EarthxFilm Announces Full Lineup of Films for 3rd Edition of the Fest (April 19-28)



EarthxFilm presented by EarthX, today announced the full slate of films and VR presentations for the environmentally focused film festival’s 3rd edition at Fair Park and theaters throughout Dallas, Texas on April 19-28. Following a “Kick-Off” week of special screenings and events from April 19-24, Ben Masters’ THE RIVER AND THE WALL will serve as this year’s Special Spotllight Screening selection with a Gala Presentation at the Perot Museum on Thursday, April 25.

Among the 16 feature films, 40 shorts, 40+ immersive entertainment experiences and exhibits that shine a light on important conservation efforts, the continued adaptation necessary due to the effects of climate change, and investigation into the impact – oftentimes unexpectedly – into areas of our lives because of pollution, lack of conservation, and global warming. EarthxFilm will once again give an important platform to the filmmakers and the truth they have discovered and uncovered that reaches all of us – many times in our own backyards.

EarthxFilm will also continue its work to take a more active role in helping effect change and be a positive force in addition to introducing these films to the Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas audiences, by handing out a number of cash prizes to the film festival’s award-winning filmmakers, to aid them in continuing their important work, help further along future projects careers of the filmmakers, and assist in the continued exhibition of these important films. Cash jury and audience prizes will total $25,000 this year.

EarthxFilm’s co-Founder/President, Michael Cain, said, “This year, we will continue to increase our footprint across Dallas, screening films, presenting virtual reality, interactive projects and environmentally-focused panels at a number of theaters and venues all over the city – beyond our wonderful hub at Fair Park during EarthX, April 26-28. These films and the filmmakers behind them deserve the largest audiences we can provide as the impact and immediacy of their subjects touch every one of us.”

EarthxFilm Artistic Director David Holbrooke, said, “This year’s EarthxFilm slate clearly shows the urgency of the many crucial battles going on all over the world on the environmental landscape. However, these documentaries aren’t simply earnest attempts to advocate for a just cause but are serious, well-crafted stories that bear witness to what is happening out there on the front lines. Audiences will be motivated and inspired by the real life heroes in these movies and will come out of the theaters ready to make their own impact.”

Previously announced, Masters’ THE RIVER AND THE WALL follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Inspired by the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead, and what he saw as the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas, Masters recruited NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on a two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.

Highlights include films featuring the attempt to save animals and species around the world, whose survival also has an impact far beyond that single life or the one species’ lives. Those films include David Hambridge’s KIFARU, about the effort of a small group of rangers in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, devoted to caring for and protecting Sudan, the last male white rhino, along with Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. Richard Ladkani’s SEA OF SHADOWS focuses on the fight to save the earth’s smallest whale, the vaquita, which is at the point of extinction due to the mass fishing of the totoaba (described as the “cocaine of the sea” due to the black market price for the fish’s bladder) in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Rob Stewart’s SHARKWATER EXTINCTION follows the late filmmaker and activist’s continued efforts to expose the shark fin and fishing industry that continue to drive the extinction of the species. Ross Kauffman’s TIGERLAND weaves together two stories of tiger conservation – one a half century ago in India, and the second, which is taking place today in Russia’s Far East, where guardians of the last Siberian tigers risk everything to save the species.

Additional highlights include John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, about a couple that took a vision to start a farm that produced a wide variety of fresh, thoughtfully grown food and turned it into a robust and highly functioning biodynamic operation that grows food without pesticides, poisons or any of the other mainstays of modern farming. Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron’s GHOST FLEET shows the human trafficking in the Thailand fishing industry that has resulted fromyears of illegal and invasive fishing forcing boats further and further from shore. Slater Jewell-Kemker’s YOUTH UNSTOPPABLE: THE RISE OF THE GLOBAL YOUTH CLIMATE MOVEMENT follows the 15-year-old filmmaker’s chronicling of the rise of young environmental activists fighting for a better future. In this film, she tells her eight year story from the unique perspective of an activist whose coming of age paralleled the movement’s.

Two films at the festival share the lineage of one of the “fathers” of conservation and the sea, Jacques Cousteau. Céline Cousteau’s TRIBES ON THE EDGE, takes his granddaughter into the depths of the Amazon jungle where she bears witness to indigenous communities’ fight for survival. There, she shares rarely seen cultural traditions and ways of life that oftentimes clash with their colonial backdrop, documenting the mounting threats to their land, health and ways of life. Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jean-Jacques Mantello WONDERS OF THE SEA – 3D continues Cousteau’s father’s mission: educating the world about the miracles of the sea so they too will protect its vast, fragile and crucial resources.

EarthxInteractive, the interactive sub-division of the film festival, will present more than 40 cutting-edge virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences that push the boundaries of storytelling. Employing immersive technology to raise awareness for pressing global environmental issues, attendees will have the opportunity to go on wild, immersive journeys like swim with sharks, explore conservation efforts for some of the world’s greatest reefs and free dive with endangered whales in remote waters. The programming aligns closely with the year’s expo theme “Water for All,” showcasing ways to sustain clean, clear, abundant water for all and to protect the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes through immersive content.

From April 26-28, visitors will enjoy a lineup of top experiences, educational workshops and exhibits that address relevant environmental issues. Attendees will also be treated to world premieres including Underwater Earth’s “Guardians of the Kingdom,” narrated by Sylvia Earle – a 360 film that transports audiences into the waters of Tonga to reconnect whales and humans, 360 Labs’ 360 film “Tree Hugger,” which inserts viewers’ heads into a tree knot for a chance to explore the Sequoia’s inner world. Conservation International’s interactive VR experience “The Elephant Keeper” —supported by HTC Vive VR for Impact—will also be consumer premiering and screening alongside the 360-degree film “My Africa” featuring Academy Award-winning actress and activist Lupita Nyong’o.

Festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, please go to

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2019 EarthxFilm Official Selections


Spotlight Screening
Director: Ben Masters
Country: USA, Running Time: 99 min
In his last feature-length film, UNBRANDED, Ben Masters set out to cross America on wild mustangs in an unforgettable journey across public lands. In his latest film, he sets out with an equally audacious and challenging plan: to navigate 1,200 miles of the border between the USA and Mexico on horses, mountain bikes and canoes. While everything the native Texan does involves some sort of adventure, his real purpose in THE RIVER AND THE WALL is to explore the wildlife across this complex and diverse terrain, and understand how it would be affected by the wall proposed by President Donald Trump. The film provides an different layer to the debate raging from Washington, D.C. to El Paso and beyond as Masters paddles, pedals and rides his way through this thorny issue.

Director: John Chester
Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min
John and Molly Chester were living in Santa Monica when they were forced to move from their apartment because their dog was making too much noise for the neighbors. What they moved to was a dream of sorts, a scratchy, tired farm less than an hour from Los Angeles. Molly was a chef with a vision of a farm that produced a wide variety of fresh, thoughtfully grown food that she could cook with. John’s background was filmmaking. And together with no real agricultural experience between the couple, they took on the arduous, multi-year task of reimagining and reworking their Apricot Lanes Farm into a robust and highly functioning biodynamic operation that stays true to their values of growing food without pesticides, poisons or any of the other mainstays of modern farming. Their story is captured in this remarkable film that educates and inspires us on how we can eat and live a different life.

Director: Judith A. Helfand
Country: USA, Running Time: 83 min
What’s the best way to prepare for disaster? In today’s era of mega-storms, raging wildfires and record-breaking floods, that question is on the minds of many. In COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE, a film inspired by Eric Kinenberg’s book HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, director Judith A. Helfand carefully unpacks the topic. Helfand takes viewers on a journey from the deadly 1996 Chicago heat disaster to the extreme weather, extreme disparity and the politics of disaster that define today’s modern era, posing the question: What if a zip code was just a number, and not a life-or-death sentence?

Directors: Shannon Service, Jeffrey Waldron
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
Thailand’s seafood industry is one of the largest in the world. But years of illegal and invasive fishing have forced boats further and further from shore, leaving then chronically undermanned. And an insidious solution has emerged: human traffickers sell captives into slavery on the ships. There, the men — who were often tricked or kidnapped into servitude — are worked to the bone, beaten, maimed and never paid. Many go years without seeing land; others escape but are never the same. And all unwillingly contribute to an industry that is obliterating ocean ecosystems. Told through the eyes of three activists — a woman who devotes her life to rescuing and finding compensation for the men, a former slave and a local fixer — GHOST FLEET offers a somber and eye-opening exposé into a shadowy world of greed and mistreatment, and the individuals fighting to shut it down, one freed slave at a time.

Director: Pete McBride
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
When photojournalist Pete Mcbride and author Kevin Fedarko set out to hike the entire length of the Grand Canyon — a grueling 750-mile transect through some of the country’s most unforgiving terrain — they learn the hard way why only a handful of humans have pulled off the feat. It’s a tremendous challenge that entails oppressive heat, dizzying exposure and incredible physical stamina. But the trek allows them to take on a more important mission: documenting the threats that surround one of America’s most iconic national parks. In INTO THE CANYON, the duo venture into the fragile and otherworldly landscape, examining what’s at risk to be lost to uranium mining, large-scale development, growing helicopter traffic and more. Along the way, they battle the heat, scramble through exposed cliffs, get snowed on, nearly die once or twice and gain intimate knowledge of the canyon’s singular, magnetic, life-changing draw.

Director: David Hambridge
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
In Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, rangers devote their lives to caring for and protecting Sudan, the last male white rhino, along with Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. It’s a privilege and duty they take seriously, no matter how fruitless it can seem. “Sudan is not just another rhino. He is a perfect candidate to help people realize there is a mystic in the wild,” one ranger says. “I guess he has a feeling of what he stands for.” KIFARU follows two young recruits over their first four years on the job as they experience the heartbreak and joy of caring for animals whose fate appears sealed. “Why do we fight and plunder the world until nothing is left?” one ranger asks. “The harder question to answer is, why do we give everything to a cause that seems so hopeless?” This film, which lets viewers experience extinction in real time, helps answer that.

Director: Richard Ladkani
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
Mexico’s Sea of Cortez is under attack. Thousands of nets drift down, walls of death meant to snare the totoaba — whose bladder fetches huge sums of money on the Chinese black market. But the bycatch extends to all forms of marine life, including the earth’s smallest whale, the vaquita, a rare creature endemic to the Sea of Cortez whose population has been fished to fewer than 30 individuals. Despite government shutdowns of fishing and public awareness campaigns, market forces continue to drive the activity, the lure of big payouts attracting even shadowy cartel involvement. SEA OF SHADOWS follows a riveting story of resource exploitation and institutional corruption — where casualties go beyond sea creatures — and the heroic activists and scientists staging an all-out war to save the precious vaquita before it’s too late.

Director: Nicolas Brown
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
Beginning in the 1960s, a handful of young scientists headed into the wilderness, driven by their insatiable curiosity about how nature works. From the Amazon jungle to Pacific tide pools and the Arctic Ocean, these scientists roamed wide and devoted themselves wholly to their work, going on to make discoveries that define how we understand the cycles, patterns and rules of life on Earth. THE SERENGETI RULES shines a spotlight on these unsung heroes of modern ecology, assembling them to share stories of adventures, breakthroughs and passion for nature that has never abated. What unfolds is an endearing mosaic of wonder, discovery, human ingenuity and wisdom we can all learn from.

Director: Rob Stewart
Country: Canada, Running Time: 87 min
Photographer, filmmaker and activist Rob Stewart dedicated his life to bringing attention to the plight of sharks. In 2006, his film SHARKWATER brought the issue of shark finning into the spotlight, helping to catalyze widespread banning of the practice. But 15 years later, 150 million sharks are killed each year — more than half of which are unaccountable to scientists. Bent on saving sharks before it’s too late, Stewart set out to make a sequel. SHARKWATER EXTINCTION follows the filmmaker and a posse of activists as they jet around the world — from Costa Rica to France and West Africa — to expose the shark fin and fishing industry that continue to drive the extinction of the species. Navigating a murky world of corruption, pirate boats and crime, the team risks their safety and freedom. And Stewart, whose mission is to get people to fall in love with the animals that have shaped his life, makes the ultimate sacrifice to the cause.

Directors: Michelle Dougherty, Daniel Hinerfield
Country: USA, Running Time: 63 min
Beneath the vast blue expanse of the ocean, marine life — from beluga whales to sleek seals and clicking crabs — depend on sound for survival, prosperity and communication. And collectively, sea animals create an vast symphony that fills the deep blue each day. But humans are injecting an ever-increasing amount of man-made noise in the ocean — through shipping, military exercises and other practices — and this accumulation of sound is threatening entire ecosystems. SONIC SEA examines the destructive effects of sonic pollution in the world’s oceans, and digs into ways that humans can reduce the impacts by making the sea a more serene place for its vital inhabitants.

Director: Mat Hames
Country: USA, Running Time: 63 min
Water is life. It is crucial to survival, a successful civilization, and in the modern era, the ability to make energy. That means that water is vulnerable when energy is in short supply, and energy is vulnerable when water is in short supply. THIRST FOR POWER, which is based on the book by Dr. Michael E. Webber, explores humanity’s long relationship with water, tracing the connection between water and energy through history. From the ruins of Roman aqueducts to the mountains of California and the vast deserts of Texas, the film explores innovations and lessons about this precious resource that we would be wise to learn from.

Director: Ross Kauffman
Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min
Tigers have long been feared and revered in equal measure. They are beautiful killers, majestic creatures and myth makers — their power a thing of awe. Not long ago, they roamed vast swaths of the earth in numbers around 100,000. Today, though, their habitat is a fraction of what it was, and poachers have slain them by the thousands. Many subspecies are extinct, and the number of tigers in the wild has dwindled to fewer than 4,000. TIGERLAND, an elegiac homage to the animals, weaves together two stories of tiger conservation. The first took place first half a century ago in the jungles of India, where a young officer rallied the world to save the animals from extinction. The second is unfolding today in Russia’s Far East, where guardians of the last Siberian tigers risk everything to save the species. “For me, losing the tiger would be the loss of something divine,” says Pavel Fomenko, one of the film’s subjects. “We cannot allow it.”

Director: Céline Cousteau
Countries: USA/Brazil, Running Time: 75 min
When Céline Cousteau, filmmaker, activist and granddaughter of the legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, was asked by an indigenous leader to tell the story of his people in the Amazon jungle of South America, she knew she had to help. “We are dying,” the man told her. “My people are going extinct.” Building on her family legacy of exploration and environmental filmmaking, Cousteau sets out on a quest that takes her deep into the jungle, where she bears witness to indigenous communities’ fight for survival. There, she shares rarely seen cultural traditions and ways of life that oftentimes clash with their colonial backdrop, documenting the mounting threats to their land, health and ways of life.

Directors: Alex Jablonski, Kahlil Hudson
Country: USA, Running Time: 77 min
As the climate heats up, wildfires are becoming more and more part of our everyday, especially in California where WILDLAND is set. Filmmaker Alex Jablonski wanted to understand a different aspect of this challenge by getting to know the men and women on the frontlines of wildland fire. He found a private firefighting unit and embedded with them, training and learning himself as he discovered a set of fascinating characters who were dealing with their own struggles beyond the fire. WILDLAND deftly tells their stories with an aesthetic and sensitivity that is exceptional. It’s a serious filmmaking achievement.

Directors: Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jean-Jacques Mantello
Countries: UK/France, Running Time: 82 min
When Jean-Michel Cousteau was a young diver exploring the wonders of the ocean with his father, the legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, his father said something he’d never forget. “He told me, ‘people protect what they love,’” the younger Cousteau recounts. Those words inspired him to devote his own life to continuing his father’s mission: educating the world about the miracles of the sea so they too will protect its vast, fragile and crucial resources. In WONDERS OF THE SEA, Jean-Michel does just that, leading his children Celine and Fabian on a journey from Fiji to the Bahamas to discover the beautiful, strange and vital world beneath the sea. Along the way, they find blooming coral creatures, hulking turtles, elaborately patterned fish, miniscule swimmers, spindly ocean spiders and intimidating hammerhead sharks. “If you protect the ocean,” Jean-Michel says, “you protect yourself and future generations.”

Director: Slater Jewell-Kemker
Country: Canada, Running Time: 91 min
Record heat waves, unprecedented storms, devastating droughts. The effects of climate change become more real with each passing day. And the generation that will have to deal with the fallout? They are angry, energized, motivated and unstoppable. At the age of 15, precocious filmmaker Slater Jewell-Kemker began shooting the rise of young environmental activists fighting for a better future. Over the next eight years, camera in hand, she documented rallies, UN summits, major climate conferences and the stories of young people from places like Bangladesh and Nepal whose lives were affected by climate change. And through it, she became a stalwart figure in the global youth climate movement. In this film, she tells the story from the unique perspective of an activist whose coming of age paralleled the movement’s.




Director: Christopher Newman
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

Directors: Wylie Overstreet, Alex Gorosh
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

Director: Jordi Esgleas Marroi
Countries: Spain/Solomon Islands/Portugal, Running Time: 27 min

Director: Ellen Esling
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min

Director: Jess Colquhoun
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min

Director: Thom Beers
Country: USA, Running Time: X min

Director: Max Lowe
Country: USA, Running Time: 19 min

Director: Fitz Cahall, David Morton
Countries: USA/Nepal, Running Time: 13 min

Director: Bruce Donnelly
Country: South Africa, Running Time 13 min

Directors: Benjamin Drummond, Sara Joy Steele
Country: USA, Runnning Time: 6 min

Directors: Simon Lane, Victor Frankowski
Country: UK, Running Time: 4 min

Directors: Colin Arisman, Tyler Wilkinson-Ray
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min

Directors: Toby Pike, Krystle Wright
Countries: Australia/USA, Running Time: 5 min

Director: Dominic Gill
Countries: USA/Puerto Rico, Running Time: 9 min

Director: Jenny Nichols
Country: Greenland, Running Time: 22 min

Director: Eric Bendick
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

Director: Tahria Sheather
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

Directors: Palmer Morse, Rachel Weinberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min.

Director: Casey Beck
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

Directors: Guille Isa, Angello Faccini
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min

Director: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Country: USA, Running Time: 30 min

Director: Nicol Ragland
Country: USA, Running Time: 21 min

Directors: Tucker Gragg, Austin Gardner
Country: USA, Running Time: 26 min

Director: Jason van Bruggen
Country: Canada, Running Time: 4 min

Director: Ben Moon
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

Director: Scott Rice
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

Director: Scott Rice
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

Directors: Ben Knight, Travis Rummel
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

Director: Nils Hedinger
Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 8 min

Directors: Ben Knight and Travis Rummel
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

Director: Quentin Marcault
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

Director: Jessica Plumb
Country: France, Running Time: 5 min

Director: Josie Swantek Heitz
Country: USA, Running Time, 24 min

Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Roger Ross Williams
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min

Director: David Holbrooke
Country: USA, Running Time: 24 min

Director: Rory WT
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

Director: Ted Simpson
Country: UK, Running Time: 11 min

Director: Jordan Manley
Country: Canada, Running Time: 40 min

Director: Rishi Chandna
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

Director: Fraser Jones
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min

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