2014 PEFF AWARDS
BEST IN FESTIVAL: Pandora’s Promise
BEST SHORT FILM: tie – Murmuration & Snows of the Nile
INSPIRING COMMUNITY ACTION: Bidder 70
EMERGING FILMMAKER: Snows of the Nile
AUDIENCE FAVORITE: Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Change
2014 Princeton Environmental Film Festival Schedule
All screenings are offered free of admission and will be in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library unless noted otherwise.
THURSDAY JANUARY 30
Opening Night Film
Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science
Directed by David Sington and Simon Lamb
2013, 73 min.
In recent years climate science has come under increasing attack, so geologist Simon Lamb took his camera to find out what is really going on. For over three years he followed scientists from a wide range of disciplines at work in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.
They talk about their work, their hopes and fears with a rare candor and directness, resulting in an intimate portrait of the global community of researchers racing to understand our planet’s changing climate and provide a compelling case for rising CO2 as the main cause.
The screening will be followed by a talk with Dr. Elisabeth Sikes, associate professor of marine sciences at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University; Dr. Anthony Broccoli, professor of Environmental Sciences, co-director Rutgers Climate Institute; Dr Enrique Curchister, associate professor of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University; and Elias Hunger, research specialist and marine technician, Rutgers University.
FRIDAY JANUARY 31
Sustainable Princeton Great Ideas Breakfast
Sustainable Princeton hosts this bright and early morning event, featuring “lightning talks” from local residents and others on the theme of “Visioning Sustainability in the Princeton Community in 2020.″ They will provide a free & zero-waste breakfast, featuring Fair Trade foods, coffee & tea.
Garbage or Resource ? A Dominican Republic Experience
Produced and directed by Natasha Despotovic
2013, 17 min.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Natasha Despotovic, executive director of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development and Director of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival.
Produced and directed by Gayatri Roshan and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
2013, 93 min.
The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges River, now polluted and dying. Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan Lee via videoconference.
Produced and directed by Allison Argo
Meet Lou. Abandoned in a foreclosed home, Lou is one of thousands of parrots in need of rescue. From the wilds of Costa Rica to suburban America, a lovable, quirky cast of parrots will reveal their unforgettable tales and the bittersweet world they share with humans. Their outrageous intelligence and uncanny ability to communicate in any language has made parrots one of the world’s most popular pets. But unlike dogs and cats, parrots have not been domesticated. With high decibel squawks and complex behavior, they are hardwired for the wild. Add a lifespan of up to 70+ years with their intense need to bond, and a life in captivity doesn’t always have a happy ending. With shelters and sanctuaries struggling to meet the demand, too many birds like Lou have no place to go.
A PBS NATURE program, a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC and Argo Films in association with WNET.
Speaker: Charles Leck, who served at New Jersey State Ornithologist. Dr. Leck is a retired professor of ecological sciences at Cook College, Rutgers University.
Produced and directed by Beth Gage and George Gage
2013, 72 min.
In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.
As “bidder #70” Tim bid 1.8 million dollars and won 22,000 pristine acres surrounding Utah’s National Parks. He had no intention to pay or drill. Tim was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to ten years in prison.
A personal portrait, “Bidder 70” illuminates how the choices we make determine our future and the world we live in.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Beth and George Gage.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 1
Fighting for the Futaleufú
Directed by Stephanie Haig
2013, 17 min.
For years, Chileans living in the Azul valley in Patagonia viewed the Futaleufú river with awe and apprehension. The late 1980′s brought kayakers and white water rafters to the region. The conquest of the river and the resulting eco-tourist business has brought opportunity, jobs and a vibrant community.
“Fighting For The Futaleufú” explores the fierce natural beauty of this river. It looks at the lives of Chilean rafters Robert Currie, his son and the local natives who work to protect the river and the region from foreign damming and mining projects. Chileans, river-runners and all who know the beauty of nature are encouraged to preserve what has rightly been called ‘the world’s most beautiful river’.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Stephanie Haig.
To Be Forever Wild
Produced and directed by David Becker
2014, 67 min.
This is a work-in-progress screening of the film, which will be released later in 2014.
“To Be Forever Wild” was created by a group of filmmakers, musicians and artists in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Based in a little red cabin perched above a waterfall, the crew spent several weeks exploring the landscapes that are considered to be “America’s first wilderness.”
More than a portrait of a place, the film profiles the people who live in and visit this region, including artists, hikers, scientists, farmers and young people. In the film we see the power of nature to restore, reclaim and provoke our deepest emotions and connections to the world. It’s a film that inspires people to reconnect with nature in their own way, wherever they happen to be.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director/producer David Becker, and Ian Holden, editor.
Produced by Burke Cherrie & Ben Nabors, directed by Michael Tyburski
2013, 26 min.
It follows Head Farmer and CEO Ben Flanner , Gwen Schantz, COO, Communications Director Anastasia Plakias, Farm Manager Michael Meier, and Beekeeper Chase Emmons as their growing operation expands from Long Island City, Queens to a second roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The team confronts the realities inherent in operating the world’s largest rooftop farm in one of the world’s biggest cities.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Michael Tyburski.
Farming at the Edge of Nature
A group of farmers and naturalists from our region will talk about their farming practices, philosophy, ethics, business models, challenges and their optimism for this next generation who are embracing working closely with the land. Many on the panel are also visual artists and the presentation will exhibit their photography focused on their work. This session will also feature the opportunity for a Q&A and networking.
The panel features:
Alec Gioseffi, Adam Martin and Lauren Nagy, Cooperative 518; Lindsay Napolitano and Johann Rinkens, Fields Without Fences; Jared Rosenbaum and Rachel Mackow, Wild Ridge Plants, Growers and Stewards of Native Plants; and Steve Tomlinson, who works at Great Road Farm.
Jared Flesher, documentary filmmaker and Edible Jersey editor will be the moderator of the panel. Jared is an award-winning reporter, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, with a focus on the topics of energy, agriculture and ecology. His last two documentaries are “The Farmer and the Horse” (2010) and “Sourlands (2012.) His latest film “Field Biologist” is in production will be released later in 2014. A trailer previewing this film will be featured during the session.
CoolVines: Stories About Wine
Natural wine making is not only happening, it’s also delicious, healthier for you and healthier for the earth. CoolVines on Spring Street hosts a wine tasting and chat around the singularly wholesome practices of today’s most conscientious winemakers. Join us to hear Mark Censits share the fascinating stories behind the vines, their caretakers and what is and isn’t allowed around the “Natural” farm. Unearth the hidden ingredients added to processed wines, and discover that yes, options of remarkable quality and diversity abound!
This is a ticketed event and can be purchased wineandstories.eventbrite.com. Attendees must be 21 or older.
Produced and directed by Jeremy Seifert
2013, 85 min.
“GMO OMG” explores the systematic corporate takeover and potential loss of humanity’s most precious and ancient inheritance: seeds. Director Jeremy Seifert investigates how loss of seed diversity and corresponding laboratory assisted genetic alteration of food affects his young children, the health of our planet, and freedom of choice everywhere. The film follows one family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. The film looks at the encroaching darkness of unknown health and environmental risks, chemical toxins, and food monopoly meets with the light of a growing global movement to take back what we have lost. Has the global food system been irrevocably hijacked? Or can we take back our food, heal the planet, and live sustainably?
Program note: The Whole Earth Center of Princeton is featuring Kevin Walsh, a member of GMOfreeNJ, in a talk ” GMOs and their impact on human and environmental health” at the store on Tuesday February 4 at 7 p.m. Please see the Whole Earth Center event calendar for details.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2
NEW DATE AND TIME:
Wildlife educator Travis Gale returns to the PEFF sharing his humor and live animal guests from all over the world in a presentation for the whole family. Entertaining, high-energy and educational, the program highlights the importance of protecting the wildlife of the world.
A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet
Directed, produced and written by Mark Kitchell
2012, 101 min.
The film explores exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. Narrated by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende and Meryl Streep, the film tells vivid stories about people fighting – and succeeding – against enormous odds.
The film unfolds in five acts, each with a central story and character: David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon; Lois Gibbs and Love Canal residents’ struggle against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals; Paul Watson and Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales and baby harp seals; Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubbertappers’ fight to save the Amazon rainforest; and Bill McKibben and the 25-year effort to address the impossible issue – climate change.
Surrounding these main stories are strands like environmental justice, going back to the land, and movements of the global south such as Chipko in India and Wangari Maathai in Kenya. Vivid archival film brings it all back and insightful interviews shed light on the events and what they mean. The film offers a deeper view of environmentalism as civilizational change, bringing our industrial society into sustainable balance with nature.
Produced and directed by Robert Stone.
2013, 89 min.
The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? “Pandora’s Promise” asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty. Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process.
Stone exposes this controversy within the environmental movement head-on with stories of defection by heavy weights including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger. Undaunted and fearlessly independent, “Pandora’s Promise” sparks the conversation about the myths and science behind this deeply emotional and polarizing issue.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Robert Stone.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 3
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Due to inclement weather we are postponing the screenings of “William and the Windmill” at Princeton High School and Princeton Public Library. A new date will be set and announced.
William and the Windmill
Produced and directed by Ben Nabors
2013, 92 min.
In 2001, William Kamkwamba, a 14-year-old from a family of subsistence farmers in Malawi, was forced to drop out of school due to a devastating famine. Turning to self-education, William saw a picture of a windmill in a textbook, and learned that windmills could pump water and generate electricity. Using scrapyard parts, William built a functioning windmill that not only rescued his family from poverty but attracted the attention of the larger world.
At the international TEDGlobal conference, William meets American entrepreneur Tom Rielly, who helps him imagine an incredible new future, and they develop a unique mentor relationship. Fame and recognition follow William’s achievements, and his life is fundamentally transformed as the film follows him from the ages of 19 to 24. Staggering opportunities, a world-class education, international relocation, and newfound village responsibilities lead to unforeseen conflict, stress, and cultural isolation. As an icon of innovation from the developing world William is idolized by those he meets in the West. As a bridge between two different cultures, he grows slowly more detached from his family and friends in Malawi and his former way of life. As William struggles with the potential of his promising future, he privately yearns to distance himself from his windmill, the very thing that made him famous.
This film is a story about a complex young man overcoming unimaginable challenges including poverty, famine, and lack of education while being thrust head-on into the Western world. Through his story, we understand the lingering burdens of the accomplishments of our youth, the delicate and difficult balance of giving support, and a young man’s desire to be recognized for who he is and what he may become, rather than the great things he has done.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Ben Nabors.
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 5
Slow Food Story
Directed by Stefano Sardo
2013, 73 min.
SCREENING LOCATION: This film will be screened at The Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street. Free admission. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m.
It has its Commander in Chief, whose name is Carlo Petrini, or just Carlin, recognized as the inventor of Slow Food. Petrini founded the Italian gastronomic association Arcigola in 1986, and three years later in Paris launched Slow Food, an international movement that began as a resistance to fast food, which at the time was threatening the local cuisine all over the planet. Today the association has 85,000 members in 130 countries, and has a tremendous impact in the world of gastronomy and culture of our time.
A life rich and unique, that Carlin, who still – it is a “hero Europeo” for Time and a columnist for an Italian newspaper – is firmly anchored in the small town from which it took its way, in spite of the global dimension and international movement which gave birth in his small town (now in his town of Bra is a company of 200 employees.)
“Slow Food Story” is the story of his life, growing up in the province of jokes, food, wine, music and political passion between Petrini and his best friends, Azio Citi and John Ravinale. It is the story of their friendship. Joys, but also pain. A story that shows us how even the most important cultural adventures can arise from an amused and ironic approach to life.
The screening will be followed by a talk featuring Raoul Momo, owner of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, and Jim Weaver, owner of Tre Piani Restaurant and steering committee member of Slow Food Central NJ.
The Terra Momo Restaurant Group is hosting a special dinner event to compliment the screening.
The Terra Momo Restaurant Group is hosting three-course dinners with menus inspired by the Slow Food Story at Mediterra Resturant on Hulfish Street and Teresa Café on Palmer Square in Princeton. It is suggested to make reservations, menus and details available at Special Events. Proceeds of this event benefit the PEFF.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 6
Directed by Dan Susman
2013, 60 min.
Growing Cities is a documentary film that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. The film follows two friends on their road trip across the country as they meet the people who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food—from those growing food in backyards to make ends meet; to educators with the goal of teaching kids to eat better; to activists seeking a meaningful alternative to the industrial food system, and more.
By showcasing innovative ways urban dwellers are producing food, the film will inspire people to engage more deeply with their food system—whether that means growing tomatoes in a windowsill or getting a flock of backyard chickens. At its core, the film asks viewers to re-imagine what’s possible in urban settings and shows how everyone can be a producer in a society driven by consumption.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Dan Susman.
Produced and edited by Josh Granger, directed by Maxine Trump
2012, 80 min.
“Musicwood” is an adventure-filled journey, a political thriller with music at its heart. An unusual band of the most famous guitar-makers in the world (Bob Taylor of Taylor guitars, Chris Martin of Martin Guitars and Dave Berryman of Gibson Guitars) travel together into the heart of one of the most primeval rainforests on the planet. Their mission: to negotiate with Native American loggers and change the way this forest is logged before it’s too late for acoustic guitars. “Musicwood” is a culture clash of staggering proportions. Native Americans who’ve been given a notoriously raw deal from the US government are distrustful of the white man telling them what to do. Enter Greenpeace, a radical environmental group, and soon all are battling over a forest that is the last of its kind on the planet.
As the tug-of-war over natural resources unfolds, acoustic virtuosos such as Kaki King, Yo La Tengo, The Antlers, and Steve Earle offer some of the most profound insights in the form of a soundtrack, which doubles as the heartbeat of this debate.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Josh Granger and Maxine Trump.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 7
Bringing It Home
Produced and directed by Linda Booker and Blaire Johnson
2013, 52 min.
More industrial hemp is exported to the U.S. than to any other country and American consumers are purchasing over $450 million in hemp products annually. The film explores the question of why a crop with so many widespread benefits cannot be farmed in the United States by illustrating its history, current industries and talking to both opponents and proponents of the industrial hemp farming legalization effort. The story looks at hemp’s past, present and future through interviews with hemp business leaders and entrepreneurs from all over the globe, historical images and media clips, and footage filmed in the U.K, Spain, Washington D.C., California and North Carolina. The documentary aims to magnify dialogue about hemp in order to facilitate America’s transition to a more informed, sustainable, and healthy future.
Tiny: A Story About Living Small
Produced and directed by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith
2013, 62 min.
After a decade of travel, Christopher Smith approaches his 30th birthday and decides it’s time to plant some roots. He impulsively buys a 5-acre plot of land in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home in the mountains of Colorado. With the support of his girlfriend, Merete, he sets out to build a Tiny House from scratch despite having no construction experience.
From 1970 to 2010, the average size of a new house in America has almost doubled. Yet in recent years, many are redefining their American Dream to focus on flexibility, financial freedom, and quality of life over quantity of space. These self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” live in homes smaller than the average parking space, often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. The film takes us inside six of these homes stripped to their essentials, exploring the owners’ stories and the design innovations that make them work.
When Christopher decides to build his own “Tiny House,” he dives into the tension between settling down and staying adrift, between preserving a parcel of land that he loves and developing it. Merete begins to ask her own questions about settling down, and both walk away with unexpected lessons about the meaning of home, the importance of place, and the personal impact of sticking with a project that became bigger than they’d ever imagined.
It’s is a coming-of-age story for a generation that is more connected, yet less tied-down than ever, and for a society redefining its priorities in the face of a changing financial and environmental climate. More than anything, “Tiny” invites its viewers to dream big and imagine living small.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Merete Mueller.
The Crash Reel
Directed by Lucy Walker
2013, 108 min.
This eye-popping film seamlessly combines twenty years of stunning action footage with new specially-shot verité footage and interviews as it follows U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and exposes the irresistible but potentially fatal appeal of extreme sports.
An escalating rivalry between Kevin and his nemesis Shaun White in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics leaves Shaun on top of the Olympic podium and Kevin in a coma following a training accident in Park City, Utah. Kevin’s tight-knit Vermont family flies to his side and helps him rebuild his life as a brain injury survivor. But when he insists he wants to return to the sport he still loves, his family intervenes with his eloquent brother David speaking for all of them when he says, “I just don’t want you to die.” Kevin’s doctors caution him that even a small blow to the head could be enough to kill him. Will Kevin defy them and insist on pursuing his passion? With his now impaired skills, what other options does he have? How much risk is too much?
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 8
Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of New Jersey
Presenation for youth and families by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center
Presented by Sarah Miele, outreach coordinator for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center based in Brigantine, NJ.
The Marine Mammal Center is a private non-profit organization based in Brigantine, New Jersey. Since the Center’s founding in 1978, staff and volunteers have responded to over 4000 calls for whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that washed ashore on New Jersey beaches. These animals range from a five-pound Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle to a 25-ton Humpback Whale (both of which are endangered species.)
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is dedicated to responding to marine mammals and sea turtles in distress along all of New Jersey’s waterways and to the rehabilitation of these animals for release back into the wild. In situations where animals may not be re-released, every effort is made to secure a proper, enriching facility to provide lifetime care. They are further committed to the well-being of marine mammals and to inspire responsible stewardship of our oceans through educational programs and collaboration.
Saving Otter 501
Produced by Amy Miller and Josh Rosen, directed by Bob Talbot and Mark Shelley.
2013, 60 min.
On a typical late summer day a baby sea otter washes up on the beach in Monterey, California — hungry, lost, injured. It’s a tragic event, but not surprising. California sea otters are struggling. For decades marine biologist Karl Mayer and his small staff have worked unceasingly — one otter at a time — to bring this “keystone” species back from the brink of extinction so it can play its important role in the local marine environment. But the effort has stalled, and no one knows why.
This is the story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 501st attempt to save an orphan otter. From her discovery as a stranded newborn pup crying on the beach through her rehabilitation in secret roof tanks atop the Aquarium, NATURE follows as Otter 501 learns how to dive, hunt, eat, and fend for herself in the wild, where survival is a long shot at best.
A PBS NATURE program, and production of Sea Studios Foundation and Thirteen Productions LLC in association with WNET.
Invisible Ocean: Plankton and Plastic
Produced and directed by Emily Driscoll
2014, 9 min.
During a Tara Oceans expedition to study the health of the oceans, NYC sci-artist Mara Haseltine finds an unsettling presence in samples of plankton she collected. The discovery inspires her to create a sculpture revealing an ongoing invisible battle beneath the water’s surface, showing that the microscopic Ocean world affects all life on Earth.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Emily Driscoll, producer/director and artist Mara Haseltine, who is featured in the film.
There is a poetic beauty in a story precisely told and we are delighted to present a selection of excellent examples. The session includes short films from around the world and the local community, as well as selections from our student contest which is co-sponsored by the Princeton University Office of Sustainability.
Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde
Directed and produced by Suzanne Mitchell
2013, 92 min.
Dayton Hyde’s destiny leads him on a dramatic journey through the West. From rodeos, conservation battles, and wild horse rescues, to award-winning books, personal heartbreak and new found love, “Running Wild” is a self-told tale of a 6’5” cowboy who demonstrates the importance of defending our natural world before it’s too late. Through his protection of wild horses, Hyde finds personal freedom delivering a message that we can truly make a difference if we try.
Running Wild includes breathtaking scenery shot in the Black Hills Wild of South Dakota; western Oregon and Michigan’s Lake District. Footage of captured wild horses presents a stark contrast to the horses running free on the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Through a series of interviews with Dayton, his family and the volunteers at the sanctuary, the film reveals Dayton Hyde’s extraordinary life and vision conveying the emotional healing that the sanctuary nurtures in Dayton, the volunteers and each and every horse that now runs free. Beyond telling this intimate story we are creating a film that also serves as an enduring record of tales from “a West that was and will never be again.”
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Suzanne Mitchell in person and Dayton Hyde via Skype.
Directed and produced by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
2013, 83 min.
“Blackfish” tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. A shocking compilation of footage and emotional interviews explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Associate Producer Tim Zimmermann.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9
Kiss the Water
Produced and directed by Eric Steel
2013, 80 min.
In a cottage in northern Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled bits of feather, fur, silver and gold into elaborate fishing flies – at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence, and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales.
With breathtaking cinematography and expressive, hand-painted animation, “Kiss the Water” adheres to and escapes from traditional documentary form, spinning the facts and fictions of one woman’s life into a stunning film about craft, devotion, love, and its illusions.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Eric Steel via videoconference.
A Will for the Woods
Produced by Amy Browne, co-directed by Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson.
2013, 92 min.
A man’s passionate wish for a legacy of green burials inspires a profoundly affecting and optimistic portrait of people finding meaning in death. Musician, folk dancer, and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans.
Determined that his last act will not harm the environment and may even help protect it, Clark has discovered the movement to further sustainable funerals that conserve natural areas. Enabling Clark’s wish is green burial pioneer Joe Sehee, who aims to realize this concept’s vast potential by helping define its goals and standards and endeavoring to open the world’s largest conservation burial ground. Moved by Clark’s persistence and relying on Joe’s guidance, local cemetarian Dyanne Matzkevich, though avowedly “not a greenie,” establishes the first natural burial ground in North Carolina. Together she and Clark endeavor to protect the tract of forest adjacent to her conventional cemetery, developing a close bond. While Clark continues the battle to overcome his illness, he and his partner Jane find great comfort in the thought that his death – whenever it happens – will be a force for regeneration.
“A Will for the Woods” is an immersive, life-affirming depiction of people coming to terms with mortality by embracing their connection to timeless natural cycles.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A via Skype with filmmakers Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson.
Closing Festival Film:
Directed by Steve Hoover
2013, 92 min.
Rocky Braat, a young man from a fractured family and a troubled past, went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage — a meeting that changed everything for him.
Rocky left his life, friends, and career in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to live with the kids. Steve Hoover, his best friend and filmmaker, was unsettled and intrigued by this drastic action. In an effort to find out what compelled Rocky to give up every source of stability in his life, Hoover decided to trace Rocky’s story, following him to India. He witnessed Rocky and the kids endure disease, abject poverty, and death. But, strangest of all, in the midst of these troubles, he also saw their deep joy. And he came to understand why Rocky had given up everything he had to experience it.
“Blood Brother” is a story of friendship. It’s a story of a life, stripped down to its essence. Most of all, it is a story about love, enduring in the face of death.