(LOS ANGELES, NJ) -- PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s flagship PBS stations, along with national independent satellite network Link TV, will present the third annual EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, the only festival of its kind in Los Angeles, going virtual this year from April 12-23, 2021. The two-week festival features film screenings and Q&A discussions addressing climate change realities with the goal of confronting global issues that impact all living creatures and natural resources.
The West Coast premiere of “Playing With Sharks,” acquired by National Geographic Documentary Films at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, will kick off the lineup as the Opening Night film on Monday, April 12 at 10:00pm EST. A post-screening panel discussion with writer/director Sally Aitken (The Week The Women Went, The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook), creator/producer Bettina Dalton (Big Red: The Kangaroo King, Borneo’s Secret Kingdom) and the subject of the film, Australian pioneering marine conservationist, cinematographer and renowned shark expert Valerie Taylor will be moderated by KCET CINEMA SERIES host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.
General admission tickets for the EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL are available starting today. Ticket options include a $45 all-access pass to attend all nine of the virtual film screenings and post screening discussions taking place on the Eventive platform (the three-part, Earth Day April 22nd PBS special GRETA THUNBERG: A YEAR TO CHANGE THE WORLD is s streaming live online at pbs.org and on the free PBS App). Alternatively, $10 individual screenings can be purchased on any of the three websites at pbssocal.org/efeff, kcet.org/efeff and linktv.org/efeff.
Notable guests and films featured in this year’s slate of environmental-themed documentaries include Patagonia Films’ “Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands” on Thurs., April 15, from executive producers Yvon Chouinard and actor-turned-environmental activist Robert Redford, which investigates impending threats on America’s public lands. Director David Garrett Byars and Producer Jeremy Rubingh will join the virtual panel discussion.
The Closing Night film on Fri., April 23 is the California Premiere of the 90-minute 2020 Swedish film “Citizen Nobel” that follows Chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Jacques Dubochet and how he, as a ‘noble citizen,’ should fulfill his responsibility as a researcher and as a human being. A panel will follow with both Dubochet and director Stéphane Goël.
The festival will also host KCET’s own 90-minute documentary from EARTH FOCUS “The New West and the Politics of the Environment” which explores how iconic Nevada Senator Harry Reid set the foundations for a green new deal in the state using power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and usher in a just transition to renewable energy. “The New West and the Politics of the Environment” is co-produced by the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) at UCLA.
The EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL encourages better understanding of and dialogue on environmental issues, and motivates audiences to create positive change in their own community. The festival extends public media’s mission of strengthening communities through education. The virtual event engages members, viewers of all ages, influencers and media while raising funds to support public media’s future environmental programming.
The event complements PBS SoCal, Link TV and KCET’s entire slate of Earth Month programming which includes the award-winning series EARTH FOCUS, produced in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Since its debut in 2007, EARTH FOCUS has become the longest-running investigative environmental news series on U.S. television, providing audiences with urgent local and global environmental coverage that spotlights in-depth reports on key issues such as endangered species, climate change, environmental health and sustainable practices.
Original content related to Earth Month programming on related topics ranging from environmental justice to climate activism will be available on the PBS SoCal, KCET and Link TV websites. Contributors will include veteran environmental journalists and other experts. Additionally, website visitors will be treated to multimedia features as well as trailers to the films in the EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL.
Festival schedule is as follows (*subject to change):
OPENING NIGHT! Playing With Sharks – Mon., April 12 at 10:00pm EST (West Coast Premiere)
The extraordinary life story of pioneering scuba diver Valerie Taylor, a fearless marine maverick whose passion for sharks knows no bounds - even when there should be. Taylor has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding the fear of sharks. Featuring Q&A Guests: Writer/Director Sally Aitken Creator/Producer Bettina Dalton and the subject of the film, Australian pioneering marine conservationist, cinematographer and renowned shark expert Valerie Taylor. Moderated by KCET CINEMA SERIES Host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.
Gather – Tues., April 13 at 10:00pm EST
An intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director Sanjay Rawal, Producer Tanya Mellier and Founder of the Native American Culinary Association Nephi Craig. Moderated by DeLanna Studi (Artistic Director, Native Voices at the Autry, Autry Museum of the American West).
2040: The Regeneration – Weds., April 14 at 10:00pm
Embark on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, the film blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Featuring Q&A Guests: Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Moderated by TBA
Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands – Thurs., April 15 at 10:00pm EST
As America’s system of public lands face unprecedented threats, the film investigates three heated conflicts – national monument in the Utah desert, a mine in the Boundary Waters and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—and makes a case for their continued protection. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director David Garrett Byars, Producer Jeremy Rubingh and investigative journalist and Public Trust narrator Hal Herring. Moderated by Link TV’s Senior Programming Executive Kim Spencer.
Okavango – Fri., April 16 at 10:00pm EST
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Homeland) narrates the wild experience of the Okavango Delta, an unlikely oasis and lush paradise in Southern Africa that connects and supports a wide array of creatures. In episode one of this three-part series that premiered as episodes of NOVA, viewers explore the landscape and wildlife of the Upper Okavango River. A lioness severely injured by a buffalo is left for dead by her pride. Now handicapped, she has to survive in the swamp alone, hunting to feed her cubs. Featuring Q&A Guests: Directors Dereck and Beverly Joubert (Eternal Enemies, Eye of the Leopard, Last Lions, Reflections on Elephants). Moderated by TBA
EARTH FOCUS: The New West and the Politics of the Environment – Mon., April 19 at 10:00pm EST
Iconic Nevada Senator Harry Reid set the foundations for a green new deal in the state using power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and usher in a just transition to renewable energy. Reid forged allegiances between unlikely allies and crafted policy to grow the economy of his home state while protecting its wilderness and in the process, redefined the future of the West. The conversation immediately following the screening is courtesy of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF). Featuring Q&A Guests: U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Author Adam Jentleson (Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy) and Senior Field Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation Jocelyn Torres. Moderated by Executive Producer Jon Christensen.
The Human Element – Tues., April 20 at 10:00pm EST
Renowned environmental photographer James Balog explores wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, a struggling coal mining community and our changing air supply. The film highlights Americans on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world. Featuring Q&A Guest: Environmental Photographer James Balog. Moderated by Co-Host/Correspondent of “The California Report” Saul Gonzalez. “The California Report,” produced by KQED/NPR is the Golden State’s daily public news show broadcast on public radio stations across California.
Youth v Gov. – Weds., April 21 at 10:00pm EST
Since 2015, twenty-one plaintiffs, now ages 13 to 24, have been suing the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, personal safety and property through their willful actions in creating the climate crisis they will inherit. Featuring Q&A Guests: Filmmaker & Scientist Christi Cooper, Co-Lead Counsel Phil Gregory, Alaskan Federal Plaintiff Nathan Baring. Moderated by the Director of Programming for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital (DCEFF) Brad Forder.
CLOSING NIGHT! Citizen Nobel – Fri., April 23 at 10:00pm EST (California Premiere)
When Jacques Dubochet receives the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, his life changes. Out of the shadows and into the light, he is suddenly contacted from all sides. What can he do with his voice, which is now heard by everyone? How should he, as a ‘noble citizen’, fulfill his responsibility as a researcher and human being? A speech by Greta Thunberg turns everything upside down. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director Stéphane Goël and Nobel Prize Winner and subject of the film Jacques Dubochet. Moderated by KCET MUST SEE MOVIES host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.
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