In an office tucked along Georgetown's waterfront, a small but dedicated team that coordinates the D.C. Environmental Film Festival has worked tirelessly to make the 20th festival the biggest green film festival D.C. has ever seen.
This year boasts top-tier talent like Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker, who spoke Saturday and introduced her film, Tsunami in the Cherry Blossom; James Redford, son of the famous Robert Redford, (who will introduce his son's film Watershed: A New Ethic for the New West next Sunday at the Museum of Natural History); and Alexandra Cousteau, National Geographic Explorer and granddaughter of the famous underwater filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, who just finished an 18,800 mile journey around the United States examining its waterways. The festival offers D.C. residents a chance to see films that showcase powerful stories and incredible landscapes produced by some of the best eco-filmmakers around.
"This is the nation's largest environmental film festival, and this year is set to be our most ambitious program yet," said local Georgetown resident and Executive Director Peter O'Brien, who has helped lead the film festival for six years. "Every year we have a special theme, and this year we've chosen human health and the environment because so many of our films explore issues where these areas overlap."
With 64 venues to choose from, it's easy for all District residents to find a film showing nearby. For Georgetown residents, the closest option will be a one night special screening of on Tuesday March 20 at the Theatre. LA CLÉ DES CHAMPS, (The Field of Enchantment), a French film exploring the secret of life through the lens of two children exploring their landscape.
When asked which other films Georgetowners should look out for that have a local focus, O'Brien highlighted In Organic We Trust, a documentary film exploring the truth behind the organic brand that was partially shot in Washington, D.C., and Expedition Blue Planet: North America, which features part of Alexandra Cousteau's film project that examines the health of the Potomac Watershed.
An 18,800-mile journey to show at Nation's Largest Green Film Festival
Last year, over 30,000 people attended the film festival, and this year hundreds have been turned away from packed screenings. Many of the 200 plus filmmakers attending the festival this year have been drawn to DC specifically for a chance to share their films at the largest environmental film festival in the nation.
"I'm so excited to be able to attend this screening, and to speak about the project at such an exciting venue," said Cousteau in an interview. "Usually I'm traveling for most of the year, and I can't attend screenings of my films, so I'm looking forward to being in D.C. and speaking at this festival."
When asked why water was the focus of her film, Cousteau gave several reasons.
"Water is not an issue, it is the issue," said Cousteau, who made her first underwater dive when she was seven years old.
"It's something that all of us need to live, and something that is integral to the health of our planet... My 18,800 mile journey exploring waterways in North America was wonderful, but overwhelming...it was at times incredibly hopeful, and at times depressing...there are people doing incredible work to reclaim and protect our water...and then there are places I remember going to as a child that are now dried up or incredibly polluted...I want to be able to share these places with my daughter, and for some of them, I don't know if I'll be able to. We still have time to address these problems, but that window of opportunity to take action will not always be there."
The films and speakers highlighted here are a fraction of the hundreds of speakers and films showing at the 2012 festival. Check the full schedule here, and if you haven't yet, get out, explore, and don't let the 2012 festival pass you by!