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Feb. 21-23: 'Lights, Camera, EARTH!'

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Film festival to showcase 11 environmental documentaries plus student films

Eleven contemporary documentaries will be featured at the University of Delaware's inaugural "Lights, Camera, EARTH!" environmental film festival to be held Feb. 21-23 in Mitchell Hall.

Scheduled in afternoon and evening sessions throughout the weekend, the movies are grouped to illuminate different themes. Friday will focus on environmental activism, Saturday on nature in cities and Sunday on big questions about our relationship to other forms of life.

Faculty commentators and directors of two of the films will be on hand at the various sessions to introduce and discuss the films with audience members.

The festival will showcase the new wit and visual creativity in environmental documentaries. "These aren't your parents' films about nature," said Adam Rome, Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair in Environment and organizer of the festival. "Some of these films will make you laugh out loud, some will inspire you and some will challenge you. All will expand your view of the world and of human experience."

The two visiting directors will be present at the films featured on Friday and Saturday evenings. On Friday night, Feb. 21, director John Fiege will be present to talk about his forthcoming film, Above All Else, which depicts grassroots opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in eastern Texas. This will be one of the first public discussions of the film, which is still a work in progress.

On Saturday night, Feb. 22, director Ian Cheney will be on hand to present his film, The City Dark, which asks the question, "What do we lose, when we lose the night sky?" A New York Times Critics' Pick and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Environmental Film Fest at Yale, The City Dark features stunning astrophotography and an eclectic cast of scientists, philosophers, historians and lighting designers.

"Lights, Camera, EARTH!" concludes on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, with the presentation of finalists in the "Dare To Be Green" student video competition sponsored by the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) and the awarding of the $1,000 grand prize and $500 runner-up prize to the top student productions.

The Sunday night session also includes a screening of No Impact Man, a poignant and surprisingly funny documentary about one family's extreme experiment in eco-living.

"While people can certainly view most of these films at home on DVD, we hope that they will want to come out for a richer, community experience," says Rome, who also co-directs the Environmental Humanities Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is co-sponsoring the festival along with DENIN.

"This is a chance to see some great films on a big screen and then join with other people in reacting to what you've seen. What could me more fun?"

The event is free and open to the public. The complete line-up of films may be viewed on the festival's webpage, including links to trailers and show times.

Article by Beth Chajes. Originally published January 13, 2014 in UDaily.

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Eleven documentaries will be featured at UD's inaugural environmental film festival, Feb. 21-23.
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Feb. 21-23: 'Lights, Camera, EARTH!'