with an introduction by Peter Rollberg; Ford Ord: A Sense of Place, a compilation of documentary and experimental shorts on March 18 at 2:00pm shown with A Land for War (Enid Baxter Ryce, 2017), a documentary about Ford Ord. Ryce and students will be present for discussion. On March 19 at 4:00pm is Dmitri Shostakovich: Sonata for Viola (Aleksandr Solurov and Semyon Aranovich, 1981); and on March 25 at 3:00pm is Gertrude Bell: Letters from Baghdad (Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbuhl, 2016), intoduced by the filmmakers.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
On March 26 at 3:00pm is I Adore Myself (Takako Matsumoto, 2008), a documentary about the artist Yayoi Kusama.
National Portrait Gallery
On March 16 at 5:00pm is "A Tribute to Rachel Carson," a two-part screening for the Environmental Film Festival. At 5:00pm is Silent Spring (Neil Goodwin, 1993) and at 7:00pm is Rachel Carson (Michelle Ferrari, 2017).
Smithsonian American Art Museum
A series of films about artists starts March 11 at 3:00pm with Beautiful Losers (Aaron Rose, 2008).
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Two programs are shown as part of the Environmental Film Festival. On March 19 at 3:00pm is the Washington premiere of Kivalina (Gina Abatemarco, 2016), about one of the last surviving Arctic cultures, a tribe living on an island disappearing into the ocean. On March 22 at 6:30pm is the Washington premiere of Koneline (Nettie Wild, 2016), an experimental documentary about northwestern British Columbia.
On March 31 at 6:30pm is Measuring the World (Detlev Buck, 2011), about explorers in the early 1800s, Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss. Based on a bestselling book.
As part of the Environmental Film Festival, Havarie (Philip Scheffner, 2016) is shown on March 23 at 7:00pm. Location: New York University, 1307 L Street, NW.
National Air and Space Museum
"Hollywood Goes to War: World War I on the Big Screen" is a series of WWI films commemorating the entry to the US in 1917. Films are shown once a month in both locations and the series ends in November. March 17 at 7:00pm is The Dawn Patrol (Howard Hawks, 1930).
National Geographic Society
Several programs are part of the Environmental Film Festival. On March 20 at 7:00pm is the winner of the Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability Kokota: The Islet of Hope, about a community in East Africa, with filmmaker Craig Norris in attendance. Other short films are included in this program. On March 22 at 7:30pm is Pristine Seas: Wild Galapagos and on March 23 at 7:00pm are winners of the William Warner award.
As part of the Environmental Film Festival, on March 17 at 7:00pm is Galapagos III (Christian Zuber, 1974). On March 21 at 7:00pm is Antarctica: In the Steps of the Emperor (Jerome Bouvier, 2016) with photographer/diver Laurent Ballesta and the filmmaker present for Q&A.
The Japan Information and Culture Center
On March 17 at 6:30pm is the comedy Samurai Hustle (Katsuhide Motoki, 2014).
On March 20 at 6:30pm, as part of the Environmental Film Festival, is the documentary Modern Day Eden: A Japanese Temple Garden (Chikara Ujiie, 2010).
The Textile Museum at GWU
On March 27 at noon is a lecture "Hollywood Representations of the National Capital from Jefferson Smith to Selena Meyer" by Michael Cornfield, associate professor at GW’s Graduate School of Political Management.
On March 22 at 7:00pm, as part of the Environmental Film Festival, is Following Seas (2016) about the sailing adventures of Bob Griffith and Nancy Hirsch. Filmmakers Tyler J. Kelley and Araby Kelley will discuss the film after the screening.
"Cinema Arts Bethesda" is a monthly Sunday morning film discussion series. On March 19 at 10:00am is A War (Tobias Lindholm, 2015) from Denmark. Breakfast is at 9:30am, the film is at 10:00am and discussion follows, moderated by Adam Spector, host of the DC Film Society's Cinema Lounge and author of the column "Adam's Rib."
On March 1 at 8:00pm is "Deconstructing the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper," part of the "Programmer's Choice" series, a filmed lecture.
The "Films in Focus" event for March is The Struggle for Life (Antonin Peretjako, 2016) on March 8 at 8:00pm. The filmmaker will be present for Q&A.
On March 15 at 8:00pm is Max and Leon (Jonathan Barre, 2016), a WWII comedy, part of the "French Cinematheque" series.
The "Reel Israel" film this month is The Dove Flyer (Nissim Dayan, 2013), a story about the Jewish community in Iraq, on March 22 at 8:00pm.
On March 29 at 8:00pm is Andrzej Wajda's last film Afterimage, a biopic about avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski, part of the "Cine Polska" series.
Italian Cultural Institute
On March 1 at 6:30pm is The Penguin's Move (Claudio Amendola, 2014). On March 15 at 6:30pm is Stay Away From Me (Alessio Maria Federici, 2013).
Library of Congress
The Mary Pickford Theater at the Library of Congress starts a new series of films showcasing the Library's collection and including newly preserved films. The theme for March is "The Great War." On March 9 at 7:00pm is Zeppelin (Etienne Perier, 1971) starring Michael York and Elke Sommer and on March 23 at 7:00pm is The Fighting 69th (William Keighley, 1940) starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien.
On March 9 at noon is Night of Fools (Rami Kimchi), about Algeria's mostly Jewish underground movement during WWII with the filmmaker present to discuss the film.
Anacostia Community Museum
On March 10 at 11:00am is Celia the Queen (2008), a documentary about the Cuban singer Celia Cruz. A Q&A follows the film.
On March 24 at 2:00pm is Risers (2012), a documentary about undocumented immigrants.
Embassy of Austria
On March 15 at 7:30pm is One of Us about a farmer Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943) who was a conscientious objector during WWII. The film's director Lothar Riedl and author Peter Schierl will be present for discussion.
Reel Affirmations XTra
On March 24 at 7:00pm is a restored 20th anniversary edition of Watermelon Women with filmmaker Cheryl Dunye present to discuss the film.
On March 15 at 7:00pm is Heartbeats (Xavier Dolan, 2010).