The 2013 St. Louis International Film Festival (or SLIFF) is almost here – November 14-24! Get your tickets now for these thought provoking, environmentally inspired films. It’s such a great cultural opportunity. We hope you’re able to check out a few!
If you do catch any of these — please, let us know what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Antarctica: A Year on Ice
Saturday, Nov. 16, 1 p.m.
“Antarctica: A Year on Ice” reveals the extreme difficulties and eerie beauty encountered by those who live and work year-round at the bottom of the Earth. The film adopts the point of view not of scientists but of the people who spend the most time living on the ice: the everyday workers who keep the stations running in the harshest place on the planet. Filmed over 15 years by Discovery Channel’s “Frozen Planet” photographer Anthony Powell, the film features a unique insider’s point of view, with unparalleled access and stunning, never-before-seen footage of the deep Antarctic winters. With director Powell. New Zealand/Antarctica, 2013, 91 min.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 4 p.m.
In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog went to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images that tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Although once a skeptic about climate change, that initial trip north opened Balog’s eyes. Within months of his journey to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: the Extreme Ice Survey, a project designed to provide undeniable evidence of our changing planet. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. The Los Angeles Times writes: “The before and after imagery of Balog’s project speaks for itself, with the power and strange beauty of the evolving landscape strong evidence that something is indeed happening, now and fast.” Jeff Orlowski (pictured above right), U.S., 2012, 75 min.
Shown with The Sea [is still] Around Us (Hope Tucker, 2012, U.S., 4 min.): An experimental look at the fate of towns affected by environmental destruction.
Children of the Night
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:45 p.m.
The final space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope was one of the most important chapters in the history of astronomy. “Children of the Night” is an intimate chronicle of this event refracted through the endeavors of a disparate community of astronomers, educators, and animators who bring magnificent astronomical images to the world. Travel alongside these visionaries – from Athens, Greece, to the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the fingertips of blind children feeling Braille celestial landscapes – as they chart and illuminate the human heritage that is our night sky. With director Christian. U.S., 2013, 109 min.
Emptying the Skies
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1:15 p.m.
If you want to impress your dining companions in Cyprus, it’s not caviar that you order but ambelopoulia: a tiny songbird. But as this gripping documentary reveals, the cost to bring such delicacies to the table is enormous: Tens of millions of protected migratory songbirds are illegally and inhumanely killed every year to satisfy the demand for this culinary novelty. Bestselling novelist (and native St. Louisan) Jonathan Franzen takes break from the world of fiction to chronicle some all-too-horrifying facts. In “Emptying the Skies,” longtime bird lover Franzen accompanies young staffers of the Committee against Bird Slaughter on their expeditions. With police enforcement in Southern Europe practically non-existent, they risk their lives in confrontations with hostile poachers to rescue trapped birds. Douglas Kass, U.S./France/Italy, 2013, 75 min.
F*** for Forest
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Berlin’s F*** for Forest is one of the world’s most bizarre charities, an organization based on the idea that sex can save the world. The NGO’s members raise money for their environmental cause by engaging in sex with one another and an array of willing recruits and selling the resulting homemade pornographic films on the Internet. When troubled soul Danny accidentally discovers this exuberant, neo-hippie world, where sexual liberation merges with global altruism, he enthusiastically joins the colorful operation. Traveling from the streets of Berlin to the depths of the Amazon, the eccentric group goes on a planet-saving mission to buy a piece of forest and save the indigenous people who live there from the sick, sick West. Michal Marczak, Poland/Germany/Norway/Peru/Colombia, 2013, 86 min., English, German, Spanish & Norwegian
Sunday, Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m.
An economically devastated rural mining community in southwestern Colorado finds itself hopeful for the first time in decades. What’s the potential salvation? A return to the “glory” days of the past: uranium mining and milling. In documenting the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle – uranium extraction and processing – “Uranium Drive-In” contrasts the desire for jobs and financial security with the environmental and human-rights issues surrounding the uranium industry. The film explores the U.S.’s relentless appetite for energy and showcases the struggle of rural residents as they cope with boom/bust economies and the changing landscape of small-town America. With director Beraza.
U.S., 2013, 70 min.
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You can get full descriptions of these and other documentaries, shorts, and full length features at http://www.cinemastlouis.org/about-festival. Tickets are also available for purchase online, but you can also volunteer at the showings if your theatre-going budget doesn’t cover your interest (like us!).