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By Eva Perroni
Film is an incredible tool for effecting change in the food system with its unique ability to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming. Film can transport viewers to unseen territories, from Colombian coffee-growing regions to the bottom of the ocean, and unveil the stories, struggles and triumphs of those working in the hidden fabric of the food system.
By Katie O'Reilly
Hollywood loves history. Awards season 2018, after all, is buzzing with films that explore world wars, arms races, governmental and Olympic scandals. For those environmentalists who get behind the camera, however, the silver screen becomes an avenue to engage audiences in the issues, threats and hopeful developments shaping their children's future. In spite of the rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented media landscape, cinema remains a powerful tool for swiftly transforming lay viewers into impassioned advocates and activists. That's why the volunteers laboring to protect the Sierra Nevada's Yuba watershed launched the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in 2003.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The recent documentary, Sea of Life, exposes key threats to the oceans, and calls for action.
Sea of Life follows filmmaker Julia Barnes on a three year adventure, spanning seven countries, to save coral reefs.
Although they cover less than 1 percent of the sea floor coral reefs support up to 30 percent of all species in the ocean at some stage in their life cycles. Often referred to as the rainforests of the ocean, coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. They're also an indicator for the future of the oceans and all life on Earth.
I have asked repeatedly to have my short interview clip removed from this film. The director refuses. He believes his film is fair and balanced. I do not.
I am often interviewed (see media) and hardly ever quoted incorrectly or out of context. This film is one of those rare exceptions.
By Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell
Good Fortune is the rags to riches tale of conscious capitalism pioneer John Paul DeJoria. Born with nothing, at times homeless on the streets of LA, DeJoria spent a good portion of his early adulthood in and out of motorcycle gangs only to wheel and deal his way to the top of a vast hair and tequila empire. Yet DeJoria's motto is "Success unshared is failure," a pioneering philosophy that promotes the triple bottom line—people, planet and profit.
By Cyrus Sutton
Island Earth is the story of a young indigenous scientist's journey through both sides of the GMO battle in Hawaii. Groomed to work for Monsanto, Cliff Kapono had a lot to consider over the past few years. His ancestral ways of farming fed a similar population than what inhabits the island today with some of the most advanced biodynamic farming ever documented. Yet one of his most lucrative job options would be for a company promising to "feed the world."
What to do about school lunches so bad, one student exclaims, “I ate it because I was hungry and had nothing to eat”?
Chef Tony Geraci ambitiously tackled this problem as food and nutrition director for Baltimore public schools, an urban area serving 83,000 students.
His efforts at reforming the school food program are documented in the feature-length film Cafeteria Man, released online today. Geraci set out to transform not just what students eat, but their whole relationship to food—and succeeded.
Check out the trailer and learn more about how food can be served fresher, more wholesome and tastier to students, from “farm to school” programs to a national model teaching farm.
If you are interested in transforming school lunch programs, visit the Cafeteria Man screening action guide.
Geraci, named one of the top 20 most influential food service people in the U.S., offers the following tips for improving school food:
Learn what’s going on locally.
Aim to work with the school staff.
Articulate your goals.
Help students make healthier choices.
Help the district see that it can afford a better program.
As the documentary, which also features Michelle Obama and Michael Pollan, confirms: Change is on the menu.
Jack Carey is going to be a sophomore at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is an economics major interested in pursing a career in environmental economics. He writes for the CU Environmental Center blog site and lives in Costa Mesa, CA.
I attended a film screening of Food Stamped, a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the food system in our country, which many citizens find to be broken. The film follows an American couple on their quest to eat healthy and stay on a well-balanced diet while on a food stamp budget. Throughout the film, the filmmaker, Yoav Potash, and his wife, Shira, a nutrition specialist, travel the country discussing the problem amongst the company of U.S. government officials, nutritionists, food organizations and other folks living on a one-dollar-meal plan.
Imagine that you had a film camera running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more than 32 years.
Welcome to the world of award-winning producer, director and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg.
The filmmaker, moved by the wonder and joy of watching plants grow and clouds move, took to time-lapse, high-speed and macro cinematography, so that others could similarly be spiritually moved and transformed by the beauty of the natural world around them. He makes the invisible visible.
Still from a Schwartzberg TED talk.
“I love to explore things that the human eye can’t see,” says Schwartzberg. And through his camera work, he offers audiences a stunning, intimate, high-definition glimpse of nature.
Schwartzberg talks with the Green Divas about his three-decade-long career, including his recent film Wings of Life, a feature-length documentary for Disneynature, narrated by Meryl Streep.
Recognized for their importance this week—National Pollinator Week—pollinators are crucial for the food we eat, to our survival. Wings of Life pays homage to (and offers a glimpse into the hidden world of) bees, bats, hummingbirds and butterflies, including the precarious relationship they have with flowers. “Beauty is nature’s tool for survival,” reflects Schwartzberg.
You can see some beautiful, mind blowing images in Schwartzberg’s TED talks.
Here he explores the intersection between technology, art and science, curiosity and wonder. And through time-lapse, high-speed and macro filming, the anatomy of Earth is brought to life.
Schwartzberg describes his greatest satisfaction as creating works that have a positive effect on the future of Earth: “I hope my films inspire and open people’s hearts … If I can move enough people on an emotional level, I hope we can achieve the shift in consciousness we need to sustain and celebrate life.”
One of the many great films that will be screened at this year's Mountainfilm in Telluride is Mission Blue, a documentary about legendary marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle and her personal mission to save the ocean and create a network of protected marine sanctuaries.
Mission Blue was shot throughout three years in numerous locations around the world. The documentary traces Earle’s remarkable personal journey, from her earliest memories exploring the ocean as a young girl to her days leading a daring undersea mission in the Virgin Islands and beyond.
With more than 7,000 hours and more than 70 expeditions underwater, Earle is uniquely positioned to help us understand the best way to restore the health of the ocean. Earle's plan is to create a global parks system for the ocean that she calls "Hope Spots."
Fisher Stevens, director and producer of Mission Blue, guides us through the film.
Mission Blue is a wake-up call that provides answers to the daunting challenge of how to protect the world's oceans that are under attack like never before. For more than 60 years, Earle, National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, has been leading the charge to restore the ocean to health before it’s too late. As Earle says: “No blue; no green. No ocean; no us.”
Mission Blue will be distributed by Netflix starting Aug. 15.
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Ever wonder about chemicals in your day-to-day life?
Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages (they now have two beautiful children). But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country with his video camera to interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law and learned there are unacceptable levels of chemicals in so many things. Including our bodies.
Brown’s documentary, Unacceptable Levels, dissects the ways chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid the backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. It chronicles the results of the post-World War II chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge.
Some "unacceptable facts" from the film:
- Autism now affects one in 50 children.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death (after accidents) in children younger than 15 years in the U.S.
- In the last 20 years, the rates of asthma, allergies and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are on the rise: 400 percent increase in allergies, 300 percent increase in asthma, 400 percent increase in ADHD.
- $2.6 trillion of the Gross Domestic Product is spent on treating disease every year.
- Approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interact with our cells every single day.
Brown is touring the country this summer, which started with a premiere June 12 in Hollywood, CA, where he was joined by Mariel Hemingway, Gary Hirschberg, Christopher Gavigan and other passionate environmentalists to inspire others to take action.
This film is a huge eye-opener! Once a parent sees this, they thankfully won’t ever approach their child’s health and future the same way ever again!
Visit the Unacceptable Levels website for a growing list of screenings.