“The environment is a large topic and by having festivals geared specifically toward environmentally charged films, you are not just holding a film festival, but an educational festival."
— Filmmaker Alexis Aurigemma, "The Sustainable"
Want a clearer picture of what’s goes on in the soil in your garden, with the air your breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat? The annual One Earth Film Festival, March 4-6 in locations all around Chicago, is where you can get a clear-eyed, sobering, honest and beautifully revealing snapshot of this planet we inhabit.
It’s not all bad. There’s lot of good and a lot of people doing good by the environment. Farmers such as Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell, who own the Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery near Downstate Champaign. You’ll follow their struggles in the wonderfully told story, “A Farmer’s Road” by filmmaker John Murray, that looks at the changing the American food system — one meal at a time.
“The questions I raise in telling this small story are, indeed, the very same questions that the larger public as concerned citizens are wrestling with,” Murray told Seeding Chicago via email. “Film festivals such as OEFF have the ability to gather like-minded people together and quickly create inertia in positive directions, hopefully reaching a tipping point where legislators and policy makers and community leaders start to listen to their constituencies in ways they would not if the voices were singular or less focused.”
You’ll come away with a real lesson on the high cost of cheap fashion after watching “The True Cost,” a 92-minute documentary about the clothes we wear, the people who make them and the impact the industry is having on our world. While the price of our clothing has been decreasing for decades, the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. “The True Cost” pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?
Hot off its Oscar nomination, another festival selection “Racing Extinction” will really open your eyes. It follows a team of artists and activists who expose the species that are going extinct right in front of our eyes. See this important film Sat., March 5, 3:30 p.m. at Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre, 1022 Lake St., Oak Park (tickets $6). Stay after the film for Q&A with Dave Mrazek and Joel Greenberg, filmmaker and writer of “From Billions to None” as they lead a discussion on endangered species, extinction, and what can be done. Concessions will be available for purchasing snacks and beverages. Facilitator: Gary Cuneen, founding executive director of Seven Generations Ahead. “Racing Extinction” screens again Sat., March 5, 7 p.m. at University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Chicago.
Alexis Aurigemma, who produced “The Sustainable,” a short and lovely film about an Upstate New York couple who design and build their home to produce its own electricity, is one of several filmmakers who will be in town for the festival.
“We believe full heartedly in environmental film festivals,” she says. “The environment is a large topic and by having festivals geared specifically toward environmentally charged films, you are not just holding a film festival, but an educational festival where hopefully people's minds are being broadened so that they can implement what they've learned into their own daily lives. We couldn't be more pleased to be a part of the One Earth Film Festival. It's our biggest festival yet.”
The One Earth Film Festival, in its fifth year, illuminates the environmental topics of the day while creating wide-ranging opportunities for dialogue and action. This year’s festival offers more than two dozen feature length and short films at venues in Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, Wilmette, and Lake and DuPage Counties. Rich discussion and action opportunities follow each screening.
The full weekend includes knowledge-rich guest speakers, electric car experiences, kid-friendly programs, brew and views, CSA signups, art and fashion exhibits, and the kick-off Green Carpet Gala at 4th Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut in downtown Chicago March 4.