Today, the 2013 Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY) announced the winners of the 5th annual student-run film festival, which concluded last week. A jury comprised of Yale students, alumni, and faculty awarded the documentary, A River Changes Course, the top prize for a feature film. From more than 300 submissions from over 40 countries, EFFY organizers chose to screen some of the year’s most innovative, cutting-edge films that raise awareness of current environmental and social issues.
Directed by Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course takes the audience to the remote jungles and floating cities of the Cambodian countryside to the bustling garment factories of modern Phnom Penh, tracing the story of a country torn between the rural present and an ominous industrial future.
“I was very impressed by the diverse films and voices represented at EFFY this year, and by the festival programmers who themselves are leaders in the environmental movement,” said Mam of her experience at EFFY. “EFFY is a true platform for sharing stories and discussing the many environmental issues facing our world today.”
EFFY, housed within the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, showcased 10 feature films and 14 shorts from April 8 to April 14 in venues across New Haven, CT. All screenings were followed by panel discussions with filmmakers, Yale faculty, and other experts.
The EFFY Audience Award, as determined by ballots distributed to filmgoers, went to GMO OMG, directed by Jeremy Seifert. The film, which had its U.S. Premiere at EFFY, tells the story of a father’s discovery of GMOs in relationship to his three young children and the world around him.
The jury also honored the short film, Redemption, directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill, which follows New York City’s canners — the men and women who survive by redeeming bottles and cans they collect from curbs, garbage cans and apartment complexes.
Other highlights of the festival included the first annual EFFY Young Filmmakers and Young Photographers Competition, the world premiere of Gold Fever, directed by Andrew Sherburne, JT Haines and Tommy Haines, and a special screening of Fox Searchlight’s The East directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling, Ellen Page, and Alexander Skarsgård.
“EFFY 2013 was the most successful yet,” said Dean Peter Crane, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “Now in its fifth year, EFFY has become one of the best ways that Yale reaches out into the broader New Haven community.”
Major sponsors of the 2013 festival include the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, The Study at Yale Hotel, Films at the Whitney, the Class of 1980 Fund, and Phoenix Press.