Sundance Film Festival Egyptian Theater (credit: Park City, Utah)
The 39th Sundance Film Festival is now in full swing in Park City, Utah. The annual gathering, which originated in 1978 from group of filmmakers and movie viewing enthusiasts, has now become a event followed worldwide. From its earliest days, Sundance has showcased the 'cutting edge' of indenpendent filmmaking, intelligent conversation, and new media technology. The careers of many directors has often accelerated after a Sundance screening or an audience award and could include: Steven Soderberg (Sex, Lies, and Videotape); Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth); Damien Chazelle (Whiplash); Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea), or Sebastain Junger (Restrepo) to name just a couple of past presenters.
The Sundance Institute (which sponsors the festival) has previously programmed films on environmental issues but in 2017 the Institute created an entire program of environmental presentations, A New Climate. The first offerings are diverse, fascinating, and important and combines films, symposia, and media installations on topics addressing rural farms, sustainability, and deforestation, to wildlife conservation, marine species, and climate change.
It is always difficult deciding what to attempt seeing at a gathering of Sundance's magnitude, and tickets are often "as rare as hens teeth", but a tiny sample of the New Climate films that have been screened to sold-out crowds includes:
Look & See, a Portrait of Wendell Berry: A documentary by Laura Dunn on rural American agriculture from the perspective of Wendell Berry from the vantage point of his writing room on his farm in Kentucky:
Chasing Coral: A new documentary that had its world premiere at Sundance by Jeff Orlowski on the dramatic impact of climate change on the world's coral ecosystems. Orlowski previously directed Chasing Ice the film on glacial and polar ice declines, resulting from our warming atmosphere.
Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Based on the book by the same title, this documentary follows the efforts of dedicated people who work to implement prinicipals of sustainability into their own commercial ranching, farming, and fishing operations. The task takes a lot of work, insight, and determination but the environmental results and benefits speak for themselves:
A complete listing of the New Climate programming is here. The New Climate program will likely receive considerably more attention and action.