EarthxFilm 2021 announces film lineup for 5thedition  (April 16-25)

 

Environmentally-focused film festival doubles up on daily in-person and virtual screening presentations including Opening and Closing Night selections of Sally Aitken’s PLAYING WITH SHARKS and World Premiere of Clark Johnson’s PERCY VS GOLIATH.  

 

PLAYING WITH SHARKS & PERCY VS GOLIATH

DALLAS, TX (March 22, 2021) – EarthxFilm announces ten days and nights of drive-in, outdoor and online screenings during this year’s hybrid edition of the Dallas-based environmental film festival. The Festival continues its mission to showcase films and emerging media that explore science, conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. EarthxFilm aims to turn awareness into action through education, art, and media.

 

Opening Night for EarthxFilm will be highlighted with a drive-in presentation of Sally Aitken’s Sundance favorite Playing with Sharksabout the charismatic and groundbreaking diver Valerie Taylor, while Closing Night will feature a special presentation of Clark Johnson’s Percy Vs. Goliath, starring Christopher Walken, Adam Beach, Christina Ricci, and Zach Braff. Executive Produced by NBA champion Dwight Howard, this true-life story tells of a farmer taking on a multi-national corporation over the impact of GMOs on his livelihood. Additional film highlights will include an evening of Texas-focused films featuring EarthxFilm alum Ben Masters’ American Ocelot and Nicol Ragland’s Trans Pecos.

 

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH

LIBERATION FRONT

 

“Over the course of the past year, EarthxFilm has worked to adapt and innovate the way we present environmental stories and messages to the world,” said Michael Cain, Co-Founder and President of EarthxFilm. “With over 12 million views since EarthxTV’s launch in September, we have seen great success with our online presentations, and we are excited to safely share these inspiring films with audiences in a public space once again.”

 

David Holbrooke, EarthxFilm Artistic Director, adds, “While environmental issues have been less in focus because of the relentless news cycle of the last year, we know at EarthX that these challenges are no less urgent. That is why we are so grateful to our many daring filmmakers and planetary heroes who have continued their work to bring us essential stories that will inspire our audience into action.

 

The 2021 EarthxFilm festival actively supports filmmakers through the payment of screenings fees and facilitating audience donations to their causes. In addition, cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be awarded to filmmakers and through impact grants to environmental organizations showcased in the films.

 

A highlight of this year’s edition is Christi Cooper’s Youth V Gov. The story of a groundbreaking lawsuit filed by America’s youth against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis. The film was supported throughout its production by EarthX via a filmmaker residency and financing assistance.

 

 

YOUTH V GOV, 2040, OKAVANGO: RIVER OF DREAMS

 

Additional highlights include the award-winning film 2040Damon Gameau’s visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, a vision board of how environmental solutions could regenerate the world for future generations; David Abel’s Entangled, about how climate change has accelerated a collision between the nation’s most valuable fishery, and a federal agency mandated to protect both; and Beverly & Dereck Joubert’s Okavango: River of Dreams, a film about the Okavango River in Botswana, seeing the animals and people that use her, as well as those who are victim to the changes, brought about by her.

 

Among this year’s lineup are two Texas-themed films screening back-to-back, Ben Masters’ American Ocelot, about the endangered wild cats, and Nicol Ragland’s Trans Pecos, which looks at the issues of land and water rights in far west Texas. A group of animal-focused, family-friendly short films will include Ami Vitale and David Allen’s Shaba, about an elephant sanctuary in northern Kenya; Richard Reens’ Pant Hoot, about a genocide survivor transcending overwhelming odds to become a master chimpanzee linguist; Kaitlyn Schwalje’s Snowy, a whimsical look at a pet turtle’s happiness; and Dominic Gill’s The Linesman: Both Sides Matter, which is the story of one man’s mission to end the human-elephant conflict in Myanmar.

Announcements will follow with news regarding panels, music presentations, youth films, EarthXR and more. For more information please go to: www.earthxfilm.org.

 

 

 

EarthxFilm 2021 Film Lineup

 

OPENING NIGHT

Playing with Sharks                                     DRIVE-IN PRESENTATION

Director: Sally Aitken

Country: Australia, Running Time: 95 min

Most people aren’t thrilled at the chance to be surrounded by a shiver of sharks, but Valerie Taylor isn’t most people. A fearless diver, marine conservationist, and Australian icon, she dedicated most of her life to exploring the beauty of sharks—forming a sought-after underwater cinematography team with her husband, Ron, and even shooting the real sharks in Jaws. Director Sally Aitken captures Taylor’s enduring passion for these intimidating creatures and her unflinching willingness to connect with them in their element. Now in her 80s, Taylor reflects on her lifelong journey with the sea while sumptuous, remastered 16mm footage transports us to the mysterious deep and testifies to the richness of the ocean as it once was.

 

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the                  VIRTUAL PRESENTATION

Earth Liberation Front(2011)

Director: Marshall Curry

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Frontexplores two of America’s most pressing issues — environmentalism and terrorism — by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Daniel McGowan, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front, faces life in prison for two multimillion-dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Marshall Curry (Oscar®-nominated Street Fight) provides a nuanced and provocative account that is part coming-of-age story, part cautionary tale and part cops-and-robbers thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSING NIGHT

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the                  DRIVE-IN PRESENTATION

Earth Liberation Front(2011)

Director: Marshall Curry

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Frontexplores two of America’s most pressing issues — environmentalism and terrorism — by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Daniel McGowan, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front, faces life in prison for two multimillion-dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Marshall Curry (Oscar®-nominatedStreet Fight) provides a nuanced and provocative account that is part coming-of-age story, part cautionary tale and part cops-and-robbers thriller.

 

Percy Vs Goliath                                           VIRTUAL PRESENTATION

Director: Clark Johnson

Country: US, Running Time: 120 min

Based on events from a 1998 lawsuit, PERCY follows small-town farmer Percy Schmeiser, who challenges a major conglomerate when the company’s genetically modified (GMO) canola is discovered in the 70-year-old farmer’s crops. As he speaks out against the company’s business practices, he realizes he is representing thousands of other disenfranchised farmers around the world fighting the same battle. Suddenly, he becomes an unsuspecting folk hero in a desperate war to protect farmers’ rights and the world’s food supply against what they see as corporate greed.

 

 

FEATURE FILMS

2040

Director: Damon Gameau

Country: US, Running Time: 91 min

Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations.

 

Entangled

Director: David Abel

Country: US, Running Time: 75 min

Entangledis an award-winning, feature-length film about how climate change has accelerated a collision between the nation’s most valuable fishery, one of the world’s most endangered species, and a federal agency mandated to protect both. The film chronicles the efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction, the impacts of those efforts on the lobster industry, and how NOAA Fisheries has struggled to balance the vying interests. Entangled, from the makers of Lobster War and Sacred Cod, won a 2020 Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films. It also won Best Feature Film at the Water Docs Film Festival, Best Conservation Film at the Mystic Film Festival, and the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

 

Making A Mountain

Directors: Rikke Selin Fokdal, Kaspar Astrup Schröder

Country: Denmark, Running Time: 51 min

Following the process of a visionary project that combines waste management and infrastructure with spectacular architecture and a recreational urban space. Bjarke Ingels’ prestigious project Amager Hill – the waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope on top.

 

Okavango: River of Dreams

Directors: Beverly & Dereck Joubert

Country: Austria, Running Time: 94 min

Drawing on Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, the story is told as a journey from Purgatory into Paradise, a quest for truth, for the soul of this river, the Okavango in Botswana, seeing those who use her, as well as those who are victim to the changes she brings, used by her. Floods rise up and transport trillions of liters of water, and yet, each droplet makes a difference. There are characters like Feeketsa, a wounded lioness that makes it against all odds and becomes a kind of talisman for the tale, a symbol of hope through hardship. The film is like looking through windows into stories and then moving on, until we reveal that each story binds us to the next, and to the river herself. It is also a symbol of hope against a backdrop of climate change that threatens every pristine landscape in the world.

 

The Last Horns Of Africa

Director: Garth de Bruno Austin

Country: South Africa, Running Time: 97 min

With unprecedented access, The Last Horns of Africais a gripping and intimate look at the current rhino poaching war raging across Africa. We follow the journeys of two conservation heroes who put their lives on the line to protect the rhino in their care, all the while a top-secret, covert operation endeavors to bring down South Africa’s most notorious rhino poaching syndicates.

 

There Is a Place On Earth

Director: Ellen van den Honert

Country: Netherlands, Running Time: 73 min

There Is a Place On Earthis a feature length documentary exploring the role of artists in wilderness conservation. Dutch Filmmaker Ellen van den Honert takes us on a beautiful and poetic journey around the world where we meet artists/conservationists who share extraordinary creative work and a commitment to the environment. In the process we experience a unique, intuitive connection to the wild – and the necessity to protect it.

 

Trans Pecos

Director: Nicol Ragland

Country: US, Running Time: 64 min

Trans Pecos is a timely intervention weaving together the issues of land and water rights, while painting an honest portrait of what is to come if we allow oil interest to supersede public good. It is a cautionary tale meant to inspire people from every walk of life to take action and work toward change that can happen if informed citizens and those in power hold oil and gas companies accountable. A documentary that uncovers the truth in Far West Texas and one pipeline reflecting the beginning of the invasion of one of the last American frontiers.

 

We Are as Gods

Directors: Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado

Country: US, Running Time: 90 min

“We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” This is the audacious opening line of the Whole Earth Catalog, a compendium of wonderful tools compiled by counterculture legend Stewart Brand. A psychedelic experimenter, cyberspace pioneer, and environmentalist, he is now urging humanity to use our god-like powers to reframe our relationship with time and life itself. Today, Stewart is using biotech to resurrect extinct species. He and a team of scientists travel to Siberia to collect ancient DNA in an effort to make a hybrid Woolly Mammoth. Former allies in the environmental movement vow to stand in his way, but Stewart forges ahead in his life-long mission to conserve the whole earth.

 

Youth V Gov

Director: Christi Cooper

Country: US, Running Time: 90 min

Youth V Govis the story of America’s youth taking on the world’s most powerful government. Armed with a wealth of evidence, twenty-one courageous leaders file a ground-breaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. If these young people are successful, they will not only make history, they will change the future.

 

SHORT FILMS

 

A Fisher’s Right to Know

Director: John Haley

Country: US, Running Time: 16 min

Fishers throughout East Alabama depend on the mighty Coosa River for food, recreation and a family pastime that goes back generations. But do fishermen and women — and their families — have a right to know which fish are safe to consume? Not currently in Alabama, the River State. Coosa Riverkeeper and other advocates are working to give fishers across the entire state that right.

 

After Ice

Director: Kieran Baxter

Country: UK, Running Time: 12 min

Glaciers reflect our past and reveal our future. Historical aerial photographs of Iceland’s glaciers can now be reconstructed in three dimensions and overlaid with current day images to shed light on the impacts of recent anthropogenic climate change. Four years in the making, this short film brings imagery from the archives of the National Land Survey of Iceland together with intimate footage of six outlet glaciers in the Hornafjörður region of Southeast Iceland to tell the breathtaking story of a rapidly disappearing frozen world.

 

American Ocelot

Director: Ben Masters

Country: US, Running Time: 32 min

American Ocelottells the story of one of the most endangered and beautiful wild cats in the United States — a species so elusive that high quality images and video have never been captured until now. With fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the US, the ocelot is critically endangered, genetically isolated, and only exists in Texas. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on land acquisition, research, and conservation, ocelot numbers and habitat have steadily decreased since it was listed as an endangered species. But there is hope. Their genetics can be rescued by translocations from Mexico and suitable habitat exists on private lands.

 

Barriers to Bridges

Director: Robin Bean Crane

Country: US, Running Time: 20 min

There has never been a more important time for all people to be able to participate in the environmental movement. From the impacts of climate change to the need to spend more time outdoors, our health and our quality of life depends on it. Yet many barriers keep BIPOC (Black, Indigineous and People of Color) from feeling included in this movement. This film explores the ways in which organizations in Alabama are doing the necessary and critical work to make sure BIPOC are included. Through the lens of community science, individuals share their struggles to be included and organizations share their challenges and successes with creating more inclusive programs and opportunities.

 

Blue Calling

Director: Sarah Ziegler, Janis Klinkenberg

Country: Germany, Running Time: 6 min

This is the story of Daniel Bichsel, who takes us to an Italy unknown to most. Marettimo is a protected Mediterranean island off the coast of Sicily where rugged hills meet crystal-clear waters—and that’s where Daniel comes alive. A free diver and underwater explorer, Daniel shows us what he calls an “alien world”, where time stands still, where everything is in the present for the time of the breath hold. Free diving means you’re not just a spectator; you’re part of the underwater world, becoming one with the unique flora and fauna of the Mediterranean, from schools of fish to graceful seaweed to colourful coral. But this paradise is under threat, and as an environmentalist and educator, Daniel encourages others to become ambassadors for the underwater world.

 

District 15

Director: Anjali Nayar

Country: US, Running Time: 23 min

Communities for a Better Environment does critical work on environmental justice and empowers Californian communities to stand up to polluting industries and build a green energy future. This short film highlights the hope and tenacity of the young activists of Wilmington, California as they push the Los Angeles City Council to prohibit new and existing oil and gas drilling operations within 2,500 feet of homes, schools and hospitals.

 

Follow Through

Director: Adam Clark

Country: US, Running Time: 22 min

Haters gonna hate. Especially when you’re Caroline Gleich in the social media age. Her ski mountaineering exploits garner attention, though not all of it positive. Follow Through chronicles the journey of Utah skiing’s poster girl as she attempts an audacious goal: completing all 90 routes of the Chuting Gallery, a collection of the Wasatch Range’s most classic and gnarly lines. In addition to the cruel words of her online tormentors, Gleich is also haunted by the deaths of her half-brother Martin and friend Liz Daley, both lost in avalanches.

 

Guardians of the River

Director: Shane Anderson

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

In this film by American Rivers and Swiftwater Films, Indigenous leaders share why removing four dams to restore a healthy Klamath River is critical for clean water, food sovereignty and justice.Guardians of the Riverfeatures Frankie Joe Myers, Vice Chair of the Yurok Tribe, Sammy Gensaw, director of Ancestral Guard, Barry McCovey, fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe, and members of the Ancestral Guard and Klamath Justice Coalition.

 

Leaving for a Holiday

Director: Ariel Goldenberg

Country: Turkey, Running Time: 5 min

“Tatile Gidiyoruz” project; is a short film based on the theme of “Changing climates – Changing lives”. The family that owns Yeşilova Farm has been struggling with drought, disease and soil inefficiency due to global warming in recent years. This struggle is now over and the farm has to be abandoned. The film, which witnesses this family’s abandonment day, is narrated through the eyes of the house until you see the family for real in the road sequences, and this narration is accompanied by the voice of the little girl carrying the movie. The family tries to protect the little girl from this sad abandonment with the cover “leaving for holiday”. “Tatile Gidiyoruz” is the story of Yeşilova Farm family’s being ripped from their roots and abandoning their past.

 

Life Below Water 

Director: Brian Shulz

Country: US, Running Time: 3 min

In the style of an engrossing, charming, and at times unsettling nature documentary, Life Below Water provides a bleak glimpse into the future of our oceans where plastic pollution grows at an alarming rate. Throughout the film, Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman introduces a new species discovered swimming in the depths of the ocean: plastics. The film shows an underwater world of plastics come to life. A future that will become real if we don’t take action.

 

The Linesman: Both Sides Matter

Director: Dominic Gill

Country: Myanmar, Running Time: 26 min

The story of one man’s mission to end human-elephant conflict in his homeland. With an unprecedented view of the plight of threatened villagers and their massive, majestic foes — the Asian Elephant — we come to truly understand both sides of this deadly struggle. Set in the rural landscape of Myanmar, The Linesman: Both Sides Matterillustrates how decades of massive deforestation, the loss of critical habitat, and the increase in elephant poaching for ivory and skin, have driven elephants to desperate measures to survive. In then search for food and safety, they invade nearby villages destroying essential crops and posing a lethal risk to villagers. To protect their livelihoods and their loved ones, these villagers have often resorted to killing elephants themselves or calling in brutal poachers to do the job for them. The destruction on both sides has created devastating results that demand a search for solutions.

 

 

Pant Hoot

Director: Richard Reens

Country: US, Running Time: 21 min

A genocide survivor transcends overwhelming odds to become a master chimpanzee linguist

As the world’s chimpanzee population dwindles in the wild, one-man risks everything to care for a group of mistreated animals rescued by Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden Sanctuary in South Africa. Stany Nyandwi, a survivor of the Burundi genocide, overcomes insurmountable odds to become one of the only humans to master the complicated ‘pant hoot’ chimp language. Recognizing that it’s not just a chimpanzee/human struggle, he’s taken it upon himself to reconnect with our closest relatives on this planet. Love knows no man-made boundaries in this universal story about understanding.

 

Shaba

Directors: Ami Vitale, David Allen

Country: Kenya, Running Time: 11 min

In the mountains of northern Kenya, a Samburu community built a sanctuary for orphaned elephants to try to rehabilitate them back to the wild. The project is not just changing local attitudes about elephants, it’s changing attitudes about women too because the secret to Reteti’s success is all because of the special bond between a group of local women keepers and one special elephant named Shaba.

 

Snowy

Director: Kaitlyn Schwalje

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min

Snowy, a four-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy, and what would it take?

 

Soul Deep

Director: Dominic Gill

Country: US, Running Time: 14 min

Soul Deepis a look inside a burgeoning rock climbing movement of inner-city African Americans taking up the sport and making it their own. At 14-minutes it explores non-profit gym Memphis Rox and three of its customers who are finding their own ways to identify with the sport.

 

Stoke Chasers

Director: Jo Anna Edmison

Country: US, Running Time: 10 min

Stoke Chasersfollows the story of a group of bold, young women who are breaking out the mold to start a new kind of movement. Facing generations of stigma, these Stoke Chasers must overcome the social and mental barriers to pursue their burning aspirations. By leaving fear behind and building a tribe, these young women discover something profound and exciting about life.

 

Understory – A Journey into the Tongass

Director: Colin Arisman

Country: US, Running Time: 40 min

Understory – A Journey into the Tongassis a short film that takes us deep into Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest remaining temperate rainforest on the planet. Our guide, Elsa Sebastian, is a young local fisherman who grew up “off-grid” in a remote village surrounded by the vast, ancient forest. When Elsa learns that the U.S. federal government is axing environmental protections for nine million acres of the Tongass, she is driven to action–first fixing up an old sailboat, and then setting sail on a 350-mile expedition along the rainforest’s coast. Elsa is joined by Dr. Natalie Dawson, a biologist who has spent decades studying Alaska’s wildlife, and artist Mara Menahan. For a month the team documents old-growth trees threatened by logging, witnesses the dark aftermath of clearcuts, visits streams teeming with salmon, and learns about indigenous cultural connections to the Tongass.

 

We the Power

Director: David Garret Byars

Country: Belgium/UK, Running Time: 35 min

This film follows friends, families and visionaries as they break down legislative barriers and take power back from big energy companies to put it in the hands of locals and strengthen their towns. The film chronicles local cooperatives from deep in Germany’s Black Forest to the streets of ancient Girona in Spain and the urban rooftops of London, England, as they pave the way for a renewable energy revolution and build healthier, financially stable communities.

 

 

ABOUT EarthxFilm

EarthxFilm showcases films and emerging media that explore conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. Our mission is to turn awareness into action through art and media. We achieve our goals by partnering with top environmental, film, and entertainment organizations across the globe. EarthxFilm presents year-round programs culminating in a 10-day festival, April 16 – 25, 2021.

 

ABOUT EarthX

EarthX convenes the world’s largest environmental expo, conference and film festival, and is a member of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. EarthxTV, which launched in Fall 2020 is a web-based platform for balanced, inclusive environmental conversations, programs, emerging media & films. Founded in 2011 by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, the Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions.  Earthx2020 was held virtually in April and drew over 550,000 visitors worldwide. Visit www.EarthX.org or follow us @earthxorg on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

 

PRESS CONTACT

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Wildworks PR

FilmsGoneWild.com

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