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With more than a million species facing extinction, people around the world lacking safe drinking water, and glaciers melting at an alarming rate, the environment is nagging the minds of many, but not enough.
So the organisers, producers, and filmmakers hope to change that attitude here in Buenos Aires with this year’s Green Film Festival.
“Increasingly more people are taking [the environment] into account. People are interested in the topic, but they do not involve themselves in something concrete,” says Astrid Hoffman, the executive producer of the Green Film Fest.
The international film festival highlights movies from around the world that take a look at environmental issues.
“The films we select attract people who are already involved in the issue but also those who know nothing about it. We look for varied programming, documentaries, animation, fiction, and movies for kids. The most important thing is that there is equilibrium between the message of the film and its visual appeal,” says Hoffman.
The festival is taking place from 16th to 22nd August at Cinemark Palermo, Beruti 399. Each day movies will play from midday to midnight.
The movies look at varying environmental issues including deforestation, fuel, electricity, and meat consumption to name a few.
‘If a Tree Falls’, by director Marshall Curry, tells the captivating and yet haunting story of one of the members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The documentary follows Daniel McGowan as he plots the burning of various public buildings including a horse slaughtering plant, an SUV dealership and a US$12m Vail, Colo., ski lodge. The film about the FBI named “domestic terrorists” won the Sundance Film Festival Documentary Editing Award and includes images that burn themselves into your memory.
On a lighter note, ‘The Clean Bin Project’ films the competition between Grant Baldwin, the director of the film, and Jen as they try to live for one year without producing any waste. The two don’t buy anything that would need to be thrown into a trashcan, so no packaging, boxes, bags, etc. While maintaining a lighter spirit the movie looks at the sobering underbelly of the garbage catastrophe all over the world: the Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of ocean the size of Texas where garbage outnumbers the plankton six to one. The hard-hitting facts create the perfect balance and although Jen and Grant sometimes wonder whether or not they can actually make a difference, they follow through with their plan and realise just how much one person can do.
‘Play Again’ promises to be one of the most interesting films at the festival. Director Tonje Hessen Schei puts the spotlight on children in his compelling documentary about their disassociation with nature. With almost 90% of a child’s time spent indoors one quote sums up the entire message of the film: “What they will not value they will not protect and what they will not protect they will lose.”
Finally, among the many must-see documentaries at the festival is ‘The Island President’. The film, directed by Jon Shenk, takes a look at former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed and his crusade to save his country from the dangerous effects of global warming. The tiny island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean is under threat of sinking due to rising sea levels. The film goes with Nasheed as he plunges under water for local government meetings and raises his voice in international environment councils to grab the attention of the rest of the world.
Overall the festival is set to welcome even more guests than last year’s 5,000 with some fantastic and captivating movies.
The event kicks off today with a bicycle tour to the cinema where Hoffman and her team will introduce two of the contributing directors, Josh and Rebecca Tickell, who directed ‘Fuel, Freedom’ and ‘The Big Fix’.
“We are a city that still has many outstanding issues in terms of sustainability,” says Hoffman. “We hope that the festival leaves people thinking and encourages them to change their everyday actions in order to create a better world.”