Acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice will open the 2013 EcoFocus Film Festival on Thursday, March 21 at Ciné in Athens, Georgia. A stunning visual chronicle of global change, Chasing Ice is the story of National Geographic photographer James Balog’s efforts to capture undeniable evidence of climate change across the Arctic. The 7:00 p.m. screening will be preceded by an opening night party at 6:00 p.m. and followed by a panel discussion.
An initiative of the Odum School of Ecology now in its sixth year, EcoFocus features top-quality full-length, short, and children’s films that address pressing environmental issues, in conjunction with special events including panel discussions, receptions, and hands-on activities. As in previous years, awards for feature-length, short, and children’s films will be chosen by audience votes.
This year’s festival runs from March 20-24, starting with a free screening of Switch, a surprising and pragmatic look at energy alternatives, at the Miller Learning Center on the University of Georgia campus at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.
A highlight of EcoFocus 2013 will be the Blue Carpet Premiere of the Ripple Effect Film Project, which will take place on Friday, March 22 at 6:00 p.m. The Ripple Effect Film Project, sponsored by the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office, invited Athenians to submit 30-second films about water conservation; filmmakers of all ages and levels of experience participated. After the 6:00 p.m. reception, the Ripple Effect films will screen at 7:00 p.m. with Last Call at the Oasis, which documents the effects of, and suggests solutions to, the global water crisis.
The EcoKids Event will be held on Sunday, March 24 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Ciné, and will include a screening of Bag It, a 45-minute film about reducing plastic waste, followed by crafts and activities presented by the Athens Montessori School.
Other highlights of this year’s festival include the short film Irish Folk Furniture, winner of the Sundance jury prize for animated short, and the Oscar-nominated The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, which also won a Sundance jury prize for non-fiction short film.
Also notable are The Human Scale, which explores cities and how to plan them in ways that take human behavior into account; Cafeteria Man, about an inspired—and inspiring—New Orleans chef who sets out to change the way children eat in schools; Dear Governor Cuomo, which chronicles the efforts of a group of musicians, scientists, and activists to convince New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in his state; and Trash Dance, a collaboration between sanitation workers and choreographer Allison Orr that results in a unique and graceful dance performance.
EcoFocus is supported by the UGA Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, the Odum School of Ecology, and the UGA Office of Sustainability, and is made possible by the support of many individuals, organizations, foundations, and sponsors from the Athens community and beyond. For details about the festival schedule, a complete listing of films, and ticket information, visit www.ecofocusfilmfest.org.