Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, Oct 12-16

The 12th Annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival begins tonight in Toronto. This year's theme is "Landscapes."

The opening night film will be The Revenge of the Electric Car, Chris Paine's follow-up to his acclaimed film Who Killed the Electric Car? Director Chris Paine and car converter Greg “Gadget” Abbott will walk the “green carpet” and be in attendance for the screening.

In addition to a diverse lineup of films, the festival offers a free children and youth program. There will also be an expanded industry series with panels, workshops and events of interest for all filmmakers and cineastes.

The 2011 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival runs from October 12-16th in downtown Toronto.


The 12th Annual Environmental Film Festival October 12–16, 2011 in Toronto: Be there!

Don't miss five full days of film premieres, receptions, workshops and gala presentations during Canada's largest environmental film festival. With approximately 75 Canadian and international films to choose from, and artists and filmmakers from all over the world, festival-goers have a chance to get up close and personal with those that are helping to shine a light on the stories and issues that matter most. Be entertained and inspired this October.

For Tickets & and Passes, Visit

For Further iInformation, e-mail 

Festival Hot Pick: "Portrait of Resistance: The Art & Activism of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge"
Screening Thursday, Oct 13 2011 – 7:00PM at the ROM
Director, Producer and Artists in attendance.
Portrait of Resistance explores not only the art and activism of Toronto-based, socially conscious art vanguards Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, but also the underlying philosophy marrying the two; that "People who produce culture are in some way trying to make change. It's a difference of whether you're changing the art world or you're changing the real world." 

Featuring Toronto art personalities, migrant and union workers, healthcare professionals and a diverse array of activists, the duo's photographic allegories of environmental, health, labour and economic issues mount poignant visual protests that voice the collective concerns of the communities around them. Insightful and inspiring, Portrait of Resistance illuminates the socially, politically and environmentally charged layers of art and artist alike.

Opening Night Gala: "Revenge of the Electric Car" with "The National Parks Project: Standing Wave"

Screening Wednesday, October 12 – 7:00PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Director and Special Guests in attendance.
The electric car is back with a vengeance! Following the complicated debates starting in 2006 when the car was taken out by the same companies that built it to the present-day when companies such as Nissan, GM and Tesla Motors are competing for its revival, Revenge of the Electric Car offers a front seat view of the cut-throat world of the car industry. 

Narrated by Tim Robbins, the films stars a cast of industry heavyweights including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg "Gadget" Abbott. 

A powerful and gripping sequel to Who Killed the Electric Car?, Paine ushers us into a new dawn for cleaner commuting in this edge-of-your-seat thriller where companies realize that taking a risk on a "new" green option might just be worth it! 

Opening Night Gala
Join us on the Green Carpet for an unforgettable Opening Night Gala, which includes the presentation of the 2011 Canadian Eco Hero Opening Night Gala Presentation to Kevin McMahon and a screening of his short film National Parks Project: Standing Wave. The Opening Night Film and Canadian Eco Hero Award Presentation will be followed by a reception at Devil's Martini.

Closing Night Gala: "The Whale", narrated by Ryan Reynolds
Screening Sunday, October 16 - 7:00PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
Directors in attendance.
In 2001, a young orca named Luna lost contact with his family in Puget Sound, later turning up in Nootka Sound, off the coast of Vancouver Island. Without other whales to bond with, Luna began living along the shoreline, reaching out to boaters for companionship. Smart, friendly and determined, Luna demanded human contact, and the residents of the Sound were happy to adopt him as their own.
But as Luna's story gained notoriety, fierce battles broke out between the Canadian government, NGOs who wished to return Luna to his family, the Mowachaht tribe who deemed Luna's arrival a sacred event and those who were simply touched by Luna's spirit. 

Directed by journalists Chisholm and Parfit, executive produced by Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson and with an intimate narration by Ryan Reynolds, The Whale captures the complicated interaction between humans and animals and celebrates the whale's spirit in the face of adversity.

Closing Night Gala, Awards & Reception

The evening includes an Award presentation of the 2011 International Eco Hero Award to Richard O'Barry, the 2011 Planet in Focus 2011 Film Awards, a screening of Discovery World HD's "Film Snacks"-winning video introduced by Daily Planet co-host Ziya Tong and the Closing Night Reception at Hotel Ocho.

2011 Spotlight: Landscapes Redefined

Created over time, landscapes are more than simply the physical environment; they directly impact human existence and cultural development. People and place combine to form local and national identities, and help define the character of a particular region and their cultural and artistic expression.

Films from our international selection look at how issues as diverse as rising sea levels, slash-and-burn agriculture, post-industrialism, the globalized food trade, desertification, glacial recession and the generation of coal and nuclear energy are transforming global land and seascapes.

FREE Children's Program
Screening Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16 at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre
Be sure to register for the completely free children and youth program, full of fun and engaging short ï¬ï¿½lms specially programmed for children! Join us at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre for two days of exciting and educational programming for children, including the Green Sprouts showcase featuring films made by youth for youth.

Film Screenings (open to all, films for ages 3–13) take place in the Al Green Theatre. A pre-registered animation workshop courtesy of the NFB follows the Saturday screenings in the Dance Studio. Limited space is available for the animation workshop so please pre-register early.

For registration, visit
Get a free reusable bag from Take Your Bag for a Walk when you attend any children's screening!


ON THE LINE and SPOIL both address Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, investigating how the pipeline would affect the communities and ecosystems on the projected oil route.
- In Attendance: ON THE LINE Director Frank Wolf

BRICK BY BRICK: THE STORY OF THE EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS follows Evergreen Director Geoff Cape on his mission to realize the Brick Works renewal and ecosystem rehabilitation project. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on sustainable design in Toronto.
In Attendance: Catherine Annau, Filmmaker, Brick by Brick; Jennifer Holness, Producer, Brick by Brick; Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen; Carl Hastrich, Faculty of Design Instructor, OCAD University / Biomimicry Institute Fellow / Biomimicry Guild Associate; Matthew Blackett, Publisher & Creative Director, Spacing. 

THE GOLD OF OTHERS(L'Or des autres) - unearths the struggle between the federal Mining Act’s prioritization of the right to exploit subsoil resources—in this case, gold—and citizens’ rights to protect their land and property in Malartic, Quebec.
- In Attendance: Director Simon Plouffe

Narrated by actor and environmentalist Peter Coyote, the film investigates how the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands is putting half of Canada's water supply at risk.
- In Attendance: Director David Lavallee

Explores the art and activism of Toronto-based, socially-conscious art vanguards Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge,
- In Attendance: Filmmakers Roz Owen and Jim Miller, and artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge

Follows tropical ecologist Mike Hands on a three-year journey as he attempts to persuade Honduran farmers to adopt a groundbreaking, sustainable alternative to the widespread practice of slash-and-burn agriculture
- In Attendance: Director Adam Wakeling

Explorer and climate journalist Bernice Notenboom and her team embark on a 750-kilometre kayak expedition on the Bani and Niger Rivers towards Timbuktu, Mali to discover how the local Fulani, Bozo and Tuareq tribes are adapting to extreme weather conditions
- In Attendance: Director Bernice Notenboom
Follows Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a Nuclear Analyst with Greenpeace Canada, as he journeys to Chernobyl on the 25thanniversary of its nuclear catastrophe and to Fukushima, where earlier this year the threat of nuclear disaster unfolded.
- In Attendance: Director Aube Giroux
Filmmaker, green economy educator and Ottawa city councillor David Chernushenko takes us on a global journey from his home—where he is working to find energy-saving solutions—to a tour of Europe, where renewable energies are far more common.  From amazing innovators to eccentric eco-activists to communities completely powered by renewable energy, Chernushenko discovers that the motivations for political, economic and democratic change are right here in front of us.
-In Attendance: Ottawa city councillor David Chernushenko


Witnesses partners Jen and Grant’s battle to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least amount of garbage in a year. Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of waste in North American society.
- In Attendance: Filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer


Explores how limited access to clean water in Kenya’s Western Province is forcing its population to felling trees to boil drinking water. With projected carbon emission cuts at 2,000,000 tons in the first year, an innovative company has financed the distribution and maintenance of 900,000 water filters to communities in the Western Province based entirely on carbon credits.
-In Attendance: Filmmakers Evan Abramson and Carmen Abramson

Amidst a fury of hurricanes, steady erosion and the expanding saltwater canals of neighbouring oil and gas companies, the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaws—the last generation of French-speaking Native Americans residing on southern Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles—refuse to abandon their rapidly sinking island.
-In attendance: Filmmakers Evan Abramson and Carmen Abramson.                                    
An inspired look at the new environmental movement in China. Seen through the eyes of activists, farmers and journalists, award-winning director Gary Marcuse follows an extraordinary campaign to stop a huge dam project on the Upper Yangtze River in Southwestern China. The film features astonishing archival footage never seen outside of China, as well as interviews with a government insider and the people who are working to save the river.
- In Attendance: Director Gary Marcuse

Filmmaker Mark Terry, winner of the Gemini Humanitarian Award this year for his work on climate change, explores the rapidly changing Arctic and Antarctic, uncovering new life on the ocean seabed and other previously inaccessible areas of the Arctic seas.
In Attendance: Director Mark Terry

Built in 1986 and home to 150 families, the social housing unit in the outskirts of Milan, Italy known as “The White” got its nickname from the thick layer of white asbestos covering its surface
-In Attendance: Director Simona Risi



A fascinating portrait about an isolated community at the end of a weathered road in Death Valley, California.  Once a thriving mining town, Darwin is now home to a population of only 35 people who live without government, a church or regular jobs.  "DARWIN is a beautiful, elegiac work with unexpected impact and meaning." (L.A. Times)

Follows Swiss school teacher Louis Palmer and his homemade Solartaxi on his epic 18-month adventure spanning the globe. Making history as the world’s first circumnavigator powered exclusively by the sun, Louis demonstrates to a multitude of passengers—including Jay Leno, James Cameron, Prince Hassan of Jordan and renowned scientists and politicians—that solar energy is not only functional and efficient, but a reliable alternative to fossil fuels.

Planet in Focus is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. To honour Dr. Maathai’s legacy, we will be holding a special screening of the powerful documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai on Thursday October 13 at 5:15 p.m. at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (750 Spadina Road, at Bloor Street) as part of the 12thAnnual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival.


Continuing to develop Planet in Focus’ educational mandate and cultivating a new generation of “green film lovers,” the Children and Youth Programs encompass the School Program (Oct. 11-13), FREE Children’s Programs (Oct. 15-16) and FREE Green Sprouts! Youth Filmmakers’ Showcase, (Oct. 16) which includes films from Planet in Focus’ own Youth Camera Action! Screening will be four short films from Youth Camera Action!, a video production program for youth 13 +. This year the program was held in the Jane-Finch community. 
- Youth Filmmakers will be in attendance on Sunday, October 16 at JCC.

Building on the success of previous years, the Festival features an expanded Industry Series which will include two days of panels, three innovative programs, a pitch session and new funding opportunities. The Industry Series represents a key crossroads for established and emerging filmmakers, broadcasters, distributors and business leaders interested in opportunities and collaboration in the environmental sector. The industry events will take place on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14 at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto, and will conclude with an awards ceremony and reception.

Highlights of the Industry series include: The Eco-Corporate Roundtable, an historic and innovative summit that builds bridges between environmental filmmakers and corporate business leaders from Tim Horton’s, Loblaw and ING Direct.

In addition, the Festival also presents the highly anticipated Planet in Focus Green Screen Panel, which is devoted to cutting-edge developments in environmentally-friendly film production practices.

The inaugural Planet in Focus Green Screen Award, which consists of a cash prize of $5,000, recognizes a filmmaker or producer who has taken behind-the-scenes action to incorporate eco-friendly film production techniques in a film or television production.

The Green Pitch
— an exciting competition awarding $5,500 in development funding and services to the best eco-film idea. Finalists will pitch their projects before a jury of film and television professionals and gain valuable, first-hand feedback.

Five full days of screenings, workshops and receptions are capped with the Closing Night Gala, where Planet in Focus will present five competitive awards on Sunday, October 16 at 7:00 PM.

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