EcoFocus Film Festival announces 2010 lineup

Athens, Ga. – A world premiere and a U.S. premiere will be among the twenty-two feature and twenty-four short films to be screened at the third annual EcoFocus Film Festival in Athens, Sept. 24 to Oct. 3.

EcoFocus, an initiative of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology in cooperation with Ciné, shows a diverse range of environmental films that promote discussion and inspire audiences to awareness and action on behalf of the environment. Interactive events, such as panel discussions, workshops, and discussions with the filmmakers, complement the screenings and allow audience members to engage more directly with the issues raised by the films. For the first time this year, each feature film will be screened with one or more short films.

EcoFocus 2010 explores a broad spectrum of environmental topics. A number of this year’s films (Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez, Burning in the Sun, Carbon Nation, Dirty Business: Clean Coal and the Battle for Our Energy Future, Houston We Have a Problem, and The Last Days of Shishmaref) focus on issues surrounding energy production and climate change. Several concern local food and schools (…And This Is My Garden, Lunch Line, and What’s On Your Plate?) while others tackle the issue of waste (Bag It, Dive! and Waste Land) and biodiversity and species loss (Call of Life and Queen of the Sun).

A locally made film, Slow Coffee will be shown as part of the last day of the festival on Sunday, Oct. 3. Slow Coffee highlights the efforts of local coffee roaster Ben Myers and his colleagues in rainforest conservation at the Maquipucuna Reserve in Ecuador and at the World Institute of Slowness.

Highlights of EcoFocus 2010 include:

Opening Night with the Filmmakers: Double feature with Houston We Have a Problem and Bag It

Filmmakers Nicole Torre and Suzan Beraza will present their films, host Q & A sessions with audience members after each screening, and mix and mingle with EcoFocus enthusiasts between film screenings on EcoFocus opening night, Friday, Sept. 24, starting at 6 p.m. at Ciné. Filmmaker Nicholas Sherman, who will present his film Soundtracker on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m., will take part in this special night with the filmmakers.

Families and Educators Day

Sunday, Sept. 26 is Families and Educators Day. This day of films and activities is geared toward parents, educators, kids, and anyone who thinks that how kids eat, play, and learn is important. EcoKids activities and film session will take place in the CinéLab during each feature film session. Films to be screened include Lunch Line, Play Again, A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW, …And This Is My Garden, and What’s On Your Plate? Families and Educators Day is free, and takes place, 12 – 7 p.m. at Ciné.

The Gulf Oil Spill: Film Screening and Discussion with Riki Ott, Samantha Joye and James Porter

Friday, Oct. 1 will be an evening of film and discussion about the recent accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez will screen at 7 p.m. at Ciné, followed by a dialogue with marine toxicologist Riki Ott, who has been documenting the effects of the Exxon Valdez spill for 20 years; UGA marine scientist Samantha Joye; and James Porter, associate dean of the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

World Premiere of Chattahoochee: From Water War to Water Vision
This new film by Rhett Turner and Jonathan Wickham chronicles the tri-state water dispute. The filmmakers will be on hand to discuss the film after the screening, and will be joined by Sally Bethea, executive director of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and April Ingle, executive director of the Georgia River Network. The film will screen on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Ciné and will be followed by a dinner reception, with food by the National at 8:30 p.m.

United States Premiere of Vienen por el oro, vienen por todo (They come for the gold, they come for it all)

Multiple award-winning documentary Vienen por el oro, vienen por todo tells the story of the residents of a small town in Patagonia who stood up to an international mining corporation to protect their homes. It will screen on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. at Ciné.

EcoFocus Around the Globe: A Day of Intercultural Eco-Films

The final day of the festival, Sunday, Oct. 3, features films and discussions that raise awareness of environmental issues being faced by other cultures and countries around the globe. The day opens with a locally-made short film, Slow Coffee, which screens at 10 a.m. Slow Coffee highlights the efforts of Athens coffee roaster Ben Myers and his colleagues in rainforest conservation at the Maquipucuna Reserve in Ecuador. Free food will be available all day. Other films to be screened as part of EcoFocus Around the Globe include The Last Days of Shishmaref, Vienen por el oro, vienen por todo (They came for the gold, they came for it all), Burning in the Sun, and Waste Land.

EcoFocus 2010 feature films include:

…And This Is My Garden directed by Katharina Stieffenhofer

Bag It directed by Suzan Beraza

Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez directed by Robert Cornellier

Born Sweet directed by Cynthia Wade

Burning in the Sun directed by Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson

Call of Life directed by Monte Thompson

Carbon Nation directed by Peter Byck

Chattahoochee: From Water War to Water Vision directed by Rhett Turner and Jonathan Wickham

Dirt! The Movie directed by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow

Dirty Business: Clean Coal and the Battle for Our Energy Future directed by Peter Bull

Dive! directed by Jeremy Seifert

Greenlit directed by Miranda Bailey

Houston We Have a Problem directed by Nicole Torre

Lunch Line directed by Ernie Park and Michael Graziano

Play Again directed by Tonje Hessen Schei

Queen of the Sun directed by Taggart Siegel

Soundtracker directed by Nicholas Sherman

Sun Come Up directed by Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger

The Last Days of Shishmaref directed by Jan Louter

Vienen por el oro, vienen por todo (They come for the gold, they come for it all) directed by Pablo D’Alo Abba and Cristián Harbaruk

Waste Land directed by Lucy Walker; co-directed by João Jardin and Karen Harley

What’s On Your Plate? directed by Catherine Gund

EcoFocus 2010 short films include:

11 Degrees directed by Anna Ewert

A Dog Goes from Here to There by Carl Knickerbocker

A Mongolian Couch directed by George Clipp and Eva Arnold

A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW directed by David Donnenfield and Kevin White

A Tree and a Flower directed by Tomoko Oguchi

Coffee Awakens a National Economy directed by Rob Holmes

Cravings directed by Jane Sablow

CUD directed by Joe York

Die Rechnung (The Bill) directed by Peter Wedel

Eclipse directed by Liat Koren

India Explains Solar Power to Rudy directed by Anita George

I Stopped for a Turtle This Morning directed by Champ Williams

Lighter on the Planet directed by Michael Lyons

Mashed directed by Adam Fisher

Plastic and Glass directed by Frédéric Papon

Save the Future directed by Jenny Deller

Skimming the Surface directed by Landon Lott and Tim Arnold

Slow Coffee directed by Jason Miller and Ben Myers

Smart Machine directed by Jane Sablow

The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger directed by Bill Plympton

The Machine directed by Paul Blayney

The Smallest Thing directed by Yong Jin Kim

Truth or Consequences directed by Sebastian Hernandez

Wishful Thinking directed by Jane Sablow

Details about the films and events are available on the EcoFocus website at http://www.ecofocusfilmfest.org/.

EcoFocus was initiated in 2008 to bring awareness of environmental issues and ecological science to an audience beyond the classroom, as part of the Odum School’s service and outreach mission. “The medium of film can convey information in a way that a lecture or paper-no matter how well crafted-can’t ,” said John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School. “EcoFocus is an important way to convey scientific knowledge to the public at large.”

Major financial support for EcoFocus is provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation and George and Celia Fontaine.