October 6, 2021

Environmental Film Fest Will Be Virtual This Fall

FALL FILMS: The Princeton Environmental Film Festival returns this fall with a schedule of virtual films, including “Rust,” a documentary directed by Rafal Malecki.

The Princeton Environmental Film Festival, a signature Princeton Public Library event, returns to an online platform for a second installment this fall.

Opening Tuesday, October 12, and running through Sunday, October 24, the 15th annual festival features 34 films (20 shorts, 13 feature-length documentaries, and one short narrative film.) The festival is under the direction of Susan Conlon and Kim Dorman, who curate and present films with local, regional and international relevance.

In The Ants and the Grasshopper, directors Raj Patel and Zak Piper deliver a portrait of activist Anita Chitaya, who has worked in Malawi to bring abundant food from dead soil, make men fight for gender equality, and end child hunger in her village. Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real. The film is presented in partnership with NOFA-NJ.

Baato filmmakers Kate Stryker and Lucas Millard join the journey by Mikma and her family, who annually travel by foot from their village deep in the Himalayas of Nepal to sell local medicinal plants in urban markets. This year, construction of a new highway to China has begun in their roadless valley, changing everything.

In Becoming Cousteau, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at filmmaker, author, and conservationist Jacques Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most renowned environmental voice. This film will be available to stream October 12-14.  

Director Lucy Walker’s latest documentary, Bring Your Own Brigade, is a look at the 2018 wildfires that killed 88 residents and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the cities of Malibu and Paradise, two very different California communities. The film reveals that there are numerous steps that can be taken to not only mitigate the catastrophic devastation caused by wildfires, but to restore health and balance to woodlands that have been long mismanaged. Previous films by Lucy Walker screened at the PEFF include Wasteland and The Crash Reel.

Rafal Malecki’s film Rust is a portrait of working artist/sculptor Mariola Wawrzusiak-Borcz, who roams post-industrial areas in search of scrap metal. During the welding process, she creates sculptures of endangered animals and children affected by war and the ravages of civilization. 

Other films in the series are Fast Fashion: The Real Price of Low-Cost Fashion, Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, and Reflection: A Walk with Water. A collection of “Made in New Jersey” shorts features a close look at black squirrels, mockingbirds, and Brood X cicadas. The films also shine a light on natural destinations in Princeton, Cadwalader Park in Trenton, public art in Camden, and the inspiration from the Pine Barrens for Maya Lin’s art installation Ghost Forest. 

All PEFF screenings are free. Films will be available on demand with some restrictions during the festival. The lineup and instructions for viewing the films using the Eventive platform can be found at princetonlibrary.org/peff