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10 Events At The 2016 SF Green Film Festival

The 2016 edition of the SF Green Film Festival is here. This means San Francisco will be treated to environmental-themed films this weekend on subjects ranging from fracking to climbing Denali to COP21. Given the many events on tap, even missing SF Green Film Festival opener Josh Fox’ How To Let Go Of The World (And Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change) is not a bummer. Here are 10 other worthy films and events that are worth checking out at SF Green Film Festival.

  1. An American Ascent

Expedition Denali is about more than a group of climbers scaling America’s highest peak. What Scott Briscoe and his fellow African-American climbers want to do is demonstrate by example that people of color can too enjoy America’s wild places. Directors Andrew Adkins and George Potter’s film (the SF Green Film Festival Centerpiece selection) follows this all-African American team as they face the challenges of scaling Mount Denali.

Screens at the Roxie Theater at 8:30 PM on April 17. Briscoe will appear in person for a post-screening Q&A.

  1. The Anthropologist

Actually, there are two anthropologists who are the subjects of this film. One is Margaret Mead, American popularizer of cultural anthropology. The other is Susie Crate, an environmental anthropologist studying the effects of climate change. What links both women together is a shared curiosity about seeing how societies adapt to disruptions of their traditional ways of life.

Screens at the Roxie Theater at 6:30 PM on April 19

  1. The Babushkas Of Chernobyl

It’s been thirty years since the Chernobyl disaster turned the land surrounding the reactor toxic and created a radioactive Exclusion Zone. Wolves, moose, and other wildlife have returned to the forests of the Exclusion Zone. But also inhabiting this radioactive dead zone are the titular babushkas. They scratch out a living on what to them is still their ancestral homeland. Are these old women survivors or just suicidally stubborn? The film lets the viewer decide.

Screens at the Little Roxie Theater at 8 PM on April 17. “Rush” tickets might be available for this screening.

  1. Behemoth

The coal and iron industries’ devastation of Inner Mongolia get the poetic treatment from political documentarian Zhao Liang. Using Dante’s The Divine Comedy as his thematic guide, Liang illustrates the effects of the insatiability of human desire on the environment through beautifully hellish images and sounds. Exploded hillsides and unbearably noisy factories are just some of the features of this nightmare on Earth created to serve the god of Industry. Behemoth won the Venice Film Festival’s environmental Green Drop Award.

Screens at the Roxie Theater at 9 PM on April 19

  1. I Am Chut Wutty

Americans sometimes forget that defending wild places can be a life-threatening activity. Cambodian environmentalist Chut Wutty ultimately paid with his life for fearlessly opposing his country’s corrupt rubber plantations and logging syndicates. Now, in the wake of Wutty’s death, his fellow activists have to figure out how to continue fighting to protect the Prey Lang forest and other Southeast Asian wilderness areas.

Screens at the Little Roxie at 6 PM on April 17

  1. Ice And The Sky

Glaciologist Claude Lorius began studying the Antarctic ice back in 1957. His foresight made him the first scientist to publicly raise the alarm about global warming’s effect on Earth’s icy regions. Needless to say, way too many people turned a deaf ear to Lorius’ warnings. Yet as Luc Jacquet’s (March of the Penguins) biographical portrait of the glaciologist shows, even in his 80s Lorius still remains optimistic about finding a solution to global warming.

Screens at the Roxie Theater at 8:30 PM on April 18 and the David Brower Center’s Goldman Theater at 7:00 PM on April 19

  1. Not Without Us

The Closing Night film of the 2016 SF Green Film Festival is Mark Decena’s documentary portrait of seven activists from around the world who’ve come to Paris for the COP21 talks. As the viewer learns the activists’ individual stories, they see what motivates these activists to put pressure on world leaders at the UN Summit to feel the urgent necessity of addressing climate disruption now. These veteran activists also face the reality of deciding on next steps after the COP21 agreement is signed, especially if the agreement might not be sufficient.

Screens at the Castro Theatre at 9:15 PM on April 20. Decena will appear in person post-screening along with several activist subjects from the film including HOME Foundation Director Nnimo Bassey and ETC Group Executive Director Pat Mooney.

  1. Saving Mes Aynak

Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archeologists face seemingly impossible odds to save a valuable archeological site. The place in question is a now ruined 5,000-year-old Buddhist city. Unfortunately, the land where said ruins and a nearby mountain range are located happens to be owned by a Chinese state-owned copper mine. Said industrial concern eagerly wants to tap into the $100 billion worth of copper located underneath the millenia-old ruins and the mountain. Temori and his allies must contend not only with the mining company, but also the Taliban and local political problems to somehow preserve the site’s historical secrets.

Screens at the Little Roxie at 3:45 PM on April 16. “Rush” tickets might be available for this screening.

  1. Topophilia

Peter Bo Rappmund’s experimental documentary mixes landscape and time-lapse photography. His film can be described as what his camera notices along all 800 miles of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the world’s largest crude oil conduit. The visual results find amazing visual intersections between human industry and the natural landscape.

Screens at 518 Valencia at 4:00 PM on April 16

  1. Wild VR: A New Reality For Environmental Storytelling

Want to run with a bison herd or swim with a manta ray? Thanks to Virtual Reality, you can. Attendees will get a chance to sample several virtual reality programs at this SF Green Film Festival show. Afterwards, they can attend a discussion of how VR can help get environmental movement messages out to the wider public.

Screens at 518 Valencia at 12:30 PM on April 16. “Rush” tickets might be available for this screening.

About the Author

I’m a film reviewer for the Beyond Chron blog. Agnes Varda and Hirokazu Kore-eda are among my favorite filmmakers. I occasionally break down and watch a good action film…but don’t tell anyone.

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