2017 Official Selection Announcement

The Earth Day Film Festival Announces the 2017 Official Selections

April 5, 2017
For Immediate Release
Eli Goodsell 415-248-6231

The Earth Day Film Festival Announces the 2017 Official Selections Documentary Features, Narrative Features, Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Free Form and Virtual Reality.

From the deeply revealing to the timely inspiring, these magnificent films from around the world celebrate the Earth through Cinema.

The Earth Day Film Festival has received a record number of submissions this year, over a 170 hours of content curated down to 22 hours. With submissions from 38 countries, we are honored to announce Iran as the second largest submitter of films. In order to include these films that would otherwise be excluded due to U.S. sanctions and Iranian Law, The Earth Day Film Festival worked to waive submissions fees for all Iranian filmmakers. The Earth Day Film Festival is committed to open inclusion and honoring the voice of artists around the world. With 11 world premiering films and an award-winning list of directors such as Cyrus Sutton, Vanessa LeMarie, Per Liebeck, the quality of films selected in 2017 has far exceeded our expectations.

Selected films now qualify for one of the unique awards:

The Earth’s Choice Award: This film is made with the Earth in mind- from conception to final film. Consideration is given to energy usage, waste, and environmental impact. The final message is typically feminine in tone, not a direct way of speaking but one that is nurturing and loving just as Mother Earth. The recipient of this award is given temporary custody of the “Earth’s Choice” custom trophy with their name engraved on the trophy.

The Activist Award: Honors filmmakers who are using their art to affect change in the world. The winning film illuminates unjust or repressive systems and calls for action. The filmmaker’s tactics, including their partnerships, methods and post-production journey are taken into consideration for this award.

The New Paradigm Award: The recipient of this award answers the question: ‘What’s next?’. After activism draws attention to areas in need of change, a new paradigm is needed to exemplify a more harmonious and healthier relationship with Earth. The selected film has a tone of nurturance and hope.

2017 Official Selections

Documentary Feature

An Acquired Taste, directed by Vanessa LeMaire (USA) 70min. The ancient act of acquiring our food from the wild is missed by generations of urbanites. LeMaire follows a new breed of youth who are yearning for connection to their food source, the search of an ethical kill and reunion with the wild from which we came. This film is just as much a human journey and coming-of-age story as it is a documentary pursuing the path of sustainable food. Moments of humor and humanity are well-weaved by LeMaire. Link to trailer: Here.

The Bentley Effect, directed by Brendan Shoebridge (AUS) 85min. The story of small towns in Australia uniting against oil and gas companies, bent on turning the Earth into profits. This film- the product of five years of documentation- traces a story that is both unique and universal: the struggle of environment against corruption, people against profit. The Bentley Effect provides a fascinating, up-close view of resistance culture and ignites a fire of defiance, outrage, and hope. Deeply empowering, honest and timely. Link to trailer: Here.

Finding Fontinalis (World Premiere), directed by Travis Lowe, (CAN) 70min. This masterfully crafted piece, brings the audience in with the exciting story of a world record trout and the stunning beauty of Patagonia. Lowe carries the audience into the conservation efforts to protect the last bastion of world-class trout fisheries in Patagonia. Reminiscent of classic adventure stories with myths of “the big catch” and paired with paramount environmental advocacy, this film is a catch. Finding Fontinalis prove that fisherman and conservationists have a lot in common and can be one and the same. Link to trailer: Here.

Florian, directed by Dario Bukovski (CRO) 30min. Cinematically stunning, gentle yet bold, Bukovski paints the stories of three artists making their way in a capitalistic world. A film that explores questions of the heart: who are we and what makes us feel alive? Profound and inspiring, yet deeply relatable and humanizing, this film warms the heart and inspires the mind. Link to trailer: Here.

From Mass to Mountain, directed by Kurt Sensenbrenner (USA) 66min. This is the story of how the efforts of one person can have far-reaching effects. Journey to a community in Panama that has been sidelined by government corruption and witness how the perseverance for access to clean water is a cause worth fighting for. Link to trailer: Here.

Frontera Invisible, directed by Nicolas Richat, (COL) 28min. A gripping film that charts the production of palm oil in Colombia and the devastating effects on communities and subsistence farmers. Beautifully shot, Richat dives deep into the lives of local Colombians, bringing humanity and beauty to the difficult subject of palm oil production.

Gaviota: The End of Southern California, directed by Shaw Leonard, (USA) 42min. Explore one of the most threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world. In a monumental collaboration of artists, activists, and environmental organizations, this film documents the wildlife thriving exclusively in Southern California. Meticulously filmed over the course of five years, Gaviota: The End of Southern California leads audiences from the ocean floor of the Santa Barbara Channel to the peaks of the jagged Santa Ynez Mountains, from breaching humpback whales to the elusive mountain lions. With nearly 90% of Southern California’s coast lost to development, the preservation of this coastline is the last bastion of hope for wildlife fighting to survive against a world closing in around them.

Island Earth, directed by Cyrus Sutton (USA) 63min. From Emmy award-winning social and environmental filmmaker Cyrus Sutton comes Island Earth, a critical piece exposing the perils of industrial food practices using the canary in the coal mine environment of Hawaii. Sutton follows the journey of a sensitive few seeking to use the wisdom of the past to reclaim Hawaii’s role as agricultural and environmental leader. Stunning in its cinematic merits and inspiring in its elemental message, Island Earth is a must see. Link to trailer: Here.

No Friends but the Mountains (World Premiere), directed by Joosung Kwon (UK) 33min. Kwon follows the efforts of a young female conservationist in the war-torn country of Iraq and her efforts to protect her homeland. This film illuminates a seldom broadcasted aspect of environmental activism in Iraq and is incredibly revealing to the impacts of war on conservation. Link to trailer: Here.

One Body One Voice, directed by Stephanie Gottlob and Yuji Oka (USA) 42min. An intimate look at the process of bodymind healing and transformation through the eyes of a 39-year-old woman. Filmed over the course of five weeks using minimalist equipment (a Digital Bolex and iPhone), One Body One Voice represents a new form of somatic cinema which attempts to convey through words and images the common pool of universal human experiences that exists in all of us. Accompanied by the music of pianist extraordinaire, Moisès Fernández Via, this exquisite film is a manifesto for modern bodymind frontiers. Link to trailer: Here.

Radiation Filters, directed by Oliver Mellan and Minea Herwitz (USA) 113min. A nuclear love story that is part documentary, part comedy. It’s about nuclear power and our world; about love and toxicity. This is a documentary whose fictional characters guide the real life plot of nuclear disaster, both current and impending. It spans continents, traverses genres, and will make you question everything you thought you knew about energy – both the kind that powers our planet, and the kind that empowers us to protect it. Link to trailer: Here.

Saving My Tomorrow, directed by Amy Schatz (USA) 30min. From the children who will inherit the planet comes a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips for protecting the Earth. Saving My Tomorrow features kids from around the world who take on our biggest environmental challenges — from endangered animals and pollution to climate change. Behind the scenes at the American Museum of Natural History, scientists talk with kids about how organisms are affected by a changing Earth. A lyrical mix of science, music, and stories of plants and animals in danger, the show is a call from kids to all of us to help take care of the planet. An inspiring film for viewers of all ages. Link to trailer: Here.

There Will be Water, directed by Per Liebeck, (DNK) 59min. The idea is simple – bring saltwater into the desert –evaporate it by means of the sun and create freshwater, food and energy in desert areas, thus creating the potential to change the lives of millions. Faced with the prediction that “the next war in the Middle East will be a water war,” engineer Bill Watts devised a creative solution, rooted in biomimicry and pure ingenuity. There Will Be Water honestly portrays the struggles and successes of a team of visionaries. Visually captivating and inspiring. Link to trailer: Here.

Toxic Puzzle, directed by Bo Landin, (USA) 82min. Part mystery-part documentary; thrilling, satisfying and illuminating. Director Bo Landin follows scientist Paul Cox on his quest to discover the link between toxic substances produced by cyanobacteria and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s illnesses. This film takes an interdisciplinary approach, involving individuals affected across the spectrum; from fishermen to neurologists to ALS patients. Raising questions, exploring solutions, Toxic Puzzle is a compelling and timely film linking the effects of planet health to human health. Link to trailer: Here.

Narrative Feature

Don’t Be Tired, directed by Afshin Hashemi, (IRN) 93min. An adventure tale of cross cultural connection and homecoming filmed in the Iranian desert. Don’t Be Tired is a timely and inspiring film that elucidates universal commonalities even in light of outward differences and language barriers. Hashemi has clear and comedic mastery as a director. A well-crafted film traversing through loss, grief, mishap, and optimism to connect humans across the globe. Link to Trailer: Here.

Documentary Short

Being Hear, directed by Palmer Morse and Matthew Mikkelsen (USA) 10min. A film about sound that captures more than just our ears. Emmy Award-winning nature sound recordist and acoustic ecologist, Gordon Hempton works to protect the few remaining quiet places on Earth from noise pollution. Being Hear highlights his quest is to preserve silence as well as portray the importance of listening to the world around us. It is a marvelous journey into the auditory world of nature, leaving the audience with the realization of the profound interconnectedness of all things. Link to trailer: Here.

The Block, directed by Nadine Boller, (CHE) 10min. In the middle of the steppes of Kyrgyzstan an old foundation dating back to the Soviet era is gaining more and more importance in the nomads’ daily life. Humble, curiously funny, poetically simple and masterfully crafted, The Block ties together the lives of a community through the eyes of a concrete block.

Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night, directed by Emily Driscoll (USA) 12min. Fireflies are reportedly disappearing, as artificial night lights disrupt their ‘language of light’. Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night features artists and scientists on different continents working to understand firefly flash patterns and how to live among wildlife in urban settings. This visually poetic film is supported by highly accessible scientific information as well as heart-centered, inspirational language on living harmoniously with our environment. Link to trailer: Here.

Guided, directed by Bridget Besaw (USA) 18min. Guided profiles the gentle spirit of Maine wilderness guide Ray Reitze, in his element amidst the whispering pines, singing crickets and croaking frogs of the North Maine Woods. Ray shares his philosophy of how to live in harmony with our environment and offers a more spiritual understanding of nature and our ephemeral place in it. This film effortlessly captures the heart with sincerity and wisdom. More than offering a ‘new perspective’, Guided reminds us of our inherent connection to all aspects of the Earth, awakening in us what we know to be true in our souls. Link to trailer: Here.

Hispanics Afraid to Breathe, directed by Nacho Corbella (USA) 4min. Inhabitants of the heavily Latino neighborhood of Wilmington, in Los Angeles, California, live surrounded by toxins. To the west is the Phillips 66 refinery, to the east is Route 110 and to the south is the L.A. port, the most active port in the United States. In most families, at least one person suffers from respiratory conditions, asthma and even cancer. Hispanics Afraid to Breath is simple, honest and tugs at the heart.

Lost in Light, Directed by Sriram Murali, (USA) 3min. How does light pollution affect the night skies and quite possibly our lives? Imagine a world where on a clear night, you can see the milky way streaming across a sky rich with stars. Shot mostly in California, from the most light-polluted areas to the clearest, darkest night skies, Lost in Light reminds us of our place in the Universe, and our capacity to be truly and deeply connected to our home planet. This film effortlessly evokes a deep sense of awe for our natural world.

Nobody Dies Here (World Premiere), Directed by Simon Panay, (FRA) 23min. In Nobody Dies Here, the viewer is transported to the little known world of gold mining in Africa. The connection between capitalistic systems and the degradation of communities and the land is subtly presented in this masterfully crafted film. Panay’s ability to immerse the viewer in the lives and spaces that he documents renders a very human and environmentally-minded film. This is Panay’s second time being accepted to The Earth Day Film Festival.

The Seventh Stage of Grief (World Premiere), directed by Jacob Rosdail (USA) 13min. An intimate look into the life and perspective of world renowned climate change scientist Dr. Guy McPherson. When presented with information that, “It’s too late, the world is over”, the only way to cope is through the 7th stage of grief: to laugh at all. Be warned, viewers will likely be stirred to join Dr. McPherson in the desert for humanities last hurrah!

Surf Wasted (West Coast Premiere), directed by Clifford Kapono (USA) 16min. Scientist and surfer turned director, Kapono uses his unique perspective to inform on the material science of surfboards. Through poetic imagery of surfing in Hawaii and his scientific journey at UCSD, Surf Wasted is equally enthralling in imagery as it is in information and scientific discovery. Link to trailer: Here.

Trophy (World Premiere), directed by Inder Nirwan (CAN) 29min. Each year, thousands of grizzlies are killed worldwide for entertainment. Diving deep into the controversy across Canada and the United States, Trophy asks: can we truly justify killing these animals for sport? This film artfully weaves a diverse group of activists, scientists, residents, conservationists and stakeholders to address the dangers of dominance over our environment. This story will pull at your heart and the cinematography will light up your eyes. Link to trailer: Here.

Zero-G, directed by Jannis Lenz (AUT) 9min. Follows a group of Parkour “tracers” from Vienna and slam artist Fatima Moumouni, who pens a poem on the city and young people’s attitude to life. Zero-G is a mesmerizing ode to city living, a juxtaposition of concrete and weightlessness, and a celebration of people interacting with their environment in creative ways.

Narrative Shorts

A Share of Share (World Premiere), directed by Kaveh Jahed (IRN) 2min. An intense and humanizing glimpse into the struggle of a family living in a refugee camp. Powerful acting and brevity of the script pulls the audience directly into the scene and connects us all with empathy for universal struggles.

Buck, directed by Bernhard Wenger (AUT) 16min. A coming of age story set in the German woods. A father who wishes to pass on his love for hunting to his son, whom he finds to be an unwilling participant. Wenger captures the nuanced behaviors that come with father and son relationships. The narrative is heart-warming and relatable; the cinematography is dazzling.


Free Form

The Commotion of Silence, directed by Nancy Molina Díaz de León (MEX) 17min. The documentary “The Commotion of the Silence” is a Symphony of Mexico City which explores the cultural soundings of folklore as well as the modern noise flooding this majestic city. Rather thanpresent a message directly, The Commotion of Silence is delightfully original in the way it elicits emotions from the viewer. The sounds and sights in this film are both foreign and ‘all too familiar’, outrageous and beautiful. Link to trailer: Here.

The Earth is Not a Spaceship, directed by Krista Steinke (USA) 4min. A profound and disturbing short experimental film that guides the viewer through sublime natural imagery with the voice of Mother Earth acting as a guide. This film challenges its very means of communication- the concept of film- and will leave you shaken. There is no substitute for nature, and certainly not a movie.

Gnomish Love and Mischief (World Premiere), directed by Bemya Nymh and Jenna Clover (USA) 17min. Novel in its message and form and shot entirely on an iPhone, this short film inspires the Earth lover in us all. Leading with open eyes and heart, Gnomish Love and Mischief reminds us of the miracles taking place in every moment.

Mana Kai (World Premiere), directed by Pasha Reshikov (USA) 6min. This experimental short is a dance; a love song to the sea. Mana Kai calls us all to remember our inherent nature as water beings.

Only Five Minutes, directed by Mohammad Mohammadin (IRN) 5min. This short piece creatively transports the audience into the life of a blind girl for just 5 minutes. A film that is as much an artistic exploration as it is a lesson in empathy.

Patata Day, directed by Peter Boving (DEU) 4min. This cinematic parable draws the audience into an absurd world where our food choices are called into question.

Save the Earth, directed by Ruslan Bokach (UKR) 4min. An experimental film documenting a live dance performance. Using the human body, Save The Earth communicates a profound message of conservation and environmental awareness.

Water (World Premiere), directed by Mark Knight (USA) 4min. Spanning several continents, a team of award-winning filmmakers have captured all the glory, serenity, and splendor of water in its many forms and environments.

Animated Shorts

Aquarium, directed by Diego L. Yáñez Guzmán (CHL) 5min. A playful presentation of sea life, Aquarium easily pulls us into the world created by Guzmán with its vibrant colors and darting fish. We feel empathy for the sea and the harm caused by humans. This is a great film for kids.

Change, directed by Isaac Kerlow (SGP) 5min. A delightfully digestible short piece on human-caused climate change that should be played in all grade schools.

Different, directed by Dante Rustav and Hristina Belousova (UZB) 6min. A short animated piece that links species differentiation to human differentiation and how each of us play a crucial role in the system, in both macro and micro way. Link to trailer: Here.

Full Color, directed by Ario Saffarzadegan (IRN) 1min. Inspiringly imaginative, this short piece reminds us to stay aware and wonder at the world before us.

Now You See It (World Premiere), directed by Rebecca Manley, (UK) 3min. Award-winning filmmaker Rebecca Manley charmingly illustrates the need for protection of the environment. The playful presentation is juxtaposed against the finality of climate change. If we don’t change now, much of our environment could be lost forever; now you see it, now you don’t. A short creative piece featuring the voice of Ewan McGregor.

Our Wonderful Nature – The Common Chameleon, directed by Tomer Eshed (DEU) 4min. A stunningly animated short that is all at once humorous and illuminating on the perils of over consumption.

The Pine Tree Villa, directed by Jan Koester (DEU) 13min. Lion and Bird break into an uninhabited villa to find out about the reason why it is not aging. Immediately they feel the power that keeps the villa alive. Koester artfully crafts an imaginative world. Beautifully animated, the audience is pulled into a bright and dynamic reality with familiar character qualities such as curiosity, stuberness, and trust. Link to Trailer: Here.

Railment, directed by Shunsaku Hayashi (JPN) 10min. Artist and filmmaker Hayashi challenges the constructed society before us in this eloquently crafter short animation. A central meditative figure stands still as the world around him speeds by as an out-of-control automation, ultimately leaving the audience to feel similarities to our own world. This film will have you wanting to run into nature where things make sense.

Red, directed by Ario Saffarzadegan (IRN) 2min. Masterfully illustrated, this short piece proves that length is not tied to impact. A twist on the classic Little Red Riding Hood, with an inspiring and emotional ending.

Where Have the Flowers Gone, directed by Sin-hong Chan (CHN) 6min. A bleak future for pigs in a factory when they are forced to work for just enough to scrape by. Beautifully animated, this short piece challenges the audience’s perception of wealth and work.

Virtual Reality

Down to the Plastic Ocean, directed by Dan Aguar (USA) 4min. Be lead on a magical, lyrical journey that follows a plastic toy scuba diver from a stormwater drain in Athens, Georgia through the streams and rivers to the edge of the coast. This short film delivers an immersive experience from Scooby Do’s point of view and compels the audience to reflect upon ways to protect our essential waterways.

My Beautiful Home, directed by Romain Vakilitabar (USA) 7min. A short virtual reality experience which takes place in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. Through this empathy-based approach, poverty is given a new lense.

Out of the Blue, directed by Sophie Ansel (USA) 10min. A stunning VR experience celebrating majestic sea life as well as the human challenges faced by a small fishing community. Ansel has created a piece that serves as a beacon of hope for future VR experiences by crafting work that nourishes our hearts and stretches our empathy muscles.

The Pachas Pajamas Book Animated, directed by Allah El Henson (USA). An enthralling story for children lighting up the imaginative pathways for the natural world. Pachas Pajamas brings to life – virtually – some of our favorite forest creatures as guides into the natural world.

Ray, directed by Rafael Pavon (ESP) 6min. Immerse yourself in Lucy’s room the night when Ray, a nosy beam of light, comes to play on her dreams. A VR fairy tale combining 360o stereoscopic video, impressive visual effects and an arresting soundtrack.

Songs of the Vine, directed by Maira Clancy and Blake Montgomery (USA) 15min. Shot over the span of two months in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, Songs of the Vine is a virtual reality documentary focusing on the healing modalities, cosmovision, and culture of the Shipibo, an indigenous group well-known for its rich tradition of plant spirit shamanism, including a mastery of the visionary ayahuasca brew. By immersing the viewer into the depths of the Amazon jungle and exposing them to the medicine songs and perspectives of Shipibo healers, Songs of the Vine illustrates an ancient but increasingly relevant dynamic between humans and nature. A piece that has the ability reveal wisdom of the Amazon to an audience like never before.

Tomorrow, directed by Nicolás Alcalá (ESP) 7min. Tomorrow is a Virtual Reality experience about the evolution of language. Through this immersive journey, we understand some key cultural differences and similarities, ultimately challenging some foundational elements of western thought. This piece serves as a reminder to be gentle in assertions and present in life.


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