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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

22nd Annual Environmental Film Festival

The 22nd Annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s Capital will screen 200 documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental and children’s films across the Washington, D.C., area from March 18 to 30. The challenges posed by the world’s cities, as they strive to balance environmental and economic needs, will be a special focus of this year’s festival. Most screenings include discussion with filmmakers or environmental experts and many are free. The complete schedule will be available on the Festival Web site,

Sustainable DC, a city-wide initiative to make Washington the greenest, healthiest and most livable city in the nation, will be highlighted through films on the city’s Bikeshare program, green roofs and D.C.’s Clean Rivers Project, along with discussions by Washington government officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray, Harriet Tregoning, former director of the District’s Office of Planning,and Keith Anderson, director of the District Department of the Environment.  

Festival films will explore urban environments across the globe, from people-friendly cities like Copenhagen, to the underbelly of crowded Tokyo and earthquake-devastated Port-au-Prince. Eco-cities in Hamburg, Germany and Tianjin, China will be explored, along with the efforts of four key mega-cities–New York, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Paris—to integrate nature and wildlife into urban contemporary life. The development of green skyscrapers; the visionary architecture of Paolo Soleri; the trend toward small homes; the overwhelming impact of tourism on Venice and the role of urban farming in America will be examined.

Films and programs of particular interest to Natural Awakenings readers are: The Human Experiment on March 21; GMO OMG on March 23; Thomas Berry: The Great Story on March 24; American Meat on March 25; Toxic Hot Seat and Food Savers on March 26; Happiness on March 27 and on March 29, American University’s School of Communication, Center for Environmental Filmmaking, will host a screening and panel discussion, Farming for the Future: Enduring Traditions-Innovative Practices.

A series of films at Smithsonian museums will consider “Living in the Anthropocene: The Age of Humans.” Topics will include: the links between extreme weather; climate change and national security; issues surrounding coastal development, erosion and rising sea levels; evaluating the limits of Earth’s carrying capacity and capturing changing conditions at Earth’s polar extremes.

Additional festival films will explore the life and mission of oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle; the impact of tourism on our planet; the growing momentum behind river restoration in the U.S.; the escalating demand for sand across the globe; changing attitudes toward dams; the efforts of an educator/activist to empower Indonesian tribes to save their rain forests and the issues surrounding nuclear energy in Africa and the debate over a proposed uranium mill in the western U.S.

Film-goers can also take a poetic journey along Ireland’s River Shannon, an excursion into the Amazon rainforest and a cable car ride through a vast valley in Nepal, where the famous Manakamana Temple attracts pilgrims and tourists from the world over. Wildlife, including kangaroos, rhinos and chimpanzees will be spotlighted, along with winners from the 2013 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

Two new awards have been established for the 2014 festival, a Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy and the Eric Moe Sustainability Film Award. The Documentary Award recognizes a film that inspires advocacy in response to a compelling environmental challenge. The Eric Moe Sustainability Film Award recognizes a short film that offers an inventive solution to sustainability. A third festival award, the Polly Krakora Award for artistry in film, is in its fifth year.

For more information or to view the complete festival schedule, visit   

June 2020




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