The two films are urgent portraits personal Indigenous resistance in the face of corporate development:
THE BLESSING Hunter Robert Baker, Jordan Fein | United States | 2018 | 74min
Cultural values clash with lived realities in this profile of Lawrence, a Navajo miner, and his family, who are living on a reservation where a coal mining company provides rare financial stability to the community. Lawrence’s spiritual beliefs are at odds with economic survival. He is forced to try to reconcile digging coal out of the mountains he holds as sacred. This identity crisis plays out against the backdrop of a greater economic crisis in a declining coal industry. Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Caitlin Rose, with whom he has a strained relationship, is fighting her own battle for identity as a queer Navajo woman bucking tradition as a high school football player, with dreams of riding in the rodeo. A raw, complex, dual-sided portrait of living life in two worlds, this moving film shows the ways that the changing physical environment and social climate are having an impact across generations.
Friday 26 October, 7:30pm | Innis Town Hall
NUUCA Michelle Latimer | Canada | 2017 | 13min
Michelle Latimer’s potent short draws a powerful link between the exploitation of North Dakota’s oil and gas resources and violence against the region’s Indigenous women.
Friday 26 October, 7:30pm | Innis Town Hall
The Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival (PIF) announced today the exciting lineup for its 2018 edition, consisting of 23 feature films and 28 shorts. Preceding the festival itself PIF will host An Evening with Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, this year’s recipient of the Planet In Focus Canadian EcoHero Award. A groundbreaking scientist, and first person in the world to study animal behaviour in the wild on the African continent, Dagg’s impressive work will be highlighted in a special screening of Alison Reid’s moving documentary portrait The Woman Who Loves Giraffes as part of the launch event on October 18th.
PIF 2018 opens officially on October 25th with the Canadian Premiere of Slater Jewell-Kemker’s inspiring Youth Unstoppable, a (self)portrait of activists from the Global Youth Climate Movement fighting for a better tomorrow. Moving from rallies, international social media exchanges, and appearances at Climate Change Conferences around the world, the acclaimed film made its premiere in Cannes as part of the Film4Climate program.
The festival will conclude with a Gala presentation of Andrew Nisker’s Ground War on October
28th, a personal and journalistic investigation that examines the death of the filmmaker’s father that leads Nisker from golf course maintenance to histories of global pesticide use. The Gala will also celebrate previously announced International EcoHero Dr. John Francis. Other special events include the previously announced centrepiece screening of Ian Mauro’s Beyond Climate, followed by a discussion between Mauro and David Suzuki.
Wildlife and the ecosystem remain ever-urgent and illuminating subjects, and are the topic of several stimulating features. Selections include Becoming Animal, a playful and innovate tribute to artist and philosopher David Abram and his belief in the human body’s connection to our animal friends, produced in collaboration between Peter Mettler and Emma Davie; the clever and insightful Rodents of Unusual Size, in which directors Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer, and Quinn Costello offer a comical and insightful tale of an invasive species run amuck; and the impeccably crafted When Lambs Become Lions by Jon Kasbe, which exposes the severity of Kenya’s poaching crisis.
PIF is also proud to present a screening of Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater Extinction, following its successful Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. A recipient of PIF’s 2014
Canadian EcoHero Award, and the namesake for the Rob Stewart Youth EcoHero Award (to be bestowed this year on activist Rachel Parent), Stewart’s final film is a bold and moving testament to the filmmaker’s work as a valiant advocate for the preservation of sharks and the environment.
Elsewhere in the festival a number of films look at various ways of living together, then and now. Highlights include the Canadian Premiere of Midian Farm by director Liz Marshall (The Ghosts in our Machine), a provocative and personal portrait of 1970s communal living; Timothy
George Kelly’s timely Brexitannia, a complex examination of the mechanics behind the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU; and Chad Freidrich’s The Experimental City, which traces a never completed 1960s plan for a utopian city in Minnesota, which featured contributions from Buckminster Fuller, among others.
Featured in the programme are a number of exciting premieres, including the Canadian Premiere of Ann Shin’s The Superfood Chain, which offers an informative, well-researched exploration of superfood trends, and the Toronto Premiere of the awardwinning Genesis 2.0, by directors Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev, a global odyssey in search for traces of the woolly mammoth.
Other highlights in the Festival’s feature film lineup include Quinn Kanaly and Noel Dockstader’s Point of No Return, which follows the first solar-powered aircraft to circle the earth; Courtney Quirin’s Guardian, a beautifully shot examination of the Canadian government’s threatened Guardian program and their work monitoring salmon populations in British Columbia; and The Blessing by directors Hunter Robert Baker and Jordan Fein, a tale of Indigenous resistance in the face corporate environmental exploitation.
Due to extenuating circumstances previously announced EcoHero Jennifer Keesmaat is no longer able to participate in this year’s edition of the festival.
About Planet in Focus
Planet in Focus is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to use film as a catalyst for change by raising awareness of critical environmental issues through a variety of media-based initiatives including; the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, the Green School Tours, EcoFilm Lab, the PIF Student Film Festival and year-round screenings that showcase the best environmental films from Canada and around the world. PlanetinFocus.org
Planet in Focus gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Celebrate Ontario, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Creates, Telefilm Canada, and Heritage Canada.