EARTHxFilm Announces Full Schedule for Environmental Film Festival Debut



EarthXFilm, presented by Earth Day Texas (EDTx), today announced the full slate of films, presentations, and panels for the environmentally focused film festival’s debut at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas on April 20-23. Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL will be the Opening Night selection for a Gala Presentation on Thursday, April 20, complete with a Green Carpet at the Music Hall at Fair Park (909 1st Avenue). Among the 18 feature films, 33 shorts, 5 virtual reality (VR) projects, and 6 works in progress, are films exploring highly charged topics such as the state of the oceans and rivers, our food and water sources, clean energy, GMOs, sustainable farming, overwhelming plastic pollution, threats to our national security due to rising sea levels, and more.
Earth Day Texas CEO Ryan Brown said, “Creating EARTHxFilm within Earth Day Texas is an opportunity to use the power of film to greatly enhance our mission to educate the public about the reality of our planet’s environment, as well as better illustrate the possibilities going forward further inspiring people to take action in a personal way. This impressive slate of films, projects, and panels, does all of that as well as being very entertaining.”
EARTHxFilm Founder/President, Michael Cain, added, “We have been fortunate in our very first year to secure award-winning films, provocative films, and some very entertaining and exciting cinema with a focus on the environment, as well as offer up a number of first-look opportunities for our audiences to see films and projects that have the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives in the future. The caliber of filmmakers and organizations who are supporting our inaugural effort only highlights the immediacy of the issues we face and the real quest for viable solutions that films help provide.”
Orlowski’s award-winning CHASING CORAL follows the filmmaker’s devastating documentary CHASING ICE (2012) which created irrefutable, visual proof of the melting ice caps, with another startling look at the status of one of the world’s most important ecosystems. Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. The film serves as a clarion call to do something before it gets too late.
In addition to two previously announced high profile titles that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell’s LOOK AND SEE: A PORTRAIT OF WENDELL BERRY, Susan Froemke and John Hoffman’s RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN), other notable films presented during the inaugural edition of EARTHxFilm include; Oscar nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s FOOD EVOLUTION, which looks at the controversy surrounding GMOs and food in a film narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson; Roger Williams and David Mcllvride’s RIVERBLUE, which features international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, and is narrated by Jason Priestley in a groundbreaking documentary examining the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and possible solutions to a dire situation; Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel’s award-winning SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY, which follows passionate seed keepers (including farmers, scientists, and lawyers) fighting to protect the world’s 12,000 year-old food legacy from biotech chemical companies attempting to control the majority of our seeds – and thus, the food we are allowed to eat; and Roger Sorkin’s TIDEWATER, which looks at how the U.S. military is fighting to save its highest concentration of bases from sea level rise, attempting to solve one of the greatest challenges to our national security and economic prosperity the nation has ever faced.
Free outdoor screenings include Bill Kroyer’s FERNGULLY (1992), the animated tale about the fight by the magical inhabitants of a rainforest to save their home, and David Lowery’s hit live-action updating of the Disney classic, PETE’S DRAGON. Fans of 70s kitschy horror, will get a kick out of George McCowan’s FROGS (1972), where a wealthy patriarch (Ray Milland) and his family see his birthday celebration on an island estate interrupted by killer amphibians, birds, insects, and reptiles.
EARTHxFilm will also feature a number of special screenings and works in progress highlighted by; Rameen Aminzadeh’s BIGGER THAN WATER, produced in Dallas, about the efforts of Flint, Michigan’s residents to fix their contaminated water systems that a politically negligent system created; a sneak peak of 15 minutes of Shannon Service and Jeff Waldman’s THE GHOST FLEET, with producer Jon Bowermaster in attendance, which will combine film footage and a panel discussion focusing on the connections between the decline of fishing stocks and human trafficking via the forced labor of commercial fishermen; Jamie Redford’s HAPPENING, about the filmmaker’s colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US; and Beau Ethridge and Daniel Nanasi’s WHERE’S THE FOOD? (WTF?), which will also combine key clips and footage from their film, and a panel discussion by the principals featured in the film, about the sustainable solutions to the food deserts plaguing Dallas, Texas, where 500,000 people are food insecure.
Virtual Reality (VR) will have a major presence at the film festival, with projects set for EARTHxFilm including; Jessie Hughes’s AMOR DE ABUELA – A GRANDMOTHER’S LOVE, which shows how a Guatemalan family’s life is transformed when their grandmother gains access to electricity and light; Sarah Hill’s “ARE YOU LISTENING?” Congo – Amazon, which is a multi-chapter video experience that combines immersive journalism with stories about how energy poverty is threatening lives in eastern Congo and sacred lands of the indigenous people in the Amazon; Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL: THE VR EXPERIENCE, a powerful extension of Orlowski’s documentary under the same title, about the quest of a group of filmmakers and ocean scientists to provide visual proof of climate change; Cascade Game Foundry SPC’s INFINITE SCUBA VR, which takes you on a virtual dive in Belize with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle; and Sophie Ansel’s OUT OF THE BLUE, which puts the viewer within the world of a family of fishermen in Mexico as they sacrifice their livelihood to save open ocean sea life from overfishing.
Festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, please go to

2017 EARTHxFilm Official Selections:

Director: Jared P. Scott
Country: USA, Running Time: 78min
THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
Director: Paul Allen Hunton
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
In the vast wilderness of Alaska, the earth is changing, threatening the history and culture of native peoples, natural landscapes, and the habitats of wild life. BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY examines how climate change is rapidly affecting Alaska, and will soon affect us all.
Director: Chuan Lu
Country: USA, Running Time: 76min
Venturing into the wilds of China, BORN IN CHINA captures intimate moments with a panda bear and her growing cub, a young golden monkey who feels displaced by his baby sister, and a mother snow leopard struggling to raise her two cubs.
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
Director: Bill Kroyer
Country: USA, Running Time: 76min
The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.
Director: Keith Malloy
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min
To some, the ocean is a fearsome and dangerous place. But to others, it’s a limitless world of fun, freedom and opportunity where life can be lived to the full. A new documentary presented by Patagonia and directed by Keith Malloy, FISHPEOPLE tells the stories of a unique cast of characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea. From surfers and spear fishers to a former coal miner and a group of inner city kids in San Francisco, it’s a film about the transformative effects of time spent in the ocean—and leaving our limitations behind to find deeper meaning in the saltwater wilderness that lies just beyond the shore.
Director: Mike Slee
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14min
It is a natural history epic. It is a detective story. Join hundreds of millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway, and one scientist’s 40-year search to unravel the mystery – where do they go each fall? Experience the FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES.
Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
From Academy Award® nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (THE GARDEN, FAME HIGH, OT: OUR TOWN) and narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, FOOD EVOLUTION is set amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by fear, distrust and confusion: the controversy surrounding GMOs and food.
FROGS (1972)
Director: George McCowan
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
A group of hapless victims celebrate a birthday on an island estate crawling with killer amphibians, birds, insects, and reptiles.
Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
LOOK AND SEE: A PORTRAIT OF WENDELL BERRY is a cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path.
Director: David Lowery
Country: USA, Running Time: 103min
Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim can be true.
Director: Craig Leeson
Country: USA, UK, Hong Kong, Running Time: 102min
A PLASTIC OCEAN brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. An international team of adventurers, researchers, and ocean ambassadors go on a mission around the globe to uncover the shocking truth about what is truly lurking beneath the surface of our seemingly pristine ocean.
Director: Louie Psihoyos
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
A documentary that follows undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction.
Directors: Susan Froemke, John Hoffman
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
From the Montana Rockies to the Kansas wheat fields and the Gulf of Mexico, families who work the land and sea are crossing political divides to find unexpected ways to protect the natural resources vital to their livelihoods. An official selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and narrated by Tom Brokaw, RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN is the next chapter of conservation heroism, deep in America's heartland.
Directors: Roger Williams, David Mcllvride
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
Following international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, RIVERBLUE spans the globe to infiltrate one of the world’s most pollutive industries, fashion. Narrated by clean water supporter Jason Priestley, this groundbreaking documentary examines the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future.
Directors: Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel
Country: USA, Running Time: 94min
Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds, worshiped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. Award winning documentary, SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY, follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000-year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.
Director: Linda Booker
Country: USA, Running Time: 32min
Used once and tossed, billions of plastic straws wind up in landfills and streets finding their way to oceans. Actor Tim Robbins narrates the history and story of STRAWS, and marine researchers, citizen activists, and business owners discuss how it's possible to make a sea of change, one straw at a time.
Director: Roger Sorkin
Country: USA, Running Time: 42min
In Hampton Roads, Virginia, the U.S. military is fighting to save its highest concentration of bases from sea level rise, attempting to solve one of the greatest challenges to our national security and economic prosperity the nation has ever faced.
Director: Michael Colin
Country, USA, Running Time: 53min
A gripping documentary that explores the plight of endangered sea turtles, with particular focus on efforts by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to protect threatened species of sea turtles in Costa Rica. Paul Watson in attendance.

Director: James Brundige
Country: USA, Running Time: 53min
WILD WAYS: CORRIDORS OF LIFE explores the cutting edge of Conservation Biology to discover how the world's parks and preserves can be connected and better function as the last enclaves of wild nature. The world’s iconic wildlife – lions, tiger, elephants, wolves, and grizzly bears – are in danger of extinction because parks around the world have become islands in a human dominated landscape. WILD WAYS probes a promising solution to the fragmentation of wildlife habitat – Connectivity Conservation.
BIGGER THAN WATER (Work in Progress)
Director: Rameen Aminzadeh
Country: USA, Running Time: 125min
Clean water is supposed to be every American’s birthright, but when Flint city officials fail to properly treat a vital water system, and state officials follow suit, residents fight to fix their vital lifeline and thwart the effects that apolitically negligent system created.
THE GHOST FLEET (Selected clips and panel with Jon Bowermaster)
Directors: Shannon Service, Jeff Waldman
Country: US, Running Time: 15min
Tens of thousands of commercial fishermen around the world are slaves, sold into forced labor by greedy companies looking to save as fishing stocks decline and human trafficking booms.
HAPPENING (Work in Progress)
Director: Jamie Redford
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
Filmmaker Jamie Redford embarks on a colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US. Unlikely entrepreneurs in communities from Lehi, UT to Georgetown, TX to Buffalo, NY reveal pioneering clean energy solutions while Jamie’s discovery of how clean energy works, and what it means at a personal level, becomes the audiences' discovery too. Reaching well beyond a great story of technology and innovation, HAPPENING explores issues of human resilience, social justice, embracing the future, and finding hope for our survival.
NATURE NEEDS HALF (Presentation)
Filmmaker and activist James Brundige will lead a workshop on Nature Needs Half – a global movement to protect and interconnect half of all the planet’s ecosystems – land and water – for the good of all life on earth. As the best science and traditional wisdom show us that existing global conservation goals are far too low to maintain a healthy and prosperous planet, Brundige and Media 186 are launching a Nature Needs Half Web Channel at Earth Day Texas. This is a bold, media–driven initiative to galvanize public audiences, conservation groups, philanthropists and governments to address the global biodiversity crisis at scale. Using film and social media for strategic impact, Nature Needs Half will promote a strikingly different relationship between people and nature to ensure a bountiful wild legacy for generations to come.
Director: Jeremy McKane
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min 
What happens when an artist, a scientist, and a conservationist explore the planet to study the impact of climate change on indigenous people? Mythology, history, art, and culture turn climate change into more than just a series of statistics. RIDGE TO REEF is a series of short documentary style films that focus on ancient wisdom as it relates to care for the oceans and our spaceship earth. In hopes that we find a way to curb our greatest challenge, survival. Jeremy McKane and Markus Reymann in attendance. Panel and clips to discuss the impact of climate change in the South Pacific.
WHERE’S THE FOOD? (WTF?) (Selected clips and panel)
Directors: Beau Ethridge, Daniel Nanasi
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min
A film about the sustainable solutions to the food deserts plaguing one of the wealthiest cities in the US where 500k people are food insecure.
Film4Climate Competition Winners from World Bank
Director: Josh Dawson,
Country: Australia, Running Time: 0:58min
Director: Sanyog Mohite
Country: India, Running Time: 2:55min
Director: Sydelle Willow Smith
Country: South Africa, Running Time: 4:37min
Director: Ferdaous Abouhaouari
Country: Morocco, Running Time: 4:42min
Director: Skyros Team
Country: Greece, Running Time: 0:51min
Director: Rafael Altamira
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 3:55min
Director: Lulu DeBoer,
Countries: Kiribati/USA, Running Time: 5:00min
Director: Maylis Mercat
Country: France, Running Time: 5:07min
Director: Karim Saheb
Country: Finland, Running Time: 5:00min
PALE BLUE DOT (Pálido Ponto Azul)
Director: Antonio Heitor Cantão
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 0:47min
Director: Christopher Hanson
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:09min
Director: Souksamlan Laladeth
Country: Laos, Running Time: 5:09min
Director: Nathan Dappen
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:53min
Director: Rameshwar Bhatt
Country: India, Running Time: 2:38min
Director: Loic Jouan
Country: France, Running Time: 1:00min
Director: Spencer Sharp
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:08min
Rainforest Partnership’s Films for the Forest – Total Running Time: 21min
Director: Evgenyi Schegolev
Country: Russia, Running Time: 2min
A woman is running through the forest as the first snow falls.
Director: Saman Hosseinpuor
Country: Iran, Running Time: 4min
A little girl is distracted by a falling leaf.
Director: Sanyog Mohite
Country: India, Running Time: 3min
A group of kids ask the military to help them save the rainforest.
Director: Sullivan Rauzi
Country: USA, Running Time: 3min
A gritty memory of the Lost Pines forest destroyed in the 2011 Bastrop County Complex forest fire.
Director: Tomer Eshed
Country: Australia, Running Time: 4min
The feeding habits of the common chameleon.
Running Time: 1min
Impressions: Why do you think rainforests are important?
Director: Heather Garcia
Country: USA, Running Time: 3min
Garner Fine Arts Academy (Grand Prairie, Texas) students dance to promote rainforest conservation.
Running Time: 1min
Impressions: Do you know what percentage of the world is covered by rainforests?
Shorts 4  Total Running Time: 20min
Director: Denise Dragiewicz
Country: Ecuador, Running Time: 15min
A small group of Ecuadorians are buying up remaining land in the Choco Rainforest of Ecuador, so community members have developed a sustainable way of growing cacao.
Director: Paul Redman
Country: USA, Running Time: 7min
A new model of conservation is emerging that values the role of local communities in Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico.
Director: Jill Rose
Country: Australia, Running Time: 8min
A poetic portrait of scientist Nick Holmes and his work preventing extinctions on islands.
Running Time: 3min
Introduction to Rainforest Partnership’s mission and its work in the Amazon.
Running Time: 2min
Impressions: What do you think we can do to protect rainforests?
Director: Jessie Hughes
A Guatemalan family’s life is transformed when their grandmother gains access to electricity and light.
“ARE YOU LISTENING?” Congo – Amazon (VR)
Director: Sarah Hill
A multi-chapter video experience that combines immersive journalism with stories about how energy poverty is threatening lives in eastern Congo and sacred lands of the indigenous people in the Amazon. Shot with virtual reality cameras and stitching equipment powered in part by solar energy, Are You Listening transports people near Riwindi, Congo, atop Mount Nyiragongovolcano and the Tapajos River in the Amazon Basin. There, users have the opportunity to experience daily life to better understand how not having electricity is dangerous park rangers, the Munduruku people and the places these guardians of the forest are trying to protect.
1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity. More power from the sun hits the earth in one hour than humanity uses in an entire year. These stories allow people to step inside a world they would not normally get to see and better understand what’s at stake if these communities don’t get access to reliable power.

Artist: Jeff Orlowski
This remarkably sobering VR is the powerful result of Jeff Orlowski’s project of the same name in documentary competition, about the quest of a group of filmmakers and ocean scientists to provide visual proof of climate change. This exclusive underwater experience follows Zackary Rago, a passionate scuba diver and researcher, as he documented the unprecedented 2016 coral bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. 

Artist: Cascade Game Foundry SPC
Do a virtual dive in Belize with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Director: Sophie Ansel
A family of fishermen in Mexico sacrifices their livelihood and saves open ocean sea life from overfishing. Narration by Sylvia Earle. 

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