Sunday, April 25
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital presents two new discoveries, the Washington, D.C. premiere of Living Downstream and a screening of Plastic Bag, in addition to showing four of the most popular films from the 18th annual Festival at a special bonus screening day. Planned in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the films will be shown free of charge on Sunday, April 25 at the Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P St., NW.
NORA! (USA, 2009, 25 min.)
The film, Nora! which premiered during the 2009 Festival, kicks off the bonus day. The film’s star, Nora Pouillon, will appear in person with the film that tells the story of her Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in the country. Directed by Joan Murray.
Discussion with Nora Pouillon follows screening.
SWEET CRUDE (USA, 2009, 93 min.)
Sweet Crude, whose D.C. premiere was during the 2010 Festival, explores the stark contrast between abject poverty and immense wealth in Nigeria’s Niger River Delta, where billions of dollars of crude oil flows under the feet of a desperate people. The environment is destroyed. The issues are complex, the answers elusive. The region is seething and the global stakes are high. But in this moment, there’s an opportunity to find solutions. What if the world paid attention before it was too late? Directed by Sandy Cioffi.
PLASTIC BAG (USA, 2009, 18 min.)
Narrated by Werner Herzog, Plastic Bag is an amusing and insightful film, which traces the epic journey of a plastic bag as it travels to the 500 nautical miles of spinning garbage known as the North Pacific Trash Vortex. Directed by Ramin Bahrani.
THE LEGEND OF PALE MALE (USA, 2009, 85 min.)
The Legend of Pale Male, about a red-tail hawk that takes up residence on a Fifth Ave. co-op and becomes a heroic symbol of nature in New York City. This film, which had its D.C. premiere in the 2010 Festival, was a winner at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The hawk inspires a young man to become a filmmaker and together they set out on a 16-year journey through life, death, birth, hope and redemption. Known as “Pale Male,” the hawk becomes a magnificent obsession and a metaphor for triumph against all odds. His nest becomes an international tourist destination – a place of pilgrimage. Then, without warning, the residents of the building decide to dismantle the bird’s nest. New Yorkers discover just how deep their connection to nature really is and how much they are willing to fight for it. Directed by Frederic Lilien.
GASLAND (USA, 2010, 99 min.)
The 2010 Festival’s opening night film, GasLand, an award-winner from the 2010 Sundance Festival is a personal investigation of the environmental consequences of the current natural gas drilling boom in the United States. It is happening all across America — rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from an energy company wanting to lease their property. Why? The company hopes to tap into a reservoir dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground — a hydraulic drilling process called “fracking”— and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming a natural gas superpower. But what comes out of the ground with that “natural” gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? GasLand is a powerful personal documentary that confronts these questions with strength and a sense of humor. When filmmaker Josh Fox receives a cash offer in the mail to sell his own property for gas extraction, he travels across 32 states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking. He discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. He learns that all water is connected and perhaps some things are more valuable than money. Directed by Josh Fox.
LIVING DOWNSTREAM (USA, 2010, 85 min.)
The D.C. premiere of Living Downstream, an eloquent feature-length documentary examining the connections between cancer and the environment, will close the day. Based on acclaimed book of the same name by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, the film follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. Directed by Chanda Chevannes.