2012 Environmental Film Festival Showcases Urban Sustainability

The Environmental Film Festival will take place on March 13-25 in Washington, D.C. This year, the film festival is celebrating 20 years of advancing environmental understanding through the power of film. Since its inauguration in 1993, the film festival has grown to attract an audience of 30,000 people.

This year, the festival will present 180 engaging and thought-provoking films from 42 countries. Among these films will be “Revenge of the Electric Car,” a look at the struggle of four entrepreneurs to bring the electric car back to the world market in the midst of a global recession. Holger Dalkmann, director of EMBARQ (the producer of this blog,) will join a panel discussion among energy experts following the movie, to be screened on March 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Here are a few other films that might pique your interest. If you would like to write a film review on any one of these movies for TheCityFix, please contact Managing Editor Erica Schlaikjer: eschlaikjer [at] wri [dot] org.

March 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Carnegie Institution for Science, Elihu Root Auditorium
1530 P St., NW
(Metro: Dupont Circle)

World Premiere What will it really take to go from the energies that built our world to the energies that will shape our future? Our transportation and housing, food and water, communications, light, heat and cooling – our entire modern life depends on energy. For more than a century, that energy has been mostly provided by oil and coal. With concerns about environmental impact and supply, we’ve begun the shift to energy alternatives. Join Dr. Scott Tinker on a global journey to find out how. In Switch, he explores the world’s leading energy sites, from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, many highly restricted and never before filmed, and gets straight answers from international leaders of government, industry and academia. He investigates the leading issues of energy: If coal is dirty, why do we keep using it? Will oil get more expensive? Will it run out? How risky is hydraulic fracturing? How dangerous is nuclear? What are the biggest challenges, and most promising solutions, to our energy transition? With a keen eye and a balanced perspective, Dr. Tinker unravels complex problems and sidesteps the politics to offer a path to our future that is both surprising and remarkably pragmatic. Directed by Harry Lynch. Produced by Arcos Films.

March 15 at 7:00 p.m.
E Street Cinema
555 11th St., NW (entrance on E St. between 10th & 11th Sts.)
(Metro: Metro Center, 11th & G Sts. exit or Gallery Place/ Chinatown, 7th & F Sts. exit.)

Washington, D.C. Premiere The culmination of a years-long project to cultivate talented young filmmakers from the hillside favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, 5X Favela’s five short episodes offer a rare glimpse of the vigorous culture emerging from these communities, exploding the popular myth that favelas are merely hotbeds of drugs and violence. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Directed by Manaíra Carneiro, Wagner Novais, Rodrigo Felha, Cacau Amaral, Luciano Vidigal, Cadu Barcellos and Luciana Bezerra.

March 21 at 12 noon
The Textile Museum
2320 S St., NW
(Metro: Dupont Circle)

Renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas moves around Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, over a period of two years, talking to people and familiarizing himself with the city in his attempt to understand the nature of rapid urbanization that is taking place in one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Koolhaas’s fascination with Lagos stems from the apparently unplanned nature of its growth and the ability of the city to cope with the influx of people without visible mechanisms to deal with the outcomes of growth. The film offers the chance to see Africa as a locus of dynamism and aspiration. Koolhaas wishes to celebrate a city that lacks a maker, a city that operates like an organism and can continue to grow exponentially without Western illusions of control.Directed by Bregtje van der Haak. Produced by Sylvia Baan for Peter van Huystee Film.

March 21 at 6:30 pm
National Building Museum
401 F St., NW
(Metro: Judiciary Square)

Washington, D.C. Premiere Taking its name from a question that Buckminster Fuller asked the architect about his Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, this documentary traces the rise of Britain’s leading architect, Norman Foster. The film explores the passions and influences of this 76-year-old award-winning architect, whose buildings include some of today’s most stunning and innovative architectural structures: the Beijing airport, the Hearst building in New York, the remodeled Reichstag in Berlin and the world’s tallest bridge in Millau, France. Directed by Carlos Carcas and Norberto López Amado.

March 22 at 6:00 pm & 7:30 pm
The George Washington University, Marvin Center, 3rd Floor Ampitheater
800 21st St., NW
(Metro: Foggy Bottom/GWU)

Washington, D.C. Premiere Embark on a journey from our evolutionary past and the origins of architecture to the world’s most celebrated buildings in a search for the architecture of life. The film showcases buildings that connect people and nature – hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive and communities where people know their neighbors and families thrive. As an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work and learn, biophilic design reflects humanity’s need for a connection to nature. Despite this need, we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from the natural world. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world. The film points the way to creating healthy and productive habitats for modern humans. Directed and produced by Bill Finnegan. Executive Producer: Stephen Kellert.

March 22 at 6:30 pm
National Building Museum
401 F St., NW
(Metro: Metro: Judiciary Square)

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities are not created by any one specialist or expert. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain. This documentary examines the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders and thinkers. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities. In English, Spanish, German and Portuguese with English subtitles. Directed and produced by Gary Hustwit.

March 23 at 7:00 pm
National Museum of the American Indian, Elmer and Mary Louise Rasmuson Theater, First Level Entrances at Fourth St. & Independence Ave., SW and Fourth St. and Jefferson Dr., SW
(Metro: L’Enfant Plaza)

Washington, D.C. Premiere The Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center: for more than 120 years, Mohawk ironworkers have raised America’s modern cityscapes. They are called “sky walkers” because they walk fearlessly atop steel beams just a foot wide, high above the city. Who are these Mohawk sky walkers? What is their secret for overcoming fear? Has “sky walking” replaced an ancient rite of passage? Or is it the pure need to adapt in order to survive? And what is their life really like, when every Friday at quitting time, they jump in their cars and make the eight-hour drive up north to their families on the reservation? This documentary looks at Indian life in the 21st century, from the fragile hierarchy on top of the breathtaking steel structures in New York City to life ‘on the Rez’ where problems like unemployment and crime make it hard to see the pristine beauty of the surrounding lands. The film allows access to the lives of those ironworkers and, in the process, offers a different perspective on contemporary Native Americans. Directed by Katja Esson. Produced in association with WDR and ARTE.

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