EarthxFilm 2019: Environmentally-focused Film Festival

EarthX

 EarthxFilm, the environmentally focused film festival will take place at Fair Park and select theaters throughout Dallas, Texas on April 19-28.

Following a Kick-Off week of special screenings and events from April 19-24, Ben Masters’ THE RIVER AND THE WALL will serve as this year’s Spotlight Screening selection with a Gala Presentation at the Perot Museum on Thursday, April 25.

Among the 16 feature films, 40 shorts, 40+ immersive entertainment experiences and exhibits that shine a light on important conservation efforts, the continued adaptation necessary due to the effects of climate change, and investigation into the impact – oftentimes unexpectedly – into areas of our lives because of pollution, lack of conservation, and global warming. EarthxFilm will once again give an important platform to the filmmakers and the truth they have discovered and uncovered that reaches all of us – many times in our own backyards.

EarthxFilm will also continue its work to take a more active role in helping effect change and be a positive force in addition to introducing these films to the Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas audiences, by handing out a number of cash prizes to the film festival’s award-winning filmmakers, to aid them in continuing their important work, help further along future projects careers of the filmmakers, and assist in the continued exhibition of these important films. Cash jury and audience prizes will total $25,000 this year.

EarthxFilm’s co-Founder/President, Michael Cain, said, “This year, we will continue to increase our footprint across Dallas, screening films, presenting virtual reality, interactive projects and environmentally-focused panels at a number of theaters and venues all over the city – beyond our wonderful hub at Fair Park during EarthX, April 26-28. These films and the filmmakers behind them deserve the largest audiences we can provide as the impact and immediacy of their subjects touch every one of us.

EarthxFilm Artistic Director David Holbrooke, said, “This year’s EarthxFilm slate clearly shows the urgency of the many crucial battles going on all over the world on the environmental landscape. However, these documentaries aren’t simply earnest attempts to advocate for a just cause but are serious, well-crafted stories that bear witness to what is happening out there on the front lines. Audiences will be motivated and inspired by the real-life heroes in these movies and will come out of the theaters ready to make their own impact.”

EarthXFilm Fest Line Up

THE RIVER AND THE WALL

The River and the Wall follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Inspired by the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead, and what he saw as the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas, Masters recruited NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on a two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.

SHARKWATER EXTINCTION
Highlights include films featuring the attempt to save animals and species around the world, whose survival also has an impact far beyond that single life or the one species’ lives. David Hambridge’s KIFARU, about the effort of a small group of rangers in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, devoted  to caring for and protecting Sudan, the last male white rhino, along with Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. Richard Ladkani’s SEA OF SHADOWS focuses on the fight to save the earth’s smallest whale, the vaquita, which is at the point of extinction due to the mass fishing of the totoaba (described as the “cocaine of the sea” due to the black market price for the fish’s bladder) in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

Rob Stewart’s SHARKWATER EXTINCTION follows the late filmmaker and activist’s continued efforts to expose the shark fin and fishing industry that continue to drive the extinction of the species. Ross Kauffman’s TIGERLAND weaves together two stories of tiger conservation – one a half century ago in India, and the second, which is taking place today in Russia’s Far East, where guardians of the last Siberian tigers risk everything to save the species.

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
John and Molly Chester were living in Santa Monica when they were forced to move from their apartment because their dog was making too much noise for the neighbors. What they moved to was a dream of sorts, a scratchy, tired farm less than an hour from Los Angeles. Molly was a chef with a vision of a farm that produced a wide variety of fresh, thoughtfully grown food that she could cook with. John’s background was filmmaking. And together with no real agricultural experience between the couple, they took on the arduous, multi-year task of reimagining and reworking their Apricot Lanes Farm into a robust and highly functioning biodynamic operation that stays true to their values of growing food without pesticides, poisons or any of the other mainstays of modern farming. Their story is captured in this remarkable film that educates and inspires us on how we can eat and live a different life.

COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE
What’s the best way to prepare for disaster? In today’s era of mega-storms, raging wildfires and record-breaking floods, that question is on the minds of many. In COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODEa film inspired by Eric Kinenberg’s book HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, director Judith A. Helfand carefully unpacks the topic. Helfand takes viewers on a journey from the deadly 1996 Chicago heat disaster to the extreme weather, extreme disparity and the politics of disaster that define today’s modern era, posing the question: What if a zip code was just a number, and not a life-or-death sentence?

INTO THE CANYON
When photojournalist Pete Mcbride and author Kevin Fedarko set out to hike the entire length of the Grand Canyon — a grueling 750-mile transect through some of the country’s most unforgiving terrain — they learn the hard way why only a handful of humans have pulled off the feat. It’s a tremendous challenge that entails oppressive heat, dizzying exposure, and incredible physical stamina. But the trek allows them to take on a more important mission: documenting the threats that surround one of America’s most iconic national parks.

In INTO THE CANYONthe duo venture into the fragile and otherworldly landscape, examining what’s at risk to be lost to uranium mining, large-scale development, growing helicopter traffic and more. Along the way, they battle the heat, scramble through exposed cliffs, get snowed on, nearly die once or twice and gain intimate knowledge of the canyon’s singular, magnetic, life-changing draw.

KIFARU
In Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, rangers devote their lives to caring for and protecting Sudan, the last male white rhino, along with Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. It’s a privilege and duty they take seriously, no matter how fruitless it can seem. “Sudan is not just another rhino. He is a perfect candidate to help people realize there is a mystic in the wild,” one ranger says. “I guess he has a feeling of what he stands for.” KIFARU follows two young recruits over their first four years on the job as they experience the heartbreak and joy of caring for animals whose fate appears sealed. “Why do we fight and plunder the world until nothing is left?” one ranger asks. “The harder question to answer is, why do we give everything to a cause that seems so hopeless?” This film, which lets viewers experience extinction in real time, helps answer that.  

SEA OF SHADOWS
Mexico’s Sea of Cortez is under attack. Thousands of nets drift down, walls of death meant to snare the totoaba — whose bladder fetches huge sums of money on the Chinese black market. But the bycatch extends to all forms of marine life, including the earth’s smallest whale, the vaquita, a rare creature endemic to the Sea of Cortez whose population has been fished to fewer than 30 individuals. Despite government shutdowns of fishing and public awareness campaigns, market forces continue to drive the activity, the lure of big payouts attracting even shadowy cartel involvement. SEA OF SHADOWS follows a riveting story of resource exploitation and institutional corruption — where casualties go beyond sea creatures — and the heroic activists and scientists staging an all-out war to save the precious vaquita before it’s too late.

THE SERENGETI RULES
Beginning in the 1960s, a handful of young scientists headed into the wilderness, driven by their insatiable curiosity about how nature works. From the Amazon jungle to Pacific tide pools and the Arctic Ocean, these scientists roamed wide and devoted themselves wholly to their work, going on to make discoveries that define how we understand the cycles, patterns, and rules of life on Earth. THE SERENGETI RULES shines a spotlight on these unsung heroes of modern ecology, assembling them to share stories of adventures, breakthroughs, and passion for nature that has never abated. What unfolds is an endearing mosaic of wonder, discovery, human ingenuity and wisdom we can all learn from.


TIGERLAND
Tigers have long been feared and revered in equal measure. They are beautiful killers, majestic creatures and myth makers — their power a thing of awe. Not long ago, they roamed vast swaths of the earth in numbers around 100,000. Today, though, their habitat is a fraction of what it was, and poachers have slain them by the thousands. Many subspecies are extinct, and the number of tigers in the wild has dwindled to fewer than 4,000.

TIGERLANDan elegiac homage to the animals, weaves together two stories of tiger conservation. The first took place first half a century ago in the jungles of India, where a young officer rallied the world to save the animals from extinction. The second is unfolding today in Russia’s Far East, where guardians of the last Siberian tigers risk everything to save the species. “For me, losing the tiger would be the loss of something divine,” says Pavel Fomenko, one of the film’s subjects. “We cannot allow it.”

TRIBES ON THE EDGE
When Céline Cousteau, filmmaker, activist and granddaughter of the legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, was asked by an indigenous leader to tell the story of his people in the Amazon jungle of South America, she knew she had to help. “We are dying,” the man told her. “My people are going extinct.” Building on her family legacy of exploration and environmental filmmaking, Cousteau sets out on a quest that takes her deep into the jungle, where she bears witness to indigenous communities’ fight for survival. There, she shares rarely seen cultural traditions and ways of life that oftentimes clash with their colonial backdrop, documenting the mounting threats to their land, health, and ways of life.

WILDLAND
As the climate heats up, wildfires are becoming more and more part of our every day, especially in California where WILDLAND is set. Filmmaker Alex Jablonski wanted to understand a different aspect of this challenge by getting to know the men and women on the frontlines of wildland fire. He found a private firefighting unit and embedded with them, training and learning himself as he discovered a set of fascinating characters who were dealing with their own struggles beyond the fire. WILDLAND deftly tells their stories with an aesthetic and sensitivity that is exceptional. It’s a serious filmmaking achievement.

WONDERS OF THE SEA – 3D
When Jean-Michel Cousteau was a young diver exploring the wonders of the ocean with his father, the legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, his father said something he’d never forget. “He told me, ‘people protect what they love,’” the younger Cousteau recounts. Those words inspired him to devote his own life to continuing his father’s mission: educating the world about the miracles of the sea so they too will protect its vast, fragile and crucial resources. In WONDERS OF THE SEA, Jean-Michel does just that, leading his children Celine and Fabian on a journey from Fiji to the Bahamas to discover the beautiful, strange and vital world beneath the sea. Along the way, they find blooming coral creatures, hulking turtles, elaborately patterned fish, miniscule swimmers, spindly ocean spiders, and intimidating hammerhead sharks. “If you protect the ocean,” Jean-Michel says, “you protect yourself and future generations.”

ABOUT EarthxFilm
EarthxFilm showcases films and emerging media that explore conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. Our mission is to turn awareness into action, through art and media. We achieve our goals by partnering with top environmental, film and entertainment organizations across the globe. EarthxFilm presents year-round programs culminating in a 9-day festival, April 19 – 28, 2019. www.EarthXfilm.org

ABOUT EarthX (formerly Earth Day Texas)
EarthX promotes environmental awareness by curating an atmosphere for conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. Attendees can also enjoy outdoor experiences, live music, environmentally-themed films and art exhibits, food pavilions, family activities and more. In 2018, the event drew 137,000 attendees, 800 exhibitors and more than 250 speakers. For more information, visit www.EarthX.org.

Celebrate Earth Day at the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden celebrates Earth Day on Saturday, April 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conjunction with The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). The School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics at UTD has planned dozens of science and mathematics activities for children throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden.

Each activity is run by a different group with more than 50 participants from among UTD STEM faculty and students, as well as external STEM collaborators. This lively, interactive, and educational program is free for paid guests of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. In case of inclement weather, the event will be cancelled.

Dr. Bernine Khan, Assistant Dean, UTD’s School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, said, “We had such an amazing time doing a similar event last year during the first full year of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden that we wanted to expand on that to offer more topics of science this year. It works well to tie it into Earth Day because the garden is the perfect place to learn about science, nature, the earth and habitats. The more children and adults learn about these topics, the more likely they will care for the planet.

The groups will have stations throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden offering hands-on activities about Biology, Chemistry, Electricity, Energy, Geosciences, Marine Science, Mathematics, Robotics, Space Science, and Physics. A sampling of the hands-on activities and discussions include the following:
  • the geology of rocks and minerals
  • chemistry experiments exploring density, endothermic and exothermic reactions, and more
  • the marine wonders of whales, their eating habits, and how they survive in their cold water habitat
  • the mathematics of fractals
  • fun static electricity experiments
  • a space science trip around the solar system
  • a circus of physics demonstrations, such as the Bernoulli effect and how to use the oscilloscope to show the waveform of voices
  • craft-making activities such as a ladybug necklace and “plantable” paper
  • all about robotics, renewable energy, and much more!

About the Dallas Arboretum and the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

Located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum is among the leading display gardens in the country, set among 66 acres at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas, 75218. Officially debuted by the Dallas Arboretum in September 2013, the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is an 8-acre interactive garden designed specifically to address state and national education standards in life, earth and environmental science.

Children and adults learn about life and earth science in the 17 galleries that teach the areas in the K-6 grade curriculum standards that can best be taught outdoors. These include photosynthesis, pollination, the solar system, erosion, energy and more.

The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden members and children two and under. There is an additional cost of $3 per person for entrance into the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. On-site parking is $15; pre-purchased online parking is $8.

For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit www.dallasarboretum.org.