Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Planet In Focus announces complete 2013 film festival programming

John Walker’s visually evocative feature doc, Arctic Defenders opens the Festival

Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Planet in Focus (PIF), Canada’s largest environmentally themed film festival, is proud to announce its robust line-up of features and short films to be screened at the 14th annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival taking place in Toronto on November 21-24th, 2013.

John Walker’s Arctic Defenders is the Opening Night Film and provides a startling revelation that the Canadian government secretly moved Inuit communities into the High Arctic, without proper resources, in order to defend our sovereignty. Italian filmmaker Enrico Cerasuolo’s Last Call is the Closing Night Film and revisits the writers and the theories presented in the 1972 book “The Limits to Growth”, dubbed ‘one of the most important documents of our age’ by the New York Times, the book, explored the impact of over population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion.

“This year, PIF’s film line-up captures a clear snapshot of the state of our environment”, says Dawn Kuisma, Executive Director of Planet in Focus. “From the breathtaking, but endangered landscape of Canada’s High Arctic in John Walker’s Arctic Defenders to the depths of the Canadian owned goldmines in Gold Fever, and in the troubled oceans and rivers of Tyler Mifflin’s, Water Brothers: The Pure and the Poisoned, and Markus Schmidt’s The Last Catch, PIF audiences will explore some of the most beautiful and also most at risk areas of our planet.”

Kuisma adds “PIF’s new Fest Forum will present four films accompanied by panel discussions with filmmakers, academics, scientists and activists who care deeply about our world. The issues of focus for 2013 include: Climate Change, Activism, Water and GMOs. We’re pleased to have 14-year old, Rachel Parent as part of our discussion on GMOs. We hope to inspire individuals of all ages to make positive change by presenting ‘3 Actionable Items’ with every film which can be easily executed.”

2013 Films

Opening Night Film presented by ORGANIC GARAGE
ARCTIC DEFENDERS A startling revelation that the Canadian government secretly moved Inuit communities into the High Arctic, without resources, to defend our sovereignty. (CANADA) John Walker / 2013 / 90 min.

Closing Night Film
LAST CALL In 1972, the world ignored the predictions in the famous book, “The Limits to Growth” which outlined the impact of population, industrialization, resource and food shortages. Having ignored the warnings, what should we do now? (ITALY) Enrico Cerasuolo / 2013 / 90 mins

2013 Film Programme:

A RIVER CHANGES COURSE This breathtaking, Sundance award-winning, doc follows three rural Cambodian families’ quiet struggle to preserve traditions in the face of globalization. (USA/CAMBODIA) Kalyanee Mam / 2013 / 83 mins
Sponsored by WASTECO
Co-presented by the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

ATANARJUAT: THE FAST RUNNER An Inuit legend comes to life in Zach Kunuk’s heart-pounding and visually breath-taking tale of love and revenge. (CANADA) Zacharias Kunuk / 2001 / 172 mins
Special Screening sponsored by Telefilm Canada and co-presented by ImagiNative Film & Media Arts Festival

BAD COYOTE Taylor Mitchell’s death by two coyotes shocked Atlantic Canada, leading to the criminalization of the species. (CANADA) Jason Young / 2013 / 53 min.

BIDDER 70 On December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher outbid industry giants on land parcels slated for controversial oil and gas development, winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted. (USA) Beth and George Gage / 2012 / 73 min.
Fest Forum presentation sponsored by Me2We Style, NOW Magazine

BURNING ICE In September 2009, 40 artists join the climate change project, Cape Farewell (a on nine-day voyage in the Arctic to experience the effects of climate change) and begin a creative conversation with the rest of the world about one of the most important issue facing humanity.
(UK) Peter Gilbert / 2010 / 80 min.
Fest Forum presentation sponsored by Cape Farewell, The Walrus and Bullfrog Power

CARPE DIEM: A FISHY TALE A scientific look of the environmental impact of the Asian carp in North American waters. (CANADA) Charlotte Engel / 2013 / 21 min.
Fest Forum presentation sponsored by School of Environmental + Natural Resource Science Fleming College

ECO-BITS (shorts program) Crackdown dir. Jan Keck, Just Passing Through dir. Tess Girard, On the Border dir. Mohamed El-Ashhab, Reclaimed dir. Daniel Thomson, The Environmentalist dir. Jacob Bond, Well-Fished dir. Corinne Dunphy. (CANADA)
Co-presented by LIFT, Cycle Toronto, Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival, Canadian Film Festival

EKUMENOPOLIS Transforming Istanbul into a European modernist vision is tough on its citizens--and its planners. (TURKEY) Imre Azem / 2013 / 83 min.
Sponsored by HOOPLAH

ELEMENTAL Eriel Deranger confronts the developers of the Tar Sands project in Canada, Jay Harman searches for financiers of his revolutionary device that fights global warming in Australia; Rajendra Singh tries to shut down factories poluting the Ganges. All three are about to lose their homes. (USA) Emmanual Vaughan-Lee / 2012 / 93 min
Co-presented by Alternatives Journal and The Conservation Council of Ontario

EMPTYING THE SKIES Writer Jonathan Franzen’s joins a passionate crusade in Southern Europe to save songbirds from becoming a delicacy in posh restaurants.
(USA) Douglas Kass / 2013 / 75 min.
Sponsored by WWF

THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE Are animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights? (CANADA) Liz Marshall / 2013 / 85 min. Sponsored by LUSH

GMO OMG Jeremy Seifert launches an investigation into one of the food industry’s best-kept secrets, Genetically Modified Organisms.
(USA) Jeremy Seifert / 2013 / 93 min.
Fest Forum presentation sponsored by Organic Garage, Chipotle and York University Environmental Studies

GOLD FEVER A riveting story about the dramatic impact of a Canadian-owned goldmine in Guatemala and the courageous efforts of the local people to stop it.
(USA) JT Haines, Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne / 2013 / 84 min.
Co-presented by Mining Injustice Solidarity Network

GREEN FAMILY: BACK TO NATURE Artist Robert Bateman, and 12- year-old singer-songwriter Ta’Kaiya Blaney are just two Canadians who are leading us ‘back to nature’. (CANADA) Joan Prowse / 2013 / 25 min.
Sponsored by OPSEU, ING and KidsCanPress

GRINGO TRAILS Tourists may bring capital to even the most remote destinations, but that’s not all they bring. This groundbreaking doc reveals the footprint tourism leaves behind. (USA) Pegi Vail / 2013 / 76 min.

HAVE YOU SEEN ARANA? This beautiful doc gives voice to the residents of a culturally rich and bio-diverse region in South India where industrial development is causing a drastic and dangerous transformation. (INDIA) Sunanda Bhat / 2013 / 72 min.

KISS THE WATER An eccentric Scot becomes a legend through her unusual talent: spinning salmon fishing flies. (USA/UK) Eric Steel / 2013 / 80 min.
Co-presented by Female Eye Film Festival

THE LAST CATCH Mediterranean fish and the fishers both face extinction due to an inherently flawed system based on greed. (GERMANY) Markus CM Schmidt / 2012 / 84 min. Co-presented by Reel World Film Festival

METAMORPHOSEN Poetic and bleak, Metamorphosen depicts Russians surviving after a nuclear meltdown. (GERMANY) Sebastian Mez / 2012 / 84 min.
Sponsored by The Goethe Institute

THE MOSUO SISTERS A gripping story of two sisters, two Chinas, and the struggle to keep both a traditional culture and an intimate familial relationship alive.
(USA) Marlo Poras / 2012 / 80 min.
Sponsored by OPSEU
Co-presented by WIFT-T

NO LAND, NO FOOD, NO WATER This film gives voice to farmers fighting for sustainable agriculture in Mali, Uganda and Cambodia. (CANADA) Amy Miller / 2013 / 76 min. Sponsored by Entertainment Partners Canada and Canada Film Capital

REVOLUTION From the evolution of our species to the revolution to save it, Rob Stewart and his team take viewers on a groundbreaking mission into the greatest war ever waged. (USA/CANADA) Rob Stewart / 2012 / 85 min.
Festival Field Trip sponsored by OPSEU, ING Direct, Kids Can Press

SALMON CONFIDENTIAL Biolgist Alexandra Morton surmounts governmental roadblocks to bring critical information to the public in time to save B.C.’s wild salmon.
(USA) Twyla Roscovich / 2013 / 73 min.
Sponsored by Spacing and IATSE

SALT IN THE AIR A captivating doc that explores an abandoned 3,5000 year-old salt mine in the Carpathian mountains - once home to both myth and innovation.
(USA/UKRAINE/ITALY) Enrico Rossini Cullen / 2012 / 76 min.
Co-presented by Hot Docs

SAND WARS Smugglers, crooked politicians and millionaires all want it – sand, yes sand. Integral to construction booms and mass consumer manufacturing, sand is the new frontline of a fascinating global resource war. (CANADA/FRANCE) Denis Delestrac / 2013 / 72 min. Co-presented by the Abu Dhabi International Environmental Film Festival

TOKYO WAKA A visually stunning doc that ponders the relationship between ultra-urban Tokyo, its human inhabitants and its 20,000-strong crow population.
(USA)John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson / 2013 / 63 mins
Co-presented by Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival

WATER BROTHERS: THE PURE AND THE POISONED The Brothers travel to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to find the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a massive collection of plastic waste contained by ocean currents. (CANADA) Tyler Mifflin / 2013 / 25 min.
Festival Field Trip sponsored by OPSEU, ING Direct, Kids Can Press


Filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk calls for action to save Canada’s North

Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Planet in Focus (PIF) unveiled today the 2013 Eco-Heroes Award recipients for the 14th annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival taking place in Toronto on November 21-24th. This year’s recipients are fearless activists and compelling creators whose works inspire global change. Recipients will be presented their award at a formal ceremony during the Festival.

“Planet in Focus selected these individuals as the 2013 Eco-Heroes because through their creative works, activism and their dedication to documenting traditional ways of life and practices, Colonel Hadfield and Zacharias Kunuk inspire individuals to act and demonstrate that each of us can positively contribute to the preservation of our planet,” commented Dawn Kuisma, Executive Director of Planet in Focus.

“I am happy to be selected as the 2013 Canadian Eco-Hero. Inuit live on the front edge of climate change and what happens to us will happen to everyone else sooner or later,” commented award-winning filmmaker Zacharius Kunuk.

Zacharius Kunuk will be participating via video conferencing for a Master Class session during the 2013 PIF Industry Day. Colonel Hadfield will be accepting his at a special presentation during the Festival which will be announced at a later date.

More about the Planet in Focus 2013 Eco-Heroes;

International Eco-Hero: Former Commander of the International Space Station and Artist, Colonel Chris Hadfield, OOnt MSC CD

Col. Hadfield’s scientific and technical accomplishments in outer space focused world attention on the importance of the space program, but it is his artistic abilities that have allowed him to put our ‘Planet in Focus’. As he journeyed through space, Col. Hadfield used his talents as a writer, photographer and musician to reflect on the beauty and fragility of our planet and equally, on our own humanity. His visually evocative photographs of Earth were taken during his tenure as Commander of the International Space Station. Through his photography, he has provided visual proof of the destructive impact we have had on our planet. This is a gift, as it shows that if we shift our actions, we can prevent and reverse our devastating impact.

Canadian Eco-Hero: Filmmaker and Activist, Zacharias Kunuk

Zacharias Kunuk’s internationally acclaimed films that include; Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, The Journals of Knud Ramussen, and Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, give voice to the Inuit People’s perspective on a spectrum of issues including climate change. Planet in Focus is pleased to recognize Kunuk’s work of documenting and collecting first hand accounts from Inuit elders about the impact of climate change on Inuit culture and on the northern environment. Their current challenges may become a road map for the rest of the world as we all cope with the negative impact of climate change.

Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival ‘Sustaining Sponsors’ include: The Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Arts Council, OPSEU, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and TIFF Bell Lightbox.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Planet in Focus (PIF), Canada’s largest environmentally themed film festival, is proud to announce the 2013 Green Screen and Green Pitch award finalists. Green Pitch Award finalists will present their projects to a live audience on Friday, November 22, 2013 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Green Screen Award recipient and runner up will be announced at a formal ceremony during the Festival.

Sponsored by The Harold Greenberg Fund, PIF’s Green Screen Award is given in the name of the television series or film, which highlights the positive role that the film and television industry are playing in creating solutions for a healthier planet. The film or television production with the most inspiring ‘going-green’ story is awarded a cash prize of $5,000 and the runner up receives $1,000. Past winners include the TV series Warehouse 13 Season 2 (2012 winner), and Score: A Hockey Musical (2011 winner).

2013 Green Screen Award finalists are;
Bike City, Great City,
Bread and Iron,
Dead Before Dawn 3D,
Dog Vlog – Episode 1: The Dog Days of Our Environment, and
The Ghost in our Machine

Sponsored by CBC’s ‘Nature of Things’, P.S Production Services, Fearless Films, Precision Transfer, The Source Shop, Wallace Film Studios, and Vistek, the Green Pitch Award promotes projects that are environmentally themed and explore issues pertaining to the ecological environment. Finalists will be presenting their project at the Green Pitch live event, on Friday, November 22, 2013 (5:00 to 6:30 PM) in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The pitch session is open to the public. The Green Pitch Award past winners include the Oscar nominated documentary feature, Up the Yangtze, and the award-winning films, Honey For Sale and Lost Rivers.

The Green Pitch Finalists are;
Lance Carlson for A Million MacGyvers,
Emily Hunter for Activism 2.0,
Jessica Jennings for Ready to Vert,
Annette Mangaard for Alberta Beauty,
Geoff Morrison for Mackenzie's Tributaries, and
Claire Sanford for Hwang Sa, the Fifth Season.

With the purchase of every ticket and membership a tree will be planted in the Planet in Focus Forest located in Alberta by The Carbon Farmer.

About Planet in Focus Foundation
The Planet in Focus Foundation is a non-for-profit, and now, member driven, charitable organization whose mission is to promote environmental education and conservation by raising awareness of environmental issues through a variety of film-based initiatives including; the Planet in Focus Environmental Film & Video Festival (PIF), the School Programs such as the Festival Field Trip and UN World Environment Day Student Film Festival, and the new monthly screening series Salon Vert that showcases the best environmental films from Canada and around the world.


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