Monday, April 24, 2017

Environmental and Science Documentaries at the Montclair Film Festival

The Montclair Film Festival (April 28-May 7) has in its offerings this year a group of documentaries that should be of interest to readers of this blog and anyone who is concerned about the environment, science and activism.

You can find these films at but here are those films with some information and links to purchase tickets.

Bill Nye is on a journey to change the world! Once the host of a popular kids’ show, Nye has transformed himself into a leading voice against the forces that would deny the value of science. Nye not only is speaking out, he is leading by example, on a mission to launch a solar-powered satellite into the cosmos and advocating for the importance of research and discovery. The film is a urgent portrait of a scientist on a mission, taking on climate change deniers and creationists in the real world to create a more scientifically literate and engaged universe. Directed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg   There will be a post-screening conversation between Bill Nye and Stephen Colbert, co-Presented by Audible.

DO DONKEYS ACT?    May 4 and 5
This film by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin is an unexpectedly moving, one-of-a-kind documentary that seeks a new form of empathetic understanding. Shot entirely on farms dedicated to rescuing beasts of burden from abuse and overwork, the film is a conversation between human curiosity and the experience of the animals. Immersed in their world, the camera never leaves the animals, constantly looking into their eyes and searching for meaning and comprehension of their lives. Featuring a warm narration by Willem Dafoe and filled with warmth and grace, DO DONKEYS ACT? is a must-see for those who love animals

TROPHY   May 6
In their new documentary TROPHY, filmmakers Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz take an in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding, and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa. The film is unflinching in its examination of the push and pull of illegal poaching, sanctuary, and legalized hunting, revealing a complex economic ecosystem manufactured by humans to both take and preserve the lives of the animals they covet. Featuring stunning photography that is at once intimate and terrifying, TROPHY is a necessary portrait of human behavior, unravelling the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities.

Follows art collective Postcommodity as they strive to construct Repellent Fence, a two-mile long outdoor artwork that installs a series of 28 huge, inflatable spheres that stretch across the U.S. – Mexico border. THROUGH THE REPELLENT FENCE is an adventure in the artistic process and a road trip of discovery, exploring how land art can generate community interaction and perceptual shifts in how we interpret, engage, and draw inspiration from our natural world. Director Sam Wainwright Douglas

NO MAN'S LAND April 29 and 30 
In recent years, a new battle between ranchers and the federal government have arisen in the American West over the issues surrounding federal land use and the lines between private business and the public interest. Bitter antagonism between right-wing militia and the federal government has boiled over into rebellion, with recent events in Nevada and Oregon creating a firestorm of recrimination, politics, and tragedy. NO MAN’S LAND is director David Byars’ incendiary look at these battles, following the insurrection from inception to demise and exploring the issues and people that are reshaping what remains of the American frontier. In Person: Director David Byars

DOLORES    April 29 and 30
This film is a reclamation of an heroic American life. The film sheds light on the enigmatic, intensely private Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the United Farm Workers union and among the most important activists in our nation’s history. But as woman standing atop an organization of men, her constant battle against injustice was mirrored by the gender discrimination she faced internally. Featuring interviews with Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, and Luis Valdez, the film reveals her ever-expanding wave of influence through decades of activism, and leading many to ask why her contributions have been erased from our history. In English and Spanish with English Subtitles. Dolores Huerta in attendance on Saturday, April 29

BENDING THE ARC   April 29 and 30
Thirty years ago, a group of improbable heroes came together on a mission that was medical and moral, and, by everyone’s estimation other than their own, highly unlikely to succeed. Their goal was simple but daring: to make high-quality health care available to everyone, even in the world’s poorest countries. Fighting entrenched diseases, political and bureaucratic machinery, and the charity-industrial complex itself, these crusaders forced the international community to embrace the idea that health care must be a basic human right in every society. BENDING THE ARC is a story of hope and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers. In English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Kinyarwanda with English Subtitles.

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