The 2013 Environmental Film Festival will showcase 190 films, at 75 venues across the city — including many venues right here in Borderstan, such as the Embassies of Australia and Argentina, the Carnegie Institution for Science, the new New York University building and the National Geographic Society. Many of the screenings are free and most include a discussion with the filmmaker.
This year, rivers and watersheds have the spotlight, though the films cover a wide variety of eco-friendly topics, in a variety of formats from a “duckmentary” about, you guessed it, ducks, to a short film about a community garden in Soweto, animated stories on constructions sites and invasive species and even feature films with big name Hollywood superstars.
Here are some of the films I am looking forward to seeing during the festival.
- Meerkats 3D, noon, 1, 2 and 3 pm, March 16, $7 tickets available at National Geographic Society. I mean, it’s meerkats in 3D, what more can I say? The film is 42 minutes long, so it sounds like a great film to bring the kids.
- The Anacostia River & Riverside Stories, 1:45 to 3 pm, March 17, National Museum of American History, free, no reservations required. This series of six short films (we’re talking 5 to 10 minute long here) focuses on the Anacostia River, as you probably guessed. One of the short introduces audiences to Gabe Horchler, a librarian who boats to work everyday… interesting mode of transportation right?
- Now, Forager, 7:15 pm, March 17, $11.50 at box office at the AFI Silver Theater. This film de-romanticizes the foodie movement by following a New Jersey husband and wife mushrooms forager team struggling to make ends meet. Ann Yonkers co-executive director of FRESHFARM Markets will introduce the film.
- Nothing Like Chocolate, 6:30 pm, March 18, Howard University’s Digital Auditorium in Blackburn Student Center, free, no reservations required. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, Nothing Like Chocolate tells the compelling story of Mott Green, founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company Cooperative as he pursue his vision of creating a great tasting, ethical artisanal chocolate. In short, politics meets chocolate.
- Potomac: The River Runs Through Us, 6:30 pm, March 18, Sidwell Friends School, free, no reservations required. This 27-minute film brings awareness to the Potomac, that seemingly dirty river Washingtonians cross and drink on a regular basis. It is followed by a screening of another film, Chattahoochee: from Water War to Water Vision and a panel discussion with the filmmakers and Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers and Hedrick Belin, president of The Potomac Conservancy.
- A Thirsty World, 7 pm, March 20, $5 tickets at the Embassy of France. First of all, the screening of this FRENCH film takes place at my favorite embassy… but most importantly, the film was directed by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand of “Earth from Above” fame. Filmed in 20 different countries, it’s about water and promises to be visually stunning.
- Bottled Life, 6 pm, March 21, University of the District of Columbia, Building 41 room A-03, free, no reservations required. Another film about water, this one just sounds really interesting, documenting the booming business of bottled water by focusing on Swiss brand Nestle. I just found out while looking up the film, that Nestle makes both Perrier and San Pellegrino. Who knew?
- Harmony, 7:15 pm, March 21. Free with RSVP at theCarnegie Institution for Science. The big star of the film (that would be HRH Prince Charles) is not making the trip to DC, unfortunately, but filmmakers Stuart Sender and Julie Bergman Senders are… they’ll discuss their movie, which provides a new and inspiring perspective on how the world can meet the challenges of climate change globally, locally and personally.
- Otter 501, 10:30 am, March 23, $7.75, call 202-966-3464 to reserve tickets at the Avalon Theater. Other than Meerkats in 3D, can you think of anything cuter than an otter? The answer is actually yes. Two otters. One is an orphaned baby otter. The other is her “adoptive” otter-mom. Both leading busy life raising the cuteness level at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- To the Wonder, 8:15 pm, March 23, $11.50 at box office at the AFI Silver Theater. Not only does this romantic drama by Terrence Malick feature Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, but it also starts in Paris… bonus points! Why is it showing at the Environmental Film Festival? Ben Affleck plays an environmental inspector. Good enough reason for me.
- The Fruit Hunters, 6:30 pm, March 24, free, RSVP required, at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Turns out Bill Pullman really, really likes fruits. I do too! Plus, the film also has a Paris connection… having just won the Grand Prix at the 30th edition of the Festival International du Film de l’Environnement last month.
From Mary Burgan. You can email me at mary[AT]borderstan.com
The Annual Environmental Film Festival has come to DC for the 20th year since 1993. According to the organizers, “… the Festival has expanded to become the nation’s largest showcase of environmental film, attracting an audience of over 30,000. Beyond Washington, D.C., the Festival has launched a movement, serving as a model for environmental film festivals across the country and around the world.”
The festival began on Monday and runs through March 25 — more than 120 films, some “professional” and some first-time efforts, will be featured. They will be screened in venues in and around Dupont — at the Carnegie Institution for Science (16th and P NW) and the National Geographic Society (17th and M NW), and downtown at the Martin Luther King Library. See the festival website for movie summaries and titles, times, and places.
Like other festivals, the Environmental Film Festival offers a rich menu of important films, but the scheduling is such that you must have your evenings free for the ones you really want to see. For example, You’ve Been Trumped about Donald Trump’s drive to put his projects in sacrosanct places such as the dunes of Aberdeen, Scotland (not to mention the Old Post Office Building in DC) has only one showing on Tuesday, March 13, at the E Street Cinema. If you can’t go on that date, you’ll miss the show.
So here’s a plea for alternate showings of important festival films, especially ones that are unlikely ever to appear in local theaters.