Green Screen: D.C. Environmental Film Festival

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Attendees of the 23rd Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital have traveled the world this past week, from the banks of the Anacostia to the harsh icescape of Antarctica, following pressing environmental issues and reveling in impressive cinematography. And the best part is, the adventure continues until March 29th.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Climate Connections,” but the screenings have covered a broad swathe of both local and global issues from sustainable agriculture to the pollution legacy of the fashion industry. Many of the films have highlighted environmental health issues, but several water-centric films told particularly poignant stories.  On Sunday, the festival held a “Women and Water” event in celebration of World Water Day, which featured films by women filmmakers. The first segment of the session featured stories of pollution and restoration that took place right in CHEJ’s backyard – in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers that run through Washington, D.C.

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Image from Stone Soup Films

‘The Anacostia River: Making Connections’ discussed the rampant discharge of industrial pollutants and trash into the Anacostia, which has threatened the river’s vitality and posed health risks to those who build community on its banks and eat fish from its waters. The film also documented heroic efforts to clean up the Anacostia, restoring it for generations to come. Watch the film here.

In ‘Potomac: The River Runs Through Us,’ researchers and advocates discussed the dependence of the nation’s capital on the waters of the Potomac River, where emerging contaminants like endocrine disruptors may be rearing their toxic heads. In its second half, ‘Women and Water’ expanded its scope from local to global. ‘Riverblue,’ a sobering work-in-progress film, shone light on the fashion industry’s pollution of rivers in India and Bangladesh, where workers must cope with both unsafe working conditions and an environment ravaged by the refuse of tanneries and garment factories.

The festival has curated over 160 films, many of which are showing for free at venues across the D.C. area for the rest of the week. The remaining schedule includes several films that highlight pollution and environmental health issues. Tomorrow (Tuesday), ‘Are Vah!’ tells the story of  of a French power company aspiring to build the largest nuclear plant in the world in a vital fishing and mango production zone of India. On Wednesday, ‘E-Waste Tragedy’ covers the environmental and health implications of toxic electronic waste, while ‘Landfill Harmonic’ discusses poverty and waste pollution in Paraguay. On Thursday, Our Canyon Lands will address pollution resulting from mining development in Utah.

For a full schedule of events, visit the film festival website.


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