Environmental Film Festival opens today

Over the next 11 days the DC Environmental Film Festival will screen more than 140 feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the world. Among them are 10 movies from Spanish-speaking countries including Mexico, Peru, and Spain, plus a Noche Dominicana showcase of three award-wining films from the Dominican Republic.

DCEFFThe festival, now in its 24th year, presents films at different theaters of the city. This years’ selection is rich in variety, from featuring endangered and unique species striving to survive to futuristic technological concepts and the personal stories of families living in critical environmental conditions. Tonight it begins with a Canadian documentary on the Atlantic Puffins and their adaptability in a fast changing environment. The screening will take place at the Embassy of Canada with the first showtime at 4:00 p.m. Although many of the films are free, don’t forget to RSVP at the official festival website. (And come back here later this week for our story about the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival and this Friday’s films.)

Here are a few suggestions among this year’s Spanish-language selection:

Jardín en el mar (Garden in the sea)
Jardin-3This exceptional project covers the story of a group of people who worked for the protection of the Islands in the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Eventually, they achieved the Islands becoming a UNESCO world heritage site. In order to celebrate the success of preserving this unique ecosystem, Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias created a “Garden in the Sea”, a labyrinth like setting of varios pillars sunk into the sea, that nature marine life will grow over, creating a garden. This documentary is a journey to beautiful sceneries, and a reminder of the delicate situations confronted by nature everyday. The film was directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, winner of the 2013 Green Tenacity Award.

You can watch a preview here https://www.jardinenelmar.com/

The screening will take place at the Mexican Cultural Institute, on Thurs., Mar. 17, at 6:45 p.m. Free but you must RSVP.
Environmental Consciousness and Natural Beauty of Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic Environmental Film Fest (DREFF) is presenting three films that celebrate Dominican Republic’s rich ecosystems at Friday’s Noche Dominicana event. “Reserva de la Biosfera,” opens the presentation with a series of short documentaries exploring unbelievable reservoirs. The other two films are “Value of Life, and the short film 7 Grams.

Value of Life,” presents the value of nature from different points of view. “Value of Life” shows how different people in the Dominican Republic value and preserve nature. Environmental economists, international organizations representatives, and people who live in the shown communities and work the organic fields were interviewed,” explains the film’s director Natasha Despotivic. Together, they contribute in the creation of a new sustainable development model, she says. The interesting part of the movie is the integration of the intellectualized theories and interviews with subject experts, “Sustainable development occurs when these elements are combined, when the people who study for years integrate their knowledge with the people who work the land with their hands everyday,” she says.

7 Grams,” winner of the Dominican festival’s Green Globe award, tells the heartwarming story of a hummingbird that decided to nest in the middle of a construction site. Instead of tearing down the nest, 50 construction workers went about their work in such way that the hatchlings could grow and survive in their nest. Finally, the construction workers decided to relocate the nest in order to finish construction without leaving the hummingbirds homeless. The effort and dedication from the workers—as well as the filmmakers—makes for a thrilling story about love and kindness in nature.

After the screenings, there will be an open panel with Natasha Despotovic, director of “Value of Life” and of the Dominican film festival.

The “Dominican Night/Noche Dominicana” screening will take place at the GALA Hispanic Theatre, on Friday, Mar.18, at 7:00 p.m.  Free but you must RSVP.
After the Spill
This American documentary presents the reality that the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems are facing after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, in 2010, flooding the whole Mexican coastline with crude oil and devastating the marine ecosystem conditions. Filmmaker Jon Bowemaster returns to the Louisiana shores five years after the disaster, and interviews local fishermen, environmentalists, politicians and oil rig workers, to expose the impact of the catastrophe. Will the ecosystem ever recover?

The screening will take place at the National Geographic Society, on Fri., Mar. 18, at 6:00 p.m.

—Brenda Huerta

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