The Balkan Peninsula is home to the last wild rivers in Europe. However, a deluge of hydropower development threatens to destroy the culture and ecology of this forgotten region. If fierce local opposition fails, the last undammed watersheds on the continent will be corralled by more than 3,000 proposed hydropower dams and diversions—at a time when dams are being decommissioned throughout much of the developed world. Blue Heart weaves together small, distinct communities in their common fight. Inspiring and artfully created.
Two first-time filmmakers (Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod) explore the war for rhino horn. Initially setting out on a six-month project, the duo leave their jobs, sell their homes, move in with their mothers and give up nearly four years of their lives to document not just the rhinos but the various people connected to this iconic animal. In this roller-coaster ride between Africa and Asia, the two women embed themselves on the front-lines of a species genocide where they are given exclusive access to the enforcement aspect of the fight. From rangers, pilots and K9 units patrolling the hardest hit national parks to elite police units raiding wildlife trafficking dens in major cities... they find themselves in some hair-raising situations.
Living the Change is a solutions-focused response to the overlapping crises the world is currently facing. These solutions-which are accessible to us all-are explored through the inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives and in their communities in order to live in a sustainable and regenerative way.
A powerful story of economic migration between rural and urban Mexico. Soledad is a matriarch and traditional healer whose daughter Adele left their village to work in Mexico City leaving behind her infant son. Years later, Soledad and her grandson Jose share a strong bond rooted in their love of culture and land. As she continues to pass on her knowledge and teachings to him, she receives an unexpected call that her daughter is getting married and intends for Jose to join them in the city. Fearing an uncertain future for them both, Soledad struggles to cope with her impending heartbreak as she awaits her daughter’s return. In Times of Rain is an intricately woven story of family, community, redemption, forgiveness, ancestral wisdom, and our connection to the Earth.
Quietly, patiently, trees endure. They are the oldest living beings we come to know during our time on earth. They provide our shelter, our fuel, our companions, and—in some cases—our divinity. They are living bridges into our planet’s enormous past, their obscure stories written into their rings over centuries and even millennia. Treeline takes us to the enshrined cypress groves of Japan, the towering red cedars of British Columbia, and the ancient bristlecones of Nevada, following a handful of skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers as they move through these giants and explore a connection older than humanity.
A portrait of Daniel Balima, a horticulturist from Tenkodogo, a small town in Burkina Faso. Daniel contracted Polio as a child and despite losing the ability to use his legs, followed his father around the family nursery on his hands. "I could take two paths: begging or taking my life in hand and devoting myself to work with dignity." Through his 50+ years of cultivation, he has nurtured a relationship of intimacy and reciprocity with the plants, and shares the abundance of his garden with community members in need. The plants do not see ‘disability’, and in this they remain open to Daniel’s humble offering of love
The Little Fish and the Crocodile
Directed by Stefanie Plattner (DEU)
The little Fish and the Crocodile is a fable from the rainforest in the Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo told by the children of the Sanza Mobimba Kindergarten. Vibrant, colorful cinematography with a playful story. An invitation into imagination and non-linear narrative.
Directed by Catherine Chalmers (USA),
Leafcutters is an unusual collaboration with millions of wild ants. Focusing on four supposedly unique human traits – language, ritual, war and art – the narrative aims to blur the boundaries between culture and nature. Leafcutter ant colonies have eerie parallels to human society and this is the inspiration for the video. Leafcutters accentuates the ingenuity of these miniature, yet mighty civilizations that inhabit the Neo-tropical rainforest.
In The King’s Keeper we meet two characters, Prahlad-a former elephant trainer in the Indian circus and Gajraj- a seventy year old tusker who spent nearly fifty years of his life in chains and who’s name means “King of the elephants.” Prahlad now works at an Elephant Conservation and Care Center where they “work for elephants.” The relationship between the two is characterized by reciprocity, respect, and tenderness.
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
The Last Embrace
Diirected by Saman Hosseinpuor (IRN),
A moment in time of an Iranian family at home. A little girl wants to show her drawing to her family, but all are lost on their screens. She finds the connection she is yearning for in an unlikely companion. Brief, simple, poignant and relatable. A gentle finger pointing to a reality of our time.
in the Water
Directed by Daniel Villanueva (UK), 8 min.
Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in Texas, but it's delicate ecosystem is threatened by a seemingly unstoppable invasive species of floating fern: Giant Salvinia. There's Something in the Water is an animated documentary featuring interviews with people who live and work on the lake, demonstrating the damage that has been caused, and how everyone can work together to try and fix it. Utilizing a clever fusion of animation and real footage, this short film is highly memorable and engaging.