20th Annual Environmental Film Festival

Welcome to the 20th Annual Environmental Film Festival!

This year the Environmental Film Festival celebrates a major milestone: 20 years of advancing environmental understanding through the power of film. As the first film festival devoted to the full range of environmental topics, the Environmental Film Festival was a novel idea when Flo Stone founded it in 1993. While 1,200 people attended the inaugural Festival, today 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 20th anniversary Festival, our largest and most ambitious yet, presents 180 engaging and thought-provoking films, including 93 Washington, D.C., United States and World premieres, from 42 countries. A centerpiece of our 20th anniversary year is a retrospective of the work of Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker, who will screen her latest film, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, and receive the Festival’s Polly Krakora Award for artistry in film.

Another highlight is an appearance by iconic filmmaker Ken Burns, who will present a sneak preview of his new documentary, The Dust Bowl. The Festival kicks off opening night with Switch, a film about transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. The Festival closes with a selection fresh from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet, capturing the history of the environmental movement in the United States.

Growing awareness of the critical role that the environment plays in human health has inspired the theme of the 20th anniversary. The water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe are all essential to human life. The effects of toxins and pollutants on the human life support system can be disastrous to our health. Our films address the complex relationship between health and the environment with the warning that whatever we do to the environment we do to ourselves.

What happens when this warning is ignored is shown in the film, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, exposing the U.S. Marine Corps’ cover-up of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C. that resulted in a record number of cancer cases. The overriding importance of water to life on earth is highlighted in Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu’s Last Call at the Oasis, identifying the global water crisis as the central issue facing our world in this century. Ideas for equitably sharing the scarce water of the Colorado River are offered in James Redford’s Watershed, a World premiere, introduced by his father, Robert Redford.

The connections between food and health are explored in the film, In Organic We Trust, which takes a first-hand look at the organic food industry. Filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia presents the World premiere of Symphony of the Soil, examining the key role of healthy soil in creating nutritious food. Additional heath-related films highlight the aftermath of the BP oil spill, the dangers of nuclear power, the impact of the built environment and the effects of climate change.

We hope that you will join us this March to celebrate our special anniversary and to salute the Festival’s influence as a catalyst for environmental change as we recognize the vital role of film in inspiring wise stewardship of our planet.

The 2012 Festival is dedicated to the memory of Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)
and Jean Wallace Douglas (1920-2011).

Mission Statement

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital seeks to advance public understanding of the environment through the power of film.

Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

Founded in 1993, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C. Each March the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films, including many Washington, D.C., U.S. and World premieres. Documentaries, narratives, animations and shorts are shown, as well as archival, experimental and children’s films at venues throughout the city. Films are screened at partnering museums, embassies, libraries, universities and local theaters and are attended by large audiences. Selected to provide fresh perspectives on global environmental issues, most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public. The Festival’s Web site serves as a global resource for environmental film throughout the year.


Peter O’Brien, Executive Director,

Peter works on multiple aspects of the Festival, including film review and selection, program organization, and fundraising and development. His professional experience prior to EFF includes work as a production assistant for a documentary filmmaker, and project management for a non-profit dealing with urban affordable housing. Peter holds an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in English from Harvard.

Christopher Head, Managing Director,

Christopher works on all aspects of programming for the Festival, including researching, screening and selecting films and working with filmmakers, venues, and other collaborating partners to produce a successful Festival. He maintains all the Festival’s bookkeeping and helps with general office management. He graduated from American University with a B.A. in Film & Media Arts.

Helen Strong, Public Affairs Director,

Helen is a public relations consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. For the past ten years she has worked as a publicist for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. From 1984 to 1990 she wrote and consulted for the World Wildlife Fund and prior to that she served as Public Relations Officer for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program from 1976 to 1982. Helen holds an M.S. degree from Boston University’s School of Public Communications and a B.A. from Smith College.

Georgina Owen, Associate Director,

Georgina has worked with the Festival program since 1995, selecting films, editing the printed schedule and contacting participating organizations to plan and develop their programs. A life-long Washingtonian, she has worked in the arts and antiques business and has been actively involved with community organizations including Jubilee Jobs and the Georgetown Ministry Center. She also operates a clothing and accessory design business.

E. William Stetson III, Director of External Affairs,

Bill Stetson, Director of External Affairs, is a film producer, as well as an environmental and political adviser. His 2002 AIDS documentary, A Closer Walk, aired on PBS in both 2003 and 2006. Bill has advised several regional film festivals, including White River Indie Films in Vermont. In 1996, he establishing the Vermont Film Commission, for which he served as founding president and still advises. Last April, he was appointed by the White House as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA). Bill has served on several media and environmental boards, including the founding board of the Center for the Environment at Harvard University, where he received a bachelor’s degree and subsequently studied at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Kaitlin Whitman, Program Associate,

Kaitln works on all aspects of programming for the Festival, including researching, screening and selecting films, and working with filmmakers, venues and other collaborating partners to produce a successful Festival. She creates all print and web advertisements, manages the Festival’s social media accounts and assists with updating content on the website. Kaitlin also manages printed program distribution and maintains the Festival’s donor and mailing databases. She graduated from American University in 2009 with a B.A. in Visual Media.

Maribel Guevara, Program Associate,

Maribel joined the Festival in 2005. She works on all aspects of programming for the Festival, including researching, screening and selecting films, working with filmmakers with an special focus on children and Latin American films. Maribel works very closely with D.C. public and charter schools to bring students to various programs. She also reaches out to the Hispanic media and community. Maribel helps with the arrangements for the visiting filmmakers and special guests. She studied Tourism in her native Ecuador.

Alayna Buckner, Development Co-Manager,

Owen Davies, Development Co-Manager,

Owen’s work with the Festival focuses on fundraising, development, programming and managing the Festival’s partnership with the online distributor SnagFilms. He joined the EFF in 2009 after working for a number of years in public affairs television and documentary film. Owen’s production experience includes the Bill Moyers documentary Capitol Crimes (2006), the award-winning film Torturing Democracy (2008), and a nationally broadcast Sunday morning political talk show.

Flo Stone, President & Founder,

Flo Stone is President & Founder of the annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, which she started in 1993. Previously she worked on public programming for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for 15 years. There she initiated the Margaret Mead Film Festival and served as its Co-Chair from 1977-84. She directed West Side Day, an annual community festival at the Museum from 1970-1976. In 1986, Flo was Film Chair for the Smithsonian’s National Forum on Biodiversity and that same year she established the Earthwatch Film Awards for documentaries, presented annually at National Geographic through 2009.

Flo authored filmographies for the US Festival of Indonesia (1990) and the Ocean Planet exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History (1995). She has served on film juries in Washington DC, as well as in Missoula, Montana and Telluride, Colorado. Internationally, she has been on juries at the Green Festival in Korea, FICA in Brazil, Cinemambiente in Italy, and CineEco in Portugal and the SunChild International Environmental Festival in Armenia. She has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the Margaret Mead Film Festival since 1992, was an evaluator for Art on Film 1995-98, and chaired juries for American Film & Video Festival 1986-1992. She is a graduate of Vassar College and has a Certificate in Arts Administration from Harvard.

Board of Directors

  • Caroline Gabel,Chair
  • Gary Rahl, Vice Chair
  • Susan Vitka, Vice Chair
  • Dan M. Martin,Treasurer
  • Anita Herrick, Secretary
  • Flo Stone, President & Founder
  • Bruce D. Brown
  • Adriana Casas
  • Marion Guggenheim
  • Annie Kaempfer
  • John Lewis
  • Josie Merck
  • Dane Nichols
  • Nora Pouillon
  • Roger D. Stone
  • Diane Straus Tucker
  • Max Williamson
  • Catherine Wyler
  • Charles Lord, Chair Emeritus
  • Joan D. Murray, Trustee Emerita

Advisory Committee

  • Nelse Greenway, Chair
  • Katie Carpenter
  • Celia Crawford
  • Harriett Crosby
  • Alice Day
  • Lincoln Day
  • Anne Emmet
  • Mark Epstein
  • Grace Guggenheim
  • Amy King
  • Gay Lord
  • Mary McCracken
  • Tim McEnery
  • Greg McGruder
  • Helen McNeill
  • Sally Meadows
  • Liz Bernstein Norton
  • Chris Palmer
  • Peggy Parsons
  • Susan Rappaport
  • Deborah Rothberg
  • Edith Schafer
  • Ev Shorey
  • Joan Shorey
  • Georgiana Warner
  • Cristy West
  • Terry Williams

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