For the past week, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has screened nearly 100 films across the city. Selections depict the world’s most remote tropical islands and frozen tundras, and delve into the most widespread cultural trends and cutting-edge environmental research. The festival continues through Sunday, and if you haven’t made it to a screening, here are five films to put at the top of your list. You can find full listings at www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org or call 202-342-2564.
The U.S. premiere of this Greek narrative film tells the comical and poignant tale of Peter, a corporate engineer whose company tasks him with building a power plant on a little-known island in the Aegean. At first the islanders are skeptical of the strange man, but they develop a mutual respect. Soon, Peter is forced to leave the island, and he discovers his company’s agenda to use the plant as a front for dumping toxic waste.
In 1965, New York filmmaker Holly Fisher spent three years chronicling the lives of a group of skipjack captains who operated the last fleet of sailboats dedicated to oystering and crabbing in the Chesapeake. Since its release in 1969, the film has been screened only twice publicly. See the filmmaker in person at this screening. And if the Chesapeake piques your interest, arrive at 6 p.m. to see the festival’s complete series about the Chesapeake Bay area.
Meat and potatoes have long been a cornerstone of Western diets. But with the population growing exponentially and heart disease and cancer on the rise, consuming animal products may be hurting us more than helping. “Planeat” follows a group of doctors, chefs, farmers and average people who believe that a plant-based diet could make our planet — and us — healthier. A panel discussion after this U.S. premiere features filmmaker Shelley Lee Davies, scientist T. Colin Campbell and others.
For generations, the Carteret islanders have subsisted on coconuts and assorted crops on their tiny home in the South Pacific. But in recent years, rising seas have flooded the island, washing away crops and rendering their land unusable. Faced with starvation or relocation, the Carterets voyage to nearby Bougainville Island to plead for a small plot. Life on the mainland will be vastly different and influenced by Western ideas. The Oscar-nominated documentary short poses questions: Will the Carterets find a new place to call home? And if they do, will they be willing to leave their former lives behind?
For the men in the Siberian village of Bakhta, animal trapping is a year-round livelihood. Aside from snowmobiles, few elements of modernity exist in Bakhta — the trappers set traps, provision their hunting cabins with firewood and make skis from tree bark, all with little more than an ax and their dogs. Framed by the desolate frozen tundra, Werner Herzog’s film is a meditation on the trappers’ singular world, a rich culture entirely reliant upon itself.