As the Environmental Film Festival unspools over the next 10 days, green activists won't have any trouble getting their fix of movies that address endangered species, the evils of factory farming and that all-time passion-stoker, global warming.
But what happens when hard-core types -- or even those with only a casual environmental interest -- encounter films such as "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye," about the legendary portrait photographer? Or "Art of Indonesia: Tales From the Shadow World," exploring the classical period of Javanese civilization? Or "Fine Food, Fine Pastries, Open 6 to 9," depicting a day in the life of Washington's now-defunct Sherrill's Restaurant and Bakery?
Borobodur Temple in Java, from the Environmental Film Festival's "Art of Indonesia: Tales From the Shadow World."
(Courtesy Of Brjynn Brujin -- Saudi Aramco World/padia)
Are those environmental films, too?
"Sometimes people don't know what to make of us," says Helen Strong, the festival's public relations director. "We cast a really wide net." The festival's 108 films include a number of programs that fall into categories of social, artistic and built environments -- topics that other environmental films festivals tend to shy away from, Strong says.
"The environment is not just wilderness areas," explains festival founder and artistic director Flo Stone. "It's where we live. You could say [the Cartier-Bresson film] is not as environmental as global warming. But it reminds you of how you perceive what surrounds you."
The ultimate message of the festival's broad programming approach, Stone says, is that "the environment is in no way a special interest. It's fascinating, and it needs everyone."
Cabaret Series Opens Atlas
The new Atlas Performing Arts Center in Northeast Washington will host its first performance this weekend, "The World of Jacques Brel." The collection of the iconic Brel's songs, performed by Sally Martin and Byron Jones, launches DC Cabaret Network's three-part French-themed Sunday evening series, "Vive le Cabaret."
On April 10, Bobb Robinson and Robert Tudor will sing popular French songs of the 1950s and '60s in "Stars of the Paris Music Hall: Une Soiree at the Olympia." The series concludes on May 15 with "Americans in Paris," a selection of songs about Paris by American composers performed by Doug Bowles, Cindy Hutchins and Debra Tidwell.
Although Atlas won't hold a grand opening celebration until next month, Scott Kenison, director of patron and partner services, says the center is excited to welcome its inaugural audience members to Sunday's cabaret.
"It feels like a long time coming," Kenison says of the renovation process of the 1930s-era movie theater that began more than two years ago with interior demolition at the site. "Vive le Cabaret" will be performed in one of Atlas's two smaller "lab" theaters opening this month, along with three dance studios. Construction continues on two larger theaters slated to open next year.
The center's evolution is "a wonderful adventure," Kenison adds.
NSO Design Winners
After holding a $2,500 prize competition for a design to commemorate its 75th season, the National Symphony Orchestra has made not one but two choices.
"Symphony 2004," an acrylic painting by Terry Parmelee, 75, of Washington, and "NSO 75," a graphic design by Petra Sucic Roje, 32, of New York, were picked from a field of 56 entries. Parmelee and Roje will each receive $1,250, and their works will be incorporated into a variety of merchandise and promotional materials for the 2005-06 season.
Environmental Film Festival at various venues through March 20. For schedule and ticket information, call 202-342-2564 or visit www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.
Vive le Cabaret at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Sunday at 7 p.m., preceded by a wine and cheese tasting at 5:30. Series continues on April 10 and May 15. Twenty dollars for individual performances, $50 for the series. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.