What are Sustainable Film Festivals?

5 Aug

There are a ton of film festivals but did you know there were environmental film festivals? A few days ago I watched a great documentary called Fresh and it was a winner at the Sustainable Planet Film Festival which takes place in mid-November in Manhattan.  This International film festival began in 2005 and features from “India, Belgium, the USA, France, Haiti, Hawaii, Lebanon, Ukraine, Malta, Jordan, Germany, Australia as well as Brazil showcase community building efforts and/or environmental care.”[1] In this article we will look at another film festival, plus list our Top 10 films on the environment. Enjoy!

Environmental Film Festival: March 18-30-2013

The 2013 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital presented a record 190 documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental, and children’s films, including 110 Washington, D.C., United States and world premieres, from March 12 to 24 at 75 venues across Washington, D.C.  The Festival hosted 94 filmmakers and almost 200 special guests who participated in film introductions and post-screening discussions. Over 31,000 people attended the Festival and 80 percent of the programs were offered free to the public.

Sustainable Planet Film Festival: November 23-2013


LIH-Top 10 Environmental Films

1.  The 11th Hour-2007

2.  Wall-E-2008

3.  Erin Brockovich-2000

4.  Avatar-2009

5.  The Lorax-2012

6.  The Earthlings-2005

7.  Food, Inc.-2008

8.  Fresh-2009

9.  Fast Food Nation-2006

10.    Tapped-2009

What are some of your all time favorite eco friendly films?

31 Responses to “What are Sustainable Film Festivals?”

  1. ComicRelief August 6, 2013 at 12:42 AM #


    How can we use Hollywood to escape if these documentaries keep putting our faces in reality? How do you think these documentaries enhance our appreciation or perception of what many people consider entertainment’s “actual” utility?

    • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 10:34 AM #

      Too much of anything can be bad for u. Meaning u have to strike a balance between fun and health IMO. Watching films that don’t help and nurture u culturally, spiritually and socially, personally aren’t appealing to me. Yet, Filmmakers have a difficult job in a lot of ways. They need to keep their ears to the ground and relate to consumers on a real level while at the same time be innovative and take us somewhere we haven’t been before. I hope that made sense?

      • ComicRelief August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM #

        IMO, perfect sense. I knew you would say something thoughtful.

        • ComicRelief August 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM #

          Of your videos, I’ve seen some but not them all.

          *2. Wall-E**-2008*

          *3. Erin Brockovich-2000*

          *4. Avatar-2009*

          *5. The Lorax-2012*

          Of the documentaries, I have only seen the sustainable farming one.

          *6. Fresh-2009*

          I can’t believe “Fresh” is that old. To listen to the video, it sounds like it was made yesterday.

          • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM #

            “I can’t believe “Fresh” is that old. To listen to the video, it sounds like it was made yesterday.”

            I know right?

  2. Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 12:45 AM #


    I’m so glad you listed these festivals. Would you explain why these festivals are important in the context of Hollywood production?

    Hollywood Round Table of political Issues:

    • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM #

      Great, great commentary here. Thanks for posting this. I hope people will watch it. With that said, the reason these festivals are wonderful IMO because in so many ways it bridges the gap between HW and consumers who at times feel producers of entertainment can’t relate or speak to their plight in life. Also, it opens up the dialogue for artist and consumers in how art can advance us culturally instead of HW dictating it alone. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying consumers are more capable at making entertainment then those filmmakers/artist in HW. Not at all, I’m saying consumers are experts on if what HW is producing is advancing them culturally, spiritually and socially. That’s what they can speak out about and not how bad the CGI was in Twilight.

      • Comic Relief August 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM #

        I thought it was funny that most of those guests might appear similar
        if you saw out of the context of the video. Instead, to listen to
        them, they are all very different.

      • Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM #

        Of the videos you posted which has had the meaning for you personally?

        • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM #

          The 11th Hour.

          • ComicRelief August 7, 2013 at 9:42 AM #

            Why is that?

            • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM #

              It does a great job illustrating the facts without getting in the way. It allows audiences to come to their own conclusion while being informative.

  3. Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 12:49 AM #

    When many of us think about Hollywood celebrity we tend to think about the production of personality, subjectivity, and individuality. How can conservation/environmentalism/sustainability expand these discussions in ways that are meaningful and or may have an impact on our everyday lives?

    Do you believe a video like the one below, is a step in the right direction?

    Contrary Madonna video:

    • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM #

      Well, Yeah!!! Hmm! Yes, this does look bad. However, people should be allowed to change even celebrities. With that said, I have a problem with celebs who go for the most popular/conventional way to show their support for a cause like speaking out on Twitter etc… Because IMO they are relying on their celebrity to draw attention to the cause when in reality it deflects away from it and they are getting the attention, which makes them look opportunistic. That’s what’s unfortunate about this video of Madonna above. Her help for this cause would have looked more sincere if she hadn’t relied on her celebrity and actually got her hands dirty behind the scenes. I guess this is a great example of what not to do.

      • Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 1:33 PM #

        I think you may have a point there, her advocacy seems to have matured significantly since that video has made.

        Some artists seem to need to wait to allow their causes to catch up with the innovativeness of their careers or work.

  4. Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 12:52 AM #

    In term of our cultural consumption, how can environmentalism expand these discussions in ways that are meaningful and may have an impact on our everyday lives?

    TED discussion addressing some greater Hollywood topics:

    • Open Book August 6, 2013 at 1:21 PM #

      Good Q. I will have to come back and watch this video later. To answer your question. Like I stated up above. It helps if consumers got more actively involved in what they are consuming on a personal level and not just go with what’s popular. Why? Because people can be misled by great marketing campaigns instead of realizing if the content is sincere in respecting them? Its like the bottled water situation. U have bottled water companies using marketing campaigns to sell health and elitism using big price tags and sleek bottles to sell water when people are really drinking toilet water out of septic tanks that’s toxic to their health and to the environment. I’m referring to the documentary “Tapped.” my point is people have to think more objectively before buying into any marketing campaign.

      • Com1c Relief August 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM #

        I think this response, on your part, is as valuable as all the others.

        • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM #

          Thank u!

  5. Open Book August 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM #


    What are some of your favorite eco films and why?

    • ozzie20 August 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM #

      I love Avatar and Wall-E. I just watched Wall-E for the first time a couple of nights ago and I was gobsmacked! I couldn’t believe Disney could be that IN your face over something. I’m still digesting it and I think I’ll need to watch it again to get the full message. At the moment all I know are the immediate emotions that came to me while watching it. Assuming at some point this could be our reality; shock over how we could create such a mess, anger at just bailing the planet when it got too bad, horrified at the the new environment we created for our selves (the space ship), and sadness over the Earth’s state. Despite that, it is a beautiful film!

      Avatar I’ve already spoken long of here so how to keep it short? Lol! I love it’s message. Basically we assume that even though we still live on Earth, we’ve mined all of it’s resources and now that we discover a new planet with even better resources, were off to impose our will on something that isn’t ours. Also despite being very as a primitive culture, it was still capable of taken down an advanced life form. I’ll stop there because I will ramble on all night otherwise, lol!

      • Com1c Relief August 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM #

        Actually I admit you have done far more than hit this nail on the head.

      • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM #


        I love Wall-E as well for much of the reasons you’ve just explained.

    • ozzie20 August 6, 2013 at 9:17 PM #

      I forgot Medicine Man! However the reason I like it is not for the message but rather the romanticised notion of running away to live in the Amazon Rainforest! We watched some of this in geography class while we were studying the Amazon and I’d sit and fantasized about being there rather than in class, lol! Anyway, we never watched the full film but I did see it on TV years later and I loved it even more!

      • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 10:06 AM #

        Oh! Yeah! I loved watching it for its beautiful scenery.

  6. Open Book August 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM #


    How can HW still educate consumers yet stay objective and avoid becoming a dictator?

    • ozzie20 August 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

      I still think it should be included into popular genres. A sneak attack approach, lol! Or if subliminal advertising works, it should work with a message too. If those worked, hopefully people would eventually change.

      • Com1c Relief August 7, 2013 at 9:45 AM #

        I hear someone from the article factory, proposing another excellent idea.

        • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 10:43 AM #

          Hmm! Great idea CR. Ozzie! Are u game?

  7. ozzie20 August 6, 2013 at 8:11 PM #

    Hello everyone!

    Very interesting article OB! I’ve heard of film sets and some film festivals that are green (or as green as they can be) but I’ve never heard of film festivals that promote green films and documentaries!

    • Open Book August 7, 2013 at 10:49 AM #

      Thanks Oz!

      Yes, this was new for me too. I hadn’t heard of them until I started researching the “Fresh” doc to get more information. Anyway, I would love to go to one. What I like about it, not only do they show docs but feature films too. I think the one in Washington DC “Environmental Film Festival” has a wider variety of films to choose from.

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