The 28th annual Sedona International Film Festival runs from Feb. 19-27 in Sedona, Arizona.
This year’s festival featured over 150 independent films from around the world. The films range from shorts, features, animated, foreign, student films and documentaries. The festival highlights, “Docs that Make a Difference,” a series that turns movies into motivation and art into activism. These films are often thought- provoking, stimulating, powerful, and allow the viewers to see the world through a different lens. Audience members come together to explore, learn and engage in a healthy discourse.
Green Living Magazine asked SIFF’s Executive Director, Patrick Schweiss, and Documentary Programmer, Jerry Hartleben, to give us a sneak peek of the environmental films being shown during this year’s nine-day festival.
Here are four films with four green thumbs up.
“River,” a film by Jennifer Peedom, is a cinematic and musical odyssey that explores the remarkable relationship between humans and rivers. Written by Robert Macfarlane with music by Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). Featuring music by Johnny Greenwood and Radiohead; Willem Dafoe narrates the film.
The film spans six continents and draws on contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, to show rivers from perspectives never seen before.
A CRACK IN THE MOUNTAIN
“A Crack in the Mountain” is a feature length documentary about the world’s largest cave.
Hang Son Doong, which translates as “mountain river cave,” is located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province in Vietnam. The national park is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
First discovered in 1990 by a local farmer, it wasn’t explored until 2009 when a British expedition team rigged ropes and descended down into the crevice.
Many people have described Son Doong as a lost world. It has its own lake, jungle and even a unique weather system.
In 2014, plans were announced to build a cable car into Son Doong, with many arguing that this would destroy the cave’s delicate ecosystem. The film follows members of the local community who were divided over the benefits this development would bring.
The documentary also uses the narrative as a lens through which to investigate related themes such as the challenges of modern day exploration, environmental conservation and sustainability and the perils of operating as an activist in a country like Vietnam, where freedom of speech is severely censored.
This brilliant adventure film features legendary polar explorer, Will Steger, as he makes multiple journeys across both poles and experiences the most pressing environmental issue of our time—changing the course of his life.
In 1989, Steger led an international team of six scientists and explorers on the first coast-to-coast dogsled traverse of Antarctica. The ultimate mission of the expedition was to draw global attention to Antarctica’s changing climate and use the expedition as a tool to renew the Antarctic Treaty, which would protect the continent from mineral exploitation. Even with his background in science and knowledge of the changing climate, Steger could never have expected what he would soon discover. This arduous expedition opened his eyes to the most pressing issue of our time and ultimately changed the course of his life forever.
Now, 30 years later, Steger heads out on the ice once again, this time to the opposite end of the Earth, recounting the life-changing journey that led him to where he is today. “After Antarctica” is a film about a legendary expedition unlike any other—not only were Steger and his team of renegade explorers the first to complete this historic feat—they were also the last.
“12th Hour” is a visually stunning and brutally honest cinematic lament on the subject of global climate chaos and the challenges of confronting the issue head-on.
Much of our population currently lives with hopeful delusions about climate change. These delusions, many of which are built in by evolution, hamper our ability to meaningfully address the problem.
Our brains evolved to solve short-term challenges for our survival. Climate change is a long-term challenge for our survival. Can we bridge the gap between these modes of thinking?
Emmy-nominated actor, David Morse, narrates “12th Hour” with insight from noted evolutionary biologists, climate scientists, cognitive researchers and psychologists.
Visionary thinkers like Peter Russell, Dr. Paul Piff, Dr. Kari Norgaard and dozens of the brightest minds in academia lay out a look at mankind: Our past, our abilities, our shortcomings and what may be humankind’s final destination.