Hosted by the Dogwood Initiative environmental activism takes on diverse forms in this stream of films, with communities across the globe standing up to forces often much larger than themselves. The incredible cinematography of many of these films underscores just what is at stake, and the stories of people rallying together to make change are inspiring.
Saturday’s program begins with Tribal Canoe Journey, a short but powerful film on the revival of an ancient tradition and the connection between culture and place. Reaching Blue combines stunning underwater cinematography with an exploration of the connection between climate change, the health of our oceans, and the coastal way of life. In Coastal Tar Sands we are able to explore BC’s northern coast from a kayak’s perspective on a journey through the “deleted” islands in Enbridge’s advertising campaign. We continue the theme of tar sand pipelines with Above All Else, a powerful tale of landowners rallying together to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. DamNation is a dramatic assessment of dams, their impact on our watersheds and the potential for a societal shift in thinking about our role in our ecosystems.
On Sunday, hope is fueled by hemp in Bringing it Home, a look at the vast array of sustainable products that come from industrial hemp. In A Dangerous Game we meet communities standing up to corporate greed and environmental destruction in the form of golf. We close with The Malagasy Way, a beautiful music-filled celebration of the ingenuity, pride and resourcefulness of a conservationist lifestyle in Madagascar.
5 min. | 2015 | Carswell Productions
FILMMAKER: Ed Carswell
Saturday, March 21 | 12:15 pm | Theatre 2
This film captures a rare event that happened in 2014 on a warm July evening in the K’omoks Estuary, B.C. As part of the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, massive dug-out canoes arrived in the estuary and were invited ashore by Chief Rob Everson and the K’omoks First Nation. Over the last 150 years, First Nation societies suffered many hardships and some of their traditions were outlawed. The canoe journey tradition was revived in 1986 and now sends a strong message to preserve culture, language, and our coastal waters.
22 min. | 2014 | Global Reef Films
FILMMAKERS: Ian Hinkle and Andy Robertson
Saturday, March 21 | 12:20 pm | Theatre 2
An oyster farmer, a writer and an ocean scientist share their thoughts about a coastal way of life under threat, where stories from our past give the inspiration to face the challenges of the future. Twenty-two cinematographers contribute beautiful imagery from deep-sea submarines, advanced ocean research vessels and drone cameras, to expose the changes our coastal waters face. Do we have the wisdom and resilience required to understand ocean change before time runs out?
78 min. | 2014
FILMMAKER: Richard Boyce
Saturday, March 21 | 1:00 pm | Theatre 2
Join Richard Boyce on a cinematic kayak journey to B.C.’s north coast where the Enbridge Corporation is determined to bring Alberta tarsands bitumen by a pipeline 1,170 km long across the Rocky and Coast Mountain Ranges to Kitimat. The filmmaker takes us through the maze of islands and narrow passages that were deleted in the $350 million Enbridge advertising campaign video. This is precisely where hundreds of supertankers loaded with millions of barrels of diluted bitumen will have to navigate through treacherous waters to reach Asian markets if the Northern Gateway project proceeds. Coastal Tarsands explores the coast, its natural features, weather, currents, wildlife and the people who live there.
95 min. | 2014 | Fiege Films
FILMMAKER: John Fiege
Saturday, March 21 | 2:30 pm | Theatre 2
Above All Else is an intimate portrait of a group of landowners and activists in East Texas who take peaceful direct action to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project slated to carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. What begins as a stand against corporate bullying becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide. Risking financial ruin, their personal safety and the security of their families, these unforgettable people and their stories become an exploration of the human spirit and a window into how social change happens. As Canadians begin to stand in the way of massive pipeline developments, this film is inspiring, dramatic and very timely.
BEST NORTH AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY, Global Visions Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, Dallas International Film Festival
88 min. | 2014 | IndieCan
FILMMAKERS: Travis Rummel & Ben Knight
Saturday, March 21 | 4:30 pm | Theatre 2
This powerful film odyssey across the U.S. explores the sea change in attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has gained acceptability. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds after decades without access. Diverse interests are coming together to find more cost-effective options to meet power, shipping, irrigation and other needs. Restoring rivers helps to preserve tribal customs, recover fish stocks, revitalize waterfronts, improve recreational opportunities and render watersheds more resilient to climate change. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
AUDIENCE CHOICE, South by Southwest Festival
AUDIENCE AWARD, Mountain Films in Telluride
53 min. | 2013 | McNabb/Connolly
FILMMAKERS: Linda Booker & Blaire Johnson
Sunday, March 22 | 12:15 pm | Theatre 2
A father’s search to find the healthiest building materials leads him to the completion of the first hemp house in the U.S. Hemp with lime, hempcrete, is a non-toxic, energy efficient, mildew, fire and pest resistant building material. Although it is grown in 31 countries, growing hemp remains off-limits to almost all U.S. farmers. Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive plant that provides the raw materials for thousands of sustainable products which can improve nutrition, stop deforestation and offer hope in a time of global warming. Bringing it Home tells the story of hemp, past, present and future, and a global industry that includes textiles, building materials, food products, bio-plastics, auto parts and more.
JURY AWARD, Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival
DIRECTOR’S CHOICE AWARD & BEST ENVIRONMENTAL FILM, Sedona International Film Festival
90 min. | 2014 | Montrose Pictures Ltd.
FILMMAKER: Anthony Baxter
Sunday, March 22 | 1:30 pm | Theatre 2
A Dangerous Game is the sequel to Baxter’s award-winning documentary You’ve Been Trumped! It is about the environmental, cultural, historical and human costs of golf, a game that has been hijacked by the rich and powerful. Documenting the stories of people and communities in Scotland, Croatia and the U.S. who are standing up against developer tycoons like Donald Trump, this film clearly shows how economics, politics, human rights, and the environment intersect. A Dangerous Game showcases hope, dignity, struggle and triumph as people and communities stand up to protect themselves, their communities and the environment.
84 min. | 2014 | Laterit Productions
FILMMAKER: Lova Nantenaina
Sunday, March 22 | 3:30 pm | Theatre 2
“The Chinese make everything and the Malagasy fix everything.” The people of Madagascar pride themselves on producing things out of nothing: tires transformed into shoes, oil lamps made out of light bulbs, wheelbarrows fashioned from scrap metal. You see ingenuity not underdevelopment in their practices. A return to a conservationist lifestyle that encourages recycling, fraternity and self-reliance makes perfect sense. Will the world pay attention? Filmmaker Lova Nantenaina venerates the family business, the clever artisan, the resourceful craftspeople and those who possess the ability to create using everyday objects. The Malagasy Way is a poetic, music-filled and proverb-packed lesson in creativity and resistance.