An electric car, a whale, and a falcon walk into a bar...
In a move about as surprising as a neocon denying global warming, the Planet in Focus Film Festival announced their 2011 lineup yesterday on International Car Free Day. Luckily, the weather took a turn for the better as those attending were encouraged to walk, bike, or ride the rocket to hear what the 12th year of Canada’s longest running environmental film festival had in store.
Tucked in a room at the ROM, executive director Sarah Margolius and director of programming Kathleen Mullen unveiled a long list of more than 75 enviro-centric films that will play over Planet in Focus’s five-day run. Opening the festival is a red carpet presentation of The Revenge of the Electric Car. From director Chris Paine (who first brought us Who Killed the Electric Car?), Revenge premiered on (fittingly) Earth Day at the Tribeca Film Festival and is narrated (again, fittingly) by Tim Robbins. In a nutshell: ten years after the electric car was killed, it’s back and Paine is looking to see if it can make it a second time around.
Moving away from the carbon emissions side of things, the closing night gala features The Whale, a doc on, you guessed it, a whale. Following on the debate regarding Luna, an Orca that was separated from her pod off the coast of Vancouver Island in the early 2000s, she (arguably) began to seek contact and companionship with humans. The Whale examines our relationship with nature and what exactly our role and proximity to it should be. (It’s also the lasting remnant of the marriage between Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, who were exec producers on the film). Narrated by Reynolds—Vancouver’s own natural wonder—this is some bona fide Cancon, made with Telefilm Canada and CBC News World participation.
Local highlights include the world premiere of Brick by Brick: The Story of the Brickworks which examines the renewal of the Toronto Brick Works’ ecosystem and Portrait of Resistance: The Art and Activism of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, a documentary on the Torontonian artists and activists. But the festival’s scope is international, and this year they’re exploring the theme of “landscapes” from the Honduran forests (Up in Smoke) to the Niger (Niger River: A River Under Siege) to Chernobyl (From Chernobyl to Fukushima: A Campaigner’s Journey) to the Northwest passage (The Polar Explorer).
So, planet freaks and geeks, there it is! Your PIF 2011 line up. Tune up your bikes and lace up your shoes, as this year’s festival kicks off October 12 and shouldn’t be missed.
Tickets for the Planet in Focus Film Festival go on sale Saturday, September 24.