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New Date: September 23-27, 2020

Festival

COVID-19 Update:

The 2020 Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival has been rescheduled to September 23–27 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Film tickets and passes already purchased will be honored at the rescheduled September event. We also hope to get back to you soon with a new screening date for Fantastic Fungi. We look forward to sharing all these exceptional films with you in a few months!


Purchase an All-Access Fest Pass and see ALL these great films!


Rescheduled date coming soon!

Festival Preview!
6:30 – 8:30pm — “Special Global Event”

Feature:
FANTASTIC FUNGI
Louie Schwartzberg
USA, 2019, 81 min.
TRAILER

Come see the film that one renowned critic has called: “The most beautifully powerful and intellectually stimulating films of the year and perhaps even the decade.” On March 26th, 2020, Fantastic Fungi Day is bringing the fungi kingdom and all of its inspiration and beauty above ground for a one-of-a-kind immersive consciousness-shifting screening event, screening in 500+ venues across the globe on the same night! Join award-winning Director Louie Schwartzberg, eminent mycologist Paul Stamets, and others as we honor our partner in the world beneath us and begin to bring that which lies below ground … above ground.

CO-PRESENTED BY THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES OF DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Buy tickets to Fantastic Fungi
(Please note that this Preview Film is not included with an All-Access pass.)


Wednesday, September 23


7:00 – 9:00 pm — Opening Night

Shorts:
•  IN YOUR HANDS
•  THE CHOLITO CLIMBERS OF BOLIVIA SCALE MOUNTAINS IN SKIRTS
•  POLARBARRY – LET’S BREAK THE ICE (student)

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
THE RIVER AND THE WALL
Ben Masters
USA, 2019, 97 min.
PA Premiere

Five adventurous friends travel through the wilds of the Texas borderlands, journeying 1,200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes and canoes. They set out to document the potential impacts of a border wall on the natural environment, but as wilderness gives way to the more populated Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters. TRAILER

Buy tickets to Program 1.


Thursday, September 24


4:30 – 6:00 pm — “Regional Shorts”

EUPHORIA
Katalin Egely
Hungary, 2018, 4 min.

Sophisticated and elegant animation on the paradox between man and nature.

ORGANIZE FOR OUR LIVES
Isaak Popkin
USA, 2020 (student), 7 min.

What motivates young people to leave school and strike to call attention to global climate injustice? Through interviews with organizers and documentary coverage of the December 6, 2019, Climate Strike in Philadelphia, this student short sheds light on the answer.

BEYOND THE PHILTH
Marlee Snyder, Renee Cinningham, Christina Karos, Emily Moser, Mengyuan Cao
USA, 2019 (student), 15 min.

This local student short explores the subject of trash in Philadelphia and discovers that the issues are greater than the trash itself.

PARK CHAMPION: NEIGHBORHOOD VOLUNTEERS
USA, 2019, 6 min.

People from across the city come out to help beautify their beloved Fairmount Park

PETTY’S ISLAND:  A JOURNEY BACK TO NATURE
Adin Mickle, Jr.
USA, 2019, 22 min.

A historical look at four centuries that shaped Petty’s Island, located in the Delaware River across from Camden, NJ.. The story is told from the perspective of the island as witness to events which took it from wilderness to various stages of development over the centuries and now is being returned to a natural state.

SHAD RUN
Ben Dorger, Becky Harlan
USA, 2018, 25 min.

The dedicated people who restored American shad to the Potomac River, after years of decline, illustrate what it means to care about your corner of the world. This is a story of place, possibility, and determination.

2077 – SOMEWHERE ON PLANET EARTH
Silvia Zeitlinger
Italy, 2019, 2 min.

Two monkeys in the future philosophize about a species that went extinct.

PROGRAM SPONSORED BY FAIRMOUNT PARK CONSERVANCY

Buy tickets to Program 2.


Thursday, September 24 (continued)


6:30 – 8:30 pm

Shorts:
•  THROAT SINGING IN KANGIRSUK (student)
•  FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE
•  NOT A PET

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
TRIBES ON THE EDGE
Céline Cousteau
USA/Brazil, 2019, 100 min.
PA Premiere

Building on a family legacy of exploration and environmental filmmaking, Céline Cousteau journeys to the Brazilian Amazon at the request of tribal leaders to bear witness to the indigenous communities’ fight for survival. She shares their rarely seen stories of cultural pride and traditional ways of life set against the legacy of colonialism, and documents the ever-present threats to their land and their looming health crises triggered by contact with outsiders. TRAILER

Buy tickets to Program 3.


Friday, September 25


5:00 – 7:00 pm

Shorts:
•  MNI WICONI: WATER IS LIFE
•  INSECT GARDEN – BUTTERFLY PARADISE
•  LAND WITHOUT EVIL

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
HONEYLAND
Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
The Republic of Macedonia, 2019, 87 min.

In the remote mountains of Macedonia, the last female beekeeper tends to her hives using ancient techniques and following the golden rule for sustainable honey cultivation: take half, but leave half for the bees. When an itinerant Turkish family moves in next door, her peaceful existence and nature’s delicate balance is threatened. This stunning film won three awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, including the grand jury prize for documentary in world cinema showcase, and is the first film in history to receive two 2020 Academy Award nominations, for best documentary and best international feature. TRAILER

Pre-screening video message from Director Ljubomir Stefanov

PROGRAM SPONSORED BY CARY SNIDER

Buy tickets to Program 4.


Friday, September 25 (continued)


7:30 – 9:30 pm — “Oceans First”

Shorts:
•  THE EVOLUTION OF THE OCEAN
•  LET’S GO TO ANTARCTICA!

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
SEA OF SHADOWS
Richard Ladkani
Austria, 2019, 104 min.

When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers target the rare and valuable totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, they also decimate the population of the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale. Environmental activists, marine biologists and undercover investigators join forces on a desperate mission to expose this black-market ring and save the vaquita from almost certain extinction in this real-life environmental thriller. Audience award winner at 2019 Sundance Film Festival. TRAILER

PROGRAM SPONSORED BY OCEANFIRST BANK

Buy tickets to Program 5.


Saturday, September 26


10:30 am – 12:30 pm — “Kid’s Planet”

FREE PROGRAM — Reserve your space below

Shorts:
•  CHIRIPAJAS
•  PLASTIC ADDICTION

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
MICROPLASTIC MADNESS
Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen
USA, 2019, 76 min.
PA Premiere

Brooklyn fifth graders take on the roles of citizen scientists, community leaders, and advocates, taking a deep dive into the root causes of plastic pollution. At their school they take action to rid their cafeteria of single-use plastic, leading to city-wide action and a youth-led “plastic-free” movement.  An inspirational and optimistic take on the local and global plastic pollution crisis as told through a refreshing urban youth point of view with a powerful “take action” message. TRAILER

Discussion with Directro Atsuko Quirk and a student from the film, Maggie Dalencour

PROGRAM SPONSORED BY THE PHILADELPHIA ZOO

Buy tickets to Program 6.


Saturday, September 26 (continued)


1:00 – 2:30 pm — “Global Shorts”

BACK TO NATURE
João Pomberio
Portugal, 2018, 8 min.

Trippy musical journey into humankind’s relationship with the natural world with glimpses of a future harmonious utopia.

FERRYMAN AT THE WALL
David Freid
Mexico, USA, 2019, 15 min.

For the past 40 years, the ferryman of Big Bend, TX, has been ferrying tourists across the Rio Grande for a little taste of Mexican life – but now a big border wall might get in the way.

THE CALL OF THE PASHMINA
Taira Malane
India, 2019, 16 min.

A Kashmiri man quits his job and embarks on a journey to become a shepherd. Six years later, he starts the Pashmina Goat Project – an NGO to protect the Changpa community and their goats from the harsh implications of climate change.

ANTARCTIC – LITTLE ANIMAL
Paola de Sousa
France, 2019, 3 min. (student)

Charming animated journey of a seal and a penguin from New Zealand to Antarctica.

KOFI AND LARTEY
Sasha Rainbow
Ghana, US, New Zealand, 2019, 20 min.

The moving story of a man who escaped his village in Ghana, one of the most toxic places in the world with Africa’s largest electronic waste dump, and his fight to try and empower two young boys to do the same.

ELECTRIFYING INDIA
Sam Eatoni
India, 2019, 11 min.

A solar power grid brings opportunity and change to a rural Indian village.

LOWLAND KIDS
Sandra Winther
USA, 2018, 22 min.

As climate change erases the Louisiana coast, the last two teenagers on Isle de Jean Charles fight a losing battle to stay on an island that’s been their family home for generations.

Buy tickets to Program 7.


Saturday, September 26 (continued)


3:00 – 5:00 pm — “Planet Food”

Short:
•  THE WASTED EFFORT

(Read film summary here)

Feature:
MODIFIED
Aube Giroux
Canada, 2018, 87 min.|
PA Premiere

In this visual celebration of food and family, the filmmaker and her mother embark on a personal and poignant investigative journey to find out why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada —  despite being labeled in 64 countries around the world. Through their shared love of food, the extent to which the agribusiness industry controls our food policies is revealed, making a strong case for a more transparent and sustainable food system. This multiple award-winning documentary was praised by world-renowned chef Jacques Pépin and won the 2019 James Beard Broadcast Media Award for best documentary. TRAILER

Discussion with Director Aube Giroux; moderated by Glen Bergman, former CEO of Philabundance

Buy tickets to Program 8.


Saturday, September 26 (continued)


5:30 – 7:30 pm

Shorts:
•  DETROIT HIVES
•  A WALK THROUGH THE LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS (student)

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
MOSSVILLE:  WHEN GREAT TREES FALL
Alexander John Gulstrom
USA, 2019, 75 min.
PA Premiere

Mossville, Louisiana, a community founded by freed slaves, was once a thriving, safe haven. Today it’s a breeding ground for petrochemical plants and their spewing black clouds. Many residents are forced from their homes; those that stay suffer from prolonged exposure to contamination and pollution. Amid this chaos stands one man who refuses to abandon his family’s land and fights for basic human rights in this powerful portrait of resilience. TRAILER

Discussion with Producer Katie Mathews; Moderated by Tigre Hill, a filmmaker known for tackling controversial subjects, including the documentary THE SHAME OF A CITY and panelist Ebony Griffin, an environmental justice attorney with the Public Interest Law Center who advocates for sustainable and equitable neighborhoods.

Buy tickets to Program 9.


Saturday, September 26 (continued)


WXPN Welcomes:
8:00 – 10:00 pm — “Saturday Night Feature”

Shorts:
•  SEE ANIMALS
•  THE GUARDIAN ELEPHANT WARRIORS OF RETETI

(Read film summaries here)

SHORTS SPONSORED BY THE PHILADELPHIA ZOO

Feature:
THE GREAT GREEN WALL
Jared P. Scott
Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Ethiopia, UK, 2019, 90 min.
PA Premiere

The effects of climate change on Africa’s Sahel region are devastating. Yet hope lies in the Great Green Wall — an ambitious reforestation project spanning the entire continent – as a way to fight back against climate change and to restore economies. In this highly entertaining story of resilience and self-determination (executive-produced by Fernando Meirelles, Academy Award-nominee of “City of God”), Malian musician and activist Inna Modja journeys from Senegal to Djibouti gathering stories and sharing songs with those on the frontline of the fight to save their land and their ways of life. TRAILER

Discussion with Director Jared P. Scott

Buy tickets to Program 10.


Sunday, September 27


11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Shorts:
•  ROCKY INTERTIDAL ZONE
•  RACCOON AND THE LIGHT
•  WORDS HAVE POWER

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
THE STORY OF PLASTIC
Deia Schlosberg
Belgium, China, India, Indonesia, Phillipines, USA, 2019, 85 min.
PA Premiere

An important and provocative exposé, this film brings into focus the alarming, human-made crisis of a world overflowing with toxic material. Using striking footage, original animations, and archival material that highlight the disastrous impact of the manufacture and use of plastics, the film sheds new light on this threat to the life and health of animals, humans and civilization of Earth – and the global movement rising up in response. TRAILER

Discussion with Director Deia Schlosberg

Buy tickets to Program 11.


Sunday, September 27 (continued)


1:30 – 3:30 pm

Shorts:
•  GAJAH BORNEO
•  A FISTFUL OF RUBBISH

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
OVERLOAD:  AMERICA’S TOXIC LOVE STORY
Soozie Eastman
USA, 2019, 71 min.
PA Premiere

Before starting a family, Soozie Eastman, daughter of an industrial chemical distributor, embarks on a journey to find out the levels of toxins in her body and explore what might be done to reduce them. She finds out that hundreds of synthetic toxins are now found in every baby born in America, and that government and chemical corporations are doing little to protect citizens. With guidance from world-renowned physicians and environmental leaders, interviews with scientists and politicians, and stories of everyday Americans, Soozie uncovers how we got to be so overloaded with chemicals and if there’s anything we can do to control our exposure. TRAILER

Discussion with Director Soozie Eastman

Buy tickets to Program 12.


Sunday, September 27 (continued)


4:00 – 6:00pm — “Closing Night & Awards”

FREE PROGRAM — Reserve your space below

Shorts:
•  THE EMERGENCY BRAKE (student)
•  RENEWAL: THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST

(Read film summaries here)

Feature:
ICE ON FIRE
Leila Conners
USA, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, UK, 2019, 88 min.

Can we reverse climate change? Ice on Fire explores the many ways we can reduce carbon inputs to the atmosphere and, more important, how to draw carbon down, bringing CO2 out of the atmosphere and thus paving the way for global temperatures to go down. We have heard the predictions, but now climate-related events are a daily reality. Reversing climate change is urgent. Through visionaries and scientists young and old, the film explores the deep hope that we can turn away from the brink. TRAILER

Film award announcements

Buy tickets to Program 13.


Also:
VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES

Tree Huggers — Climb to the top of Portland Oregon’s tallest tree in this immersive 360 experience. TRAILER

as it is — Journey down the mighty Colorado River to see the Grand Canyon from a rare perspective—from the bottom looking up.

VR COURTESY OF 360LABS. PROGRAM SPONSORED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA’S CINEMA & MEDIA STUDIES PROGRAM.


The Student Short Enviro Film Competition is sponsored by Drexel University’s Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships