The University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will present a 4-day environmental film festival at Ciné in downtown Athens Oct. 23-26. Open to the public, EcoFocus will feature world-class environmental films, as well as children’s programming, Q&A sessions with film directors and more.
“The success of films such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth demonstrates how effective film can be in raising public awareness about environmental issues,” said Sara Beresford, EcoFocus managing director. “Each year, numerous films are made highlighting ecological subjects, but only with limited releases. EcoFocus is designed to help bridge that gap by bringing a collection of these important films to UGA and Athens.”
EcoFocus will kick off at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday with the new Werner Herzog film, Encounters at the End of the World, which will be one of ten feature-length films included in the festival and according to Beresford, offers a perspective of life in Antarctica. Local Athens artist Alan Campbell, who has traveled to Antarctica many times over the last 20 years, will be present to discuss the film, along with a panel of Antarctica researchers and artists.
The film event will also showcase two 2008 Sundance Film Festival winners, as well as films of particular local interest, including Carving Up Oconee: A Rural County Fights for its Future. The full schedule of events is on the official EcoFocus web site at www.ecofocusfilmfest.org.
Saturday evening will be geared toward the local sustainable food movement. A selection of feature films will be shown that evening including the award-winning Tableland, about the sustainable food chain, from farmers to chefs to consumers. In addition, The Garden, a moving documentary about farmers being removed from their fourteen-acre community farm in South Central Los Angeles, will be shown.
“Two of our most visually stunning and unforgettable films are about ocean creatures,” said Beresford. “One is Saving Luna, a poignant and thought-provoking story about a young Orca whale that became trapped in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, Canada. The other is Sharkwater and is about the mass exploitation of sharks and one man’s journey to document the situation.”
Festival events will take place both day and evening, except for opening night. The closing event on Sunday evening will feature winners of the EcoFocus Short Film Competition. More than 50 entries were submitted to the competition from around the world and were judged by an international panel of filmmakers.
Additional information about the festival can be found at www.ecofocusfilmfest.org.
Festival passes are available for purchase online or at the Ciné box office. Individual screening tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, and are available for advance or day-of purchase starting Oct. 15 at the Ciné box office, which can be reached at 706/353-7377.
“We must change our way of thinking about how and why we interact with the environment,” said John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School. “Scientific facts help do this, but the really convincing ideas are through everyday things such as art and film. It is our hope that EcoFocus will help promote discuss and inspire action on behalf of the environment.”