Shorts Program

CLEAN?COAL (USA, 2009, 4 min.) In this animated short, a lump of “clean” coal goes to Capitol Hill to seek millions of dollars in funding. Congress greets his request with skepticism: can a fuel with such a dirty past be sincerely clean? Coal responds with a series of green gestures – picking up litter, recycling waste, hugging trees – in a spirited performance of Bye Bye Birdie’s “Honestly Sincere.” But the greenwash turns into an eco-nightmare, as pollution and disease follow in coal’s wake. Directed by Joan Murray. Written by Joan Murray and Dan Gallagher. Animated by Jake Aloe Dean.

POLARIS (USA, 2009, 10 min.) “Are you crazy?” is the most common question you’ll get as a participant in the Polaris Project or “Why would anyone want to go to the Siberian Arctic?” The answers will vary, but most will include a description of the Arctic’s tremendous importance to earth’s climate system, a desire to understand how global warming is already impacting the region, an excitement about the diverse and fascinating cultures you’ll be exposed to in Siberia. This short film introduces several of the Polaris Project participants and documents aspects of the field experience in the Siberian Arctic dealing with permafrost, rivers, lakes, streams and bugs. Produced by Chris Linder, Bob Sacha and Maisie Crow.

CORDÃO VERDE (GREEN BELT) (Portugal, 2009, 33 min.) Shown as part of the Food & Agriculture Film Series Washington, D.C. Premiere The continuous belt of low, steep hills that connect the western Portuguese shore of Alentejo to the Guadiana basin, between the Odemira, Monchique and Caldeirão mountainous ridges, is both the meeting place and a balance point between humans and cultural landscape. In this territory, so rich in natural beauty and rare resources, the community’s traditional way of life is in harmony with environmental values and biodiversity. Capturing farmers in this green belt of Portugal as they work and rejoice in the land’s riches, this part-poem and part-documentary is the work of two first-time filmmakers. Cordão Verde is a poem of image and sound about Man and Nature (—Locarno Film Festival). Directed by Hiroatsu Suzuki and Rossana Torres. Produced by Rossana Torres. Official Selection, 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

FRÉDÉRIC BACK: NATURE ABOVE ALL (Canada, 2009, 25 min.) United States Premiere One of Canada’s cinematic masters, animator, artist and environmentalist Frédéric Back won two Academy Awards for his animated films, The Man Who Planted Trees and Crac! This touching new documentary of his life balances his devotion to his wife of 60 years with the essence of his art practice and continued passion for the environmental vision that has made him an Officer of the Order of Canada. His commitment to Foundation Fauna, in protest of animal testing, and encouragement of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to adopt a beluga whale named Antares extend the reach of his activism beyond the silver screen. This man who holds nature above all else in the world has a vision for humanity as rich and layered as his films (—Planet in Focus). Directed by Phil Comeau.

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