The eco factor

Everything is going green these days, so why not the movies? Environment is the focus at the EcoCinema filmfest

The eco factor 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
The eco factor 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 7th Annual EcoCinema International Ecological Film Festival starts on October 26 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and then travels to Rosh Pina, Haifa, Sakhnin, Sderot, Ramat Hanegev, Dimona and Eilat.
More than 30 feature films and documentaries on a wide range of subjects relating to the environment will be shown at the festival’s main venue, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, through October 30. The festival continues until early November at the other theaters.
The goal of the festival founders, led by Tzur Mishal, is to encourage Israelis to make the transition to renewable energy. This year, for the first time, the program includes a series of solar screenings around the country aimed at promoting the solar energy alternative in Israel. These screenings are called the First Solar Cinema Odyssey in Israel.
The opening movie of the festival is Jacques Perrin’s and Jacques Cluzaud’s Oceans, a critically acclaimed documentary that uses the latest advances in camera technology to take audiences deep below the water’s surface. The opening night presentation will include a screening of a short film about the Mayumana dance company, which promotes the use of alternative solar energy. The festival will end with a solar-powered concert by singer Eran Tzur at the Tmuna Theater in Tel Aviv.
The guest of honor at this year’s festival is Mascha Poppenk, one of the co-directors of the film Grown in Detroit, which will be screened. This documentary looks at a group of teen mothers in Detroit who, against all odds, learn how to farm for profit. Other guests at the festival include meteorologist and broadcaster Danny Deutsch; arts professional Dr. Martin Weil; journalist Rino Tzror; chef Eyal Shani; Dandan Bolotin; actress Riki Blich; ornithologist Dr. Yossi Leshem; and environmentalist Orit Stokatli-Bahat.
The Gisha organization will hold a special discussion devoted to freedom of movement and the environmental situation in the Gaza Strip.
The festival includes the Green Shot Student Film Festival, which is supported by Applied Materials and the Porter School of Environmental Studies of the University of Tel Aviv. The prize for the winning entry, for the fourth year, is NIS 100,000. Other awards to be presented on opening night include the Green Jerusalem Prize and the Dreams in Blue Award from the Israeli Diving Association for movies that address the preservation of marine life.
The Oscar-winning documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, started a boom in this genre, and now there are dozens of movies dedicated to every subject related to the environment. Mai Iskander’s Garbage Dreams looks at the lives of the Zaballeen people in Cairo, who make a living by collecting garbage. When their scavenging trade is taken over by outsiders, they face a crisis. Danny Verete is best known as a director of feature films, notably Metallic Blues (2004). But he has gone in a new direction with his latest film, The Human Turbine, about a joint Israeli-Palestinian effort to create renewable energy in the Palestinian village of Susia. Josh Fox’s Gasland won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It tells of what happens when developers buy the gas rights to rural areas and leave a trail of pollution in their wake. The Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos, is an expose of the illegal slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Moshe Alpert’s recent documentary, Land of Genesis, a close-up look at nature in Israel, will be shown here as well.
On Friday, October 29, a Back-to- Nature happening will take place in the Jerusalem Cinematheque plaza. This will include an organic food fair, in conjunction with the City Gardens Community Administration, which will present produce from 30 community gardens in Jerusalem, together with chef Eyal Shani. Walking tours and bicycle tours will leave from the Cinematheque plaza. The happening is supported by the SPNI.
Details of movies and events can be found on the festival website and on the Jerusalem Cinematheque website Tickets for many of the screenings and events are likely to sell out, so it’s worth ordering in advance.