2014 Films A-Z
Sarah Dupont/2012/53 min/Health & Environment
Narrated by Academy Award winners Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock, Amazon Gold is the disturbing account of a clandestine journey into the Amazon rainforest. Ron Haviv and Donovan Webster, two war journalists led by a Peruvian biologist uncover the savage unraveling of pristine rainforest. They bear witness to the apocalyptic destruction in the pursuit of illegally mined gold with consequences on a global scale. An animated Agouti springs to life to tell the story of his ecosystem. Left in the wake of surreal images of once extraordinary beauty turned into hellish wasteland, Amazon Gold reaffirms the right of the rainforest to exist as a repository of priceless biodiversity.
Gabriela Cowperthwaite/2013/90 minutes/Wildlife
Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus-beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who-unlike any orca in the wild-has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong?
Dave Danesh, Sean Donnelly, and Kate Kressmann-Kehoe/2013/67 min/ Health & Environment
Comfort Zone brings the global issue of climate change to a local and personal level. It’s the story of what happens when we try to translate this global problem to our individual lives. What is at stake? What can I do about it? What if dealing with this problem asks things of me that I’m not yet ready to give? The climate is already changing. Now what about us?
Kelly Nyles and Jared P. Scott/2013/44 min/ Carbon
It’s simple math: we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Burning the fossil fuel that corporations now have in their reserves would result in emitting 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide – five times the safe amount.
Jeremy Seifer/2013/90 min/Economy
GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back?
John D. Liu/2012/48 min/Health & Environment
Environmental filmmaker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits to people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally. This documentary is not just a tale of hope, it’s evidence of hope – it’s proof that we do not need to give in to apathy and despair. Instead, we see we have the simple solutions right in front of us.
Dan Susman/2013/60 min/Food & Agriculture
In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time. Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.
Stuart Sender/April 2012/90 min/Health & Environment
Based on his book and narrated by HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales, HARMONY captures on film in a way we’ve never seen before, an authentic leader on critical global issues. For the better part of three decades, The Prince of Wales has worked side by side with a surprising and dynamic array of environmental activists, business leaders, artists, architects and government leaders. They are working to transform the world, address the global environmental crisis and find ways toward a more sustainable, spiritual and harmonious relationship with the planet.
Carey Lundin/2013/55 min/ Health & Environment
This award winning documentary portrays how Danish-born Jens Jensen (1860 – 1951) rose from street sweeper, to ‘dean of landscape architecture’, to pioneering conservationist in troubled, early Chicago. At great risk to his family, he battles corruption and unbridled industrial expansion to bring ‘the living green’ into the wretched lives of Chicago’s workers. Jensen leverages relationships with Frank Lloyd Wright, Julius Rosenwald, and Henry Fordto create a conservation fervor that stopped the steel mills from industrializing an entire Indiana shoreline.
Uli H. Streckerbach/ 2012/ 6 min/ Food & Agriculture
This animated film tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.
Oliver Jeffers/ 2008/ 24 min/ Wildlife
A magical tale of friendship and loneliness, Lost and Found tells the story of a little boy who finds a penguin on the doorstep of his house one morning. Although at first he is unsure about what to do, the boy becomes determined to help the penguin find his way back home, even if that means rowing a small boat all the way to the South Pole!
Markus Imhoof/ 2013/ 95 min/ Food & Agriculture
Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return.
Maxine Trump/2012/80 min/ Health & Environment
Musicwood is an adventure-filled journey, a political thriller with music at its heart. An unusual band of the most famous guitar-makers in the world (Bob Taylor of Taylor guitars, Chris Martin of Martin Guitars and Dave Berryman of Gibson Guitars) travel together into the heart of one of the most primeval rainforests on the planet. Their mission: to negotiate with Native American loggers and change the way this forest is logged before it’s too late for acoustic guitars.
Brandi Fullwood/2013/6 minutes/ Food & Agriculture
Miya’s Sushi is a short film that showcases the use of invasive species in sushi, focusing on how the culinary arts impact environmental conscious.
Angela Sun/2013/82 min/ Waste/ Water
Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet its become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers whom shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.
Rob Stewart/2012/85 min/ Health & Environment
Revolution is a film about changing the world. The true-life adventure of Rob Stewart, this follow-up to his acclaimed Sharkwater documentary continues his remarkable journey; one that will take him through 15 countries over four years, and where he’ll discover that it’s not only sharks that are in grave danger – it’s humanity itself. In an effort to uncover the truth and find the secret to saving the ecosystems we depend on for survival, Stewart embarks on a life-threatening adventure.
Ian MacKenzie /2012/12 min/ Economy
Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme – but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.
Irene Taylor Brodsky/2011/40 min/ Wildlife
Nearly 9,000 birds were found in the oily waters of the Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. One of them was a young pelican coated by oil near his nest in Louisiana. Saving Pelican 895 is the story of the 895th bird to be rescued and rehabilitated by a dedicated team of wildlife experts and every day people, many of whom travel the world responding to oil disasters. The tale of a single animal and the compassionate people deployed to save him, Saving Pelican 895 shows how the process of saving one life restored a degree of humanity for the rest of us.
Mark Hall/2012/75 min/ Food & Agriculture
ushi, a cuisine formerly found only in Japan, has grown exponentially in other nations, and an industry has been created to support it. In a rush to please a hungry public, the expensive delicacy has become common and affordable, appearing in restaurants, supermarkets and even fast food trailers. The traditions requiring 7 years of apprenticeship in Japan have given way to quick training and mass-manufactured solutions elsewhere. This hunger for sushi has led to the depletion of apex predators in the ocean, including bluefin tuna, to such a degree that it has the potential to upset the ecological balance of the world’s oceans, leading to a collapse of all fish species.
Helena Norberg-Hodge and Steven Gorelick/2011/69 min/ Economy
Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet, life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work. The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions.
Peter Young/2013/84 min/ Water
The Ross Sea Antarctica is the most pristine stretch of ocean on Earth. Scientists describe it as our last ‘living laboratory’, a place that can teach us about the workings of all marine ecosystems. But the fishing industry recently found its way to the Ross Sea, targeting Antarctic toothfish and unless stopped, the natural balance of this unique ecosystem will be lost forever. The Last Ocean tells the story of the race to protect Earth’s last untouched ocean from our insatiable appetite for fish, and raises the simple ethical question: do we fish the last ocean or do we protect it?
Will Parrinello/ 2013/ 28 min/ Health & Environment
Robert Redford narrates this multiple Emmy Award-winning series featuring inspiring portraits of passionate and dedicated activists. These are true environmental heroes who have placed themselves squarely in harm’s way to battle intimidating adversaries while building strong grassroots support. The New Environmentalists share a common goal – safeguarding the Earth’s natural resources from exploitation and pollution, while fighting for environmental justice in their communities.
Jill Cloutier/ 2013/ 28 min/ Climate Control
A powerful solution to the climate crisis can be found right beneath our feet—in the soil. By harnessing the immense power of photosynthesis, we can convert atmospheric carbon, a problem, into soil carbon, a solution. Emerging science proves that shifting to regenerative forms of agriculture such as agroecology, agroforestry, cover-cropping, holistic grazing and permaculture will allow us to store excess carbon safely in the ground.
Louis Fox/ 2013/ 9 min/ Economy
The Story of Solutions, released in October 2013, explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal. In the current ‘Game of More’, we’re told to cheer a growing economy – more roads, more malls, more Stuff! – even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn’t more, but better – better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn’t that be what winning means?
Merete Mueller/ 2013/ 120 min/ Architecture
TINY is a documentary about home, and how we find it. The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space. Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.
James Redford and Kirby Walker/ 2013/ 91 min/ Health & Environment
TOXIC HOT SEAT tells the story of a growing tide of activists, journalists and citizen groups who are bringing an end to the era of manipulation and misinformation about hidden toxic chemicals. The film shows the struggle to remove toxic flame retardant chemicals from our couches, environment and bodies. These chemicals are linked to lower IQ in children, thyroid disease, infertility, cancer and other rising rates of health problems. They are found in every living being on earth.
Candida Brady/ 2012/ 98 min/ Waste
In the new docu-feature TRASHED, a Blenheim Films production, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady (Madam and the Dying Swan), which was selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival, Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. This is a meticulous, brave investigative journey that takes Irons (and us) from scepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope. Brady’s narrative is vividly propelled by an original score created by Academy Award winning composer Vangelis.
Mark MacInnis/ 2011/ 94 min/ Food & Agriculture
URBAN ROOTS is a documentary that tells the story of the spontaneous emergence of urban farming in the city of Detroit. Detroit, once an industrial powerhouse of a lost American era, is a city devastated by the loss of half its population due to the collapse of manufacturing. By the looks of it, the city has died. But now, against all odds, in the empty lots, in the old factory yards, and in-between the sad, sagging blocks of company housing, seeds of change are taking root.
Richard Hoffman/ 2013/ 38 min/ Food & Agriculture
FILM INFORMATION: Watermelon Magic is like no other film. It’s a sweet combination of story and science and the first big screen film devoted one of our most basic human needs: healthy food. International audiences will delight in this nearly wordless burst of color and music. Weaving together documentary and narrative elements, Watermelon Magic chronicles a season on the family farm, as young Sylvie grows a patch of watermelons to sell at market. How will she let her babies go?