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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

2016 Environmental Film Festival to Explore “Parks: Protecting Wild”

Jan 31, 2016 10:31PM
by Helen Strong

The 24th annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s Capital, the largest and longest-running environmental film festival in the country and the largest film festival in Washington, D.C., will present more than 130 films selected to provide fresh perspectives on a wide variety of environmental issues facing the earth, from March 15 to 26. The complete festival schedule will be posted at

Parks: Protecting Wild,” exploring the vital role of parks and protected areas on our planet, will be the focus of a selection of 2016 festival films. By preserving the natural world and conserving the planet’s resources—forests, oceans, fresh water, clean air, wildlife and biodiversity—protected areas are key to maintaining the globe’s ecological balance.

A salute to the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the new MacGillivray Freeman IMAX film, National Parks Adventure, explores the mountains, canyons and waters of our spectacular national parks, from Yosemite and Yellowstone to the Everglades, while An American Ascent documents the first African-American expedition to tackle Denali, North America’s highest peak, in Alaska’s Denali National Park.

City of Trees, directed and produced by local filmmakers Brandon and Lance Kramer, documents the efforts of the Washington, D.C. nonprofit Parks & People to provide green jobs at the height of the recession by planting trees in underserved D.C. parks.

Sherpa, set within Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal, tells the shocking story of how Mount Everest’s Sherpa community united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain following the deadly avalanche in 2014 that killed 16 of their members. The film highlights this volatile time in the Everest climbing industry, which served as a turning point for many of the sherpas and their families as they considered whether to continue working on the mountain.

Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning writer and director David Vassar will present a cinematic excursion through some of our nation’s most magnificent parks with a retrospective of clips from his films exploring Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Death Valley National Parks. He will also show California Forever, telling stories from 50 California state parks, as well as selected scenes from Vassar’s current production, Conspiracy of Extremes, advocating for desert protection in Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.

West Virginia-based filmmaker John Grabowska will show his films, Ribbon of Sand, exploring the wild, remote and fragile beaches of North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Sky Island, capturing the enchanting landscape of New Mexico’s rugged Jemez Mountains.

The remote forests of Kalkalpen National Park in Austria, the largest area of wilderness in the European Alps, are spotlighted in the Austrian film, Making An Ancient Forest, which will be screened at the Embassy of Austria. Left alone by humans for nearly 25 years, these forests have been allowed to return to their natural, primeval state, encouraging the return of wildlife such as the lynx.

Viewers can travel back in time at the National Archives to visit America’s parks as they were 80 years ago. From the towering Redwoods and exotic flora of Land of the Giants, to the purple high country vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains, and New Mexico’s drifting White Sands, the Archives will present a selection of clips from films made about our national parks as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s.

Screenings will take place at over 40 venues across the D.C. metro area and include discussion with filmmakers, scientists and policy makers, and many are free.

For more information and to view the full schedule, visit

Helen Strong is the press contact for the Environmental Film Festival and can be reached at [email protected]


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