Eco-inspiration with Cinema Verde at the Hipp
by GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk
It's time for the 7th Annual Cinema Verde International Environmental Film & Arts Festival, Feb 11-14, and this year the venue returns to the Hippodrome Cinema, which was the venue for the very first Cinema Verde in 2010. As usual, there are many truly inspirational films. FOLLOW THIS LINK for film trailers, a list of the films and film descriptions, the Festival schedule, or to buy tickets ahead of time.
Also as usual, there is more than just filmsâ€”the ecofair with live music will be on the last day, Sunday, Feb 14
If you think that the films might be too scary or depressing, the note at the bottom of this column is especially for you.
This year, I am so proud that Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog and I are co-sponsoring one of the films, Polyfaces. This film is about a very special farm, Polyface, operated by Joel Salatin and his family. Based on Salatin's unique approach, Polyface defies all the predictions about how to feed the world and shows that we don't need huge monocultures, that a small farm like Polyface can have very large yields, not only in produce, but also in sustaining and even nurturing the environment at the same time that it is being used to feed us.
I first learned about Polyface from Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. His description of how the farm operates is so beautiful I share it with everyone I can. The trailer for the film does not capture the full effect, but here's an excerpt from Pollan's chapter on Polyface:
Polyface Farm is built on the efficiencies that come from mimicking relationships found in nature and layering one farm enterprise over another on the same base of land. In effect, Joel is farming in time as well as in spaceâ€“in four dimensions rather than three. . . . to model a natural ecosystem in all its diversity and interdependence.... He takes advantage of each species' natural proclivities in a way that benefits not only that animal but other species as well. So instead of treating the chicken as a simple egg or protein machine, Polyface honors--and exploits-- "the innate distinctive desires of a chicken," which include pecking in the grass and cleaning up after [cattle]. The chickens get to do, and eat, what they evolved to do and eat, and in the process the farmer and his cattle both profit.
As far as I'm concerned this film is not to be missed!
One of the other films I'm looking forward to is about birds, The Messenger. I am one of those persons who loves to wake up with the birds and hear them singing, but lately I've noticed that there are very few birds. It's a dramatic change from what I used to hear - many different songs going on at once. The Messenger confirms that I am not imagining the difference. Not only that, their morning singing is the least of what they do for us: "As scientists, activists, and bird enthusiasts investigate, amazing secrets of the bird world come to light for the first time in this acclaimed and visually thrilling documentary." The Messenger is an alarm that will wake people up to how we can bring back the songbirds.
Last but not least, no one should miss the Z-Nail Gang. This feel-good dramedy with a conscience from New Zealand is not a documentary but is based on a true story about a town where the residents unite to stop the opening of a mine that will adversely affect their quality of life and environment. The theme song by Luke Thompson alone is worth the show â€“ it is a rousing, inspiring beat of determination where "the walls" represent the excesses of industry and growth that interfere with natural forces, which can eventually boomerang back on us:
Oh the earth shakes,
It shivers and breaks
and the walls that we build up
Fall down and take
It's the walls that we build up
That fall down and take from us
Who am I to question when she does?
- The Walls
-- Luke Thompson
See as many of the Cinema Verde films as you can for a wealth of eco-inspiration.
Flower to the people!
SPECIAL NOTE: Why Watch Films with Disturbing Images and Information? Some people just won't, no matter what. No action films, no violence, no crying. But most of us find that sometimes (not always!) such films also include some redeeming valueâ€”social or otherwise-- that outweigh the negative. For example, for me, the story, cinematography, and vicarious revenge of Quinten Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds were so good they far outweighed the violence. The disturbing images in some films about environmental issues are similar to the gory parts of a scary movie â€“ with one important exception: it's not just for entertainment. Films shown at Cinema Verde are challenges to us to recognize a problem that can only be fixed if everyone -- or at least most of us -- know about the problem and want to fix it.
Public opinion is The Force in our world, in our media-dominated democracy. So come and find out the who, what, where, and how of problems that you can help with just through your awareness. If there are any disturbing parts, just close your eyes and cover your ears at those parts, but keep your mind open and focus on the positive. If you do, you will hear good information and even good news about what other people are doing or what you can do to help sustain our quality of life--so dependent on the quality of our environment--by getting involved in what I have decided to call the epic struggle between development and nature that is being waged on this planet and that is engaging more and more of the world's people.