Environmental Films

USA: Paradigm Shift Festival explores opportunities for action

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

From 26 February to 9 March 2014, the Paradigm Shift Festival in New York will be focusing on environmental films and new music, indigenous cultures and Western science.


“For people in today’s world who are deeply and passionately concerned about the urgent needs of our planet, the festival discussions after each screening explore opportunities for action to save Mother Earth,” writes the organisers, EEF and Encompass New Opera Theatre.

Below is a trailer for one of the films, ‘Aluna’, which will be shown in the festival on 8 March. The screening will be the United States premiere of the film.


26 February: Opening Celebration:
Native American drumming, Once Beauty, previews of film, reception

Thursday 27 February at 7 PM: Heart of the World

Friday 28 February at 7 PM: Peaceable Kingdom

Saturday 1 March at 7 PM: Bidder 70

Sunday 2 March at 3 PM: Plastic Family Matinee

Wednesday 5 March at 7 PM: Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Thursday 6 March at 7 PM: The City Dark

Friday 7 March at 7 PM: Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves

Saturday 8 March at 7 PM: Aluna (USA premiere)

Sunday 9 March at 3 PM: Felt, Feelings and Dreams

Music and a post-show with speakers is paired with each film.

» Read more on www.environmentaleducationfund.org

» Music, film screening and discussion: The Heart of the World


Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.

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Framing the World — An art & ecology notebook

Excerpted From Cathy Fitzgerald’s An Art & Ecology Notebook:

Twelve essays  in four parts, focusing on ecocinema as activist cinema; the representation of environmental justice issues in Hollywood; independent and foreign films, the representation of animals, ecosystems, natural and human-made landscapes and readings of two mainstream eco-auteurs, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Peter Greenaway, Framing the World; explorations in ecocriticism and film, edited by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, 2010

At last, a book on ecocriticism for film that is more than a review of films with environmental themes (though there are so very few of the latter as well). Lots of very valuable and timely essays on both mainstream cinema but also identifying key experimental filmmakers who have developed ecocentric approaches to film-making, for eg. in the work of independent Slovenian film/sound artist Andrej Zdravic. Also an excellent chapter on the very real limitations and lack of critical awareness in the director Herzog’s popularly regarded environmental films.

Also of note and just published this year is ‘Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge‘. I think its great to have this perspective of film from a region that has endured vast ecological destruction and is producing many poignant environmental films. This book is much more academic but again an excellent resource for those interested in the critical development of ecocinema. It’s also made me eager to search out the films mentioned in the book, like this one centered on  the 3 Gorges dam – ‘Still Life’

via Framing the World -two timely new books on ecocriticism and film — An art & ecology notebook.