Beny, Back to the Wild
Environmental Film Festival latest news:
Established this year by Julia and Richard Moe in memory of their son Eric to honor his strong interest in film and commitment to sustainability, EFF's Eric Moe Sustainability Film Award recognizes short films for their inventive solutions to balancing the needs of humans and nature.
These films will be shown on March 20 at the National Geographic Society as part of the 2014 Environmental Film Festival.
Winner: Amazing Grace, spotlighting one man's deep-seated love for the rapidly decreasing forests around Livingstone, Zambia, is the winner of the award's $1,000 prize. A Zambian/South African film by Rowan Pybus.
Runner-Up: Hope? an educational, animated comedy showing an encounter between humankind and planet Earth, is the award's runner-up. A UK student production by Simone Giampaolo.
Four Finalists were also named for the award:
Field Chronicles: Chingaza - The Water's Journey exploring the páramos of Bogotá, a fragile ecosystem that provides eight million city dwellers with water. A USA film by Peter Stonier, John Martin, Becca Field, and Sebastian Perry; Produced by the Conservation International Visual Storytelling Alliance.
Good Habits in 60 Seconds offering many ways to change our relationship with the world - in 60 seconds. A Brazilian film by Marlon Tenório.
Ordinary Life capturing a family's standard, unvarying morning routine, including the forgotten consequences of their actions. A Japanese film by Tomoya Nakamura and Shoki Watanabe.
The Silkies of Madagascar exploring the environmental challenges faced by the Madagascar's silk weavers as they attempt to sustain their ancient artisan traditions. A USA/Madagascar film by David Evans.
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital announces the creation of a $10,000 Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy, to be presented at the 2014 Festival. This award will recognize a film that advances understanding of the environment and also inspires advocacy in response to a compelling environmental challenge. The winning film would be “a call to action” – promoting solutions at the individual, community, or policy levels.
The award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize and will be presented to the winning filmmaker at the screening of the film on March 30, the closing night of the Festival.
Any documentary under consideration for the 2014 Festival is eligible for this award, provided it reflects the purpose of the award and represents the highest ethics and honesty in filmmaking. For inquiries, please email email@example.com.
Note: EFF staff, Board and Advisory Committee members are not eligible for the award.
Since the Festival’s screenings in both March and September, Kalyanee’s film has opened in New York to prominent and enthusiastic reviews in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (scroll down) and the film has opened in Los Angeles to favorable notice in the Los Angeles Times.
The film will also screen in Canada at the Planet in Focus film festival in Toronto on November 22, co-presented by the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.
Watch Kalyanee speak at the Environmental Film Festival's second screening of the film in Washington, D.C on September 30.
A River Changes Course (Cambodia/USA, 2013, 83 min.) intimately captures the stories of three families living in Cambodia as they strive to maintain their traditional ways of life amid rapid development and environmental degradation. From Cambodia’s forests to its rivers, from its idyllic rice fields to the capital’s pulsing heart, forces of radical change are transforming the landscape of the country – and the dreams of its people. The film explores the damage rapid development has wrought in Cambodia on both a human and environmental level. The film has won ten awards on the film festival circuit, from Sundance to the Green Film Festival in Seoul, Korea.
Winner, World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, 2013 Sundance Film Festival; Filmmaker Award, 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Golden Gate Award, Best Documentary Feature, 2013 San Francisco International Film Fest; Grand Jury Prize, Documentary Feature, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival; Grand Jury Prize, Best Feature, 2013 Environmental Film Festival at Yale; Best Feature Film, 2013 Green Film Festival in Seoul; Human Rights Award, 2013 RiverRun International Film Festival; Special Jury Prizes for Best Director and Best Cinematography, 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival; Jury Award, 2013 Docville International Documentary Festival.
Cambodia is in the midst of a massive economic land concessions crisis, resulting in nearly 2.2 million hectares of land being re-allocated from farmers and villagers to private firms. Since 2003, over 40,000 Cambodians have been affected by these large-scale land grabs. As companies push in to clear forests for timber and land to grow major industrial agricultural crops like rubber, sugar cane, soy, and cassava, villagers are forced off their farmland.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER, Kalyanee Mam
Kalyanee was born in Battambang, Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime. In 1979, she and her family fled the refugee camps at the Thai-Cambodian border and eventually immigrated to the United States. Even to this day her mother recounts stories of their flight. Kalyanee's father walked ahead of the family to protect them from land mines. They slept on pieces of plastic laid across the wet, jungle floor, while constantly evading soldiers pursuing them along the way. These stories and many others inspired Kalyanee to return to her native homeland for the first time in 1998, during the summer of her junior year at Yale. And they continue to inspire her to make films about atrocities occurring in Cambodia even today. But she was not always a filmmaker. After graduating from UCLA Law School, she worked as a legal consultant in Mozambique and Iraq. In Mozambique, she discovered a passion for photography. In Iraq, she discovered a passion for advocacy on important contemporary issues. These two passions enabled her to direct, produce, and shoot her first documentary short Between Earth & Sky (co-director David Mendez) about Iraqi refugees. And also led her to work as Cinematographer, Associate Producer, and Researcher on the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job with director Charles Ferguson. Kalyanee’s latest film, A River Changes Course, about the effects of globalization on the people of Cambodia, has won 10 prestigious awards on the Festival circuit this year, from Sundance to the Green Film Festival in Seoul, Korea.
CHANGING THE COURSE campaign connects audiences with their Cambodian counterparts and engages them in a dialogue about globalization, sustainable development and environmental conservation. The goal is to empower Cambodians to analyze their current situation, and within their respective communities, determine how to respond to this rapid change. As Kalyanee observed, “Today Americans, Cambodians, and people everywhere are connected as citizens of a global village, whose needs and wants are inextricably linked through our daily exchanges of goods, services, and ideas. And while our experiences may be different, our shared stories unite and empower us to pursue greater justice for people everywhere.” Visit www.rally.org/ariverchangescourse to join the movement.
To learn more about the film and opportunities to get involved with the CHANGING THE COURSE campaign, please visit www.ariverchangescourse.com.
THE ROCKET (Australia / Laos / Thailand, 2013, 96 min.)
When: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 22nd
Where: National Geographic Society, Grosvenor Auditorium (1600 M St., NW)
How: $10. BUY TICKETS.
View the trailer.
Official entry from Australia, 2014 Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film
Washington D.C. Premiere Set in Laos, this critically acclaimed film - winner of multiple awards at the Tribeca, Sydney, and Berlin International film festivals - tells the story of Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe), a boy who is believed to bring bad luck. When his family loses their home and is forced to move, Ahlo meets the spirited orphan Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and her eccentric uncle Purple (Thep Phongam), an ex-soldier with a purple suit, a rice-wine habit, and a passion for James Brown. Struggling to hold onto his father's trust, Ahlo leads his family, Purple, and Kia through a land scarred by war. In a last plea to prove he is not cursed, Ahlo builds a giant explosive rocket to enter the lucrative, but dangerous Rocket Festival.
One of the first feature films for international release to be set and shot mainly in Laos, with remarkable access to real rituals and festivities in the country's stunning mountains, The Rocket offers a unique view into a world rarely seen on film.
In Lao with English subtitles. Written and directed by Kim Mordaunt (Bomb Harvest). Produced by Sylvia Wilczynski.
Audience Award for Most Popular Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Feature, and Best Actor in a Narrative Feature, 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; Winner, Crystal Bear, Best First Feature and Amnesty International Prize, 2013 Berlin International Film Festival; Audience Award for Best Feature, 2013 Sydney Film Festival and Audience Award, 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival.
A RIVER CHANGES COURSE (Cambodia / USA, 2013, 83 min.)
Winner, 2013 Sundance Film Festival - World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
When: 6:30 p.m., Monday, September 30th
Where: AMC Loews Georgetown (3111 K St., NW)
How: $12. BUY TICKETS.
Discussion with filmmaker Kalyanee Mam follows the screening.
Twice a year in Cambodia, the Tonle Sap River changes course, while life for the Cambodian people continues to flow in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth and of creation and destruction.
Working in an intimate, verité style, filmmaker Kalyanee Mam (Director of Photography for the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job), spent two years in her native homeland following three young Cambodians as they struggled to overcome the crushing effects of deforestation, overfishing, and overwhelming debt. A breathtaking and unprecedented journey from the remote, mountainous jungles and floating cities of the Cambodian countryside to the bustling garment factories of modern Phnom Penh, A River Changes Course traces a devastating and beautiful story of an ancient culture ravaged by globalization.