So, what’s scarier: a zombie infestation or the melting of the polar ice caps? This is an urgent and legitimate question! And later this week, Toronto cineastes can compare and contrast, for just as the After Dark Festival winds down, the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival springs up. Running from October 24 to 28, Planet in Focus is the most acclaimed film festival of its environmentally-minded ilk. This year, to coincide with the International Polar Year (which 2007 is, as you are doubtlessly already aware), the festival’s Spotlight Program is entitled Polar Visions. (Hint: these visions may include the melting of large volumes of ice.)
One film that avoids the Al Gore territory but may be of particular local interest is Karen Shenfeld’s Il Giardino: The Gardens of Little Italy, which is screening at Innis College Town Hall at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. A unique look at the roots of that neighbourhood’s people and culture, Il Giardino also serves as the first offering in a neat double bill, which will segue into a star-studded panel discussion involving contributors to the highly-anticipated GreenTOpia.
What is GreenTOpia, you ask? Why, it is the follow-up to the hugely popular uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto, from Coach House Books. As was the case with uTOpia, GreenTOpia asks opinionated, imaginative and passionate Torontonians to contribute ideas that may just help change the face of our fair city. This time, the focus is on the environment. GreenTOpia asks us to consider possibilities for gardening the Gardiner, hydrogen-fuelled cabs, composters for dog poo in city parks, and anything else that may make Toronto a greener city. After all, do we really want to be known as the Big Smoke forever?
Though GreenTOpia won’t officially launch until November 11, the panel discussion should be a good preview of the big launch party to come. Moderated by former Toronto mayor David Crombie, panelists will include Il Giardino’s director Karen Shenfeld, NOW Magazine founder Alice Klein, and GreenTOpia contributors Eva Ligeti (Clean Air Partnership), Wayne Reeves (City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation) and Colin Ripley (RVTR). The discussion will be followed by a book signing.
Maybe the panelists can dream up a solution to all the zombies invading Bloor? Now there’s an environmental crisis…
Photo courtesy of *Solar ikon* from Flickr.