2014 Program

2014 Program

The 2014 Lineup

Il Etait une foret (Once Upon a Forest) // with Hedgehogs and the City

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Screening Location: Burke // Burke Auditorium // Kroon Hall // 195 Prospect Street

Il etait une foret (Once Upon a Forest)

Once Upon a Forest, invites us on an unprecedented journey to discover the richness of primary tropical rainforests. For the first time, a tropical forest will be born before our eyes. This film synthesizes a tremendous amount of knowledge gained over centuries about the ecology and evolution of  the unique places. From the first push of pioneer forest species to the development of complex links between plants and animals, we see seven centuries pass before our eyes. Once Upon a Forest offers a unique journey through the forest–a journey through life itself. For years, Luc Jacquet has filmed the world of nature and animals, moving and amazing viewers through unique and exciting stories. This film was borne out of Jacquet’s meeting with the botanist Francis Hallé, highlighting one of the most critical environmental issues today.  These forests truly function as the green lungs that power life on earth. This film offers an exceptional dive into this world that is totally wild, but perfectly balanced–where each organism – from the smallest to largest – plays an essential role.

Hedgehogs and the City

After waking to find the forest overrun by the city, Hedgehog leads the other animals in a plan to regain their homes.

Marmato // with White Earth
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street


If Colombia is the focal point of the new global gold rush, then Marmato, a mining town with over 500 years of history, is the new frontier. In its mountain there are $20 billion dollars in gold, but its 8,000 inhabitants are at risk of being displaced by an open-pit mining project. Marmato chronicles how the townspeople confront a Canadian mining company that wants the gold beneath their homes. Filmed over the course of 6 years, Marmato is a canvas of magic realism and its confrontation with globalized mining.

White Earth

Thousands of desperate souls flock to America’s Northern Plains seeking work in the oil fields. “White Earth” is the tale of an oil boom seen through the eyes of three children and an immigrant mother braving a cruel winter. The film explores the themes of innocence, home and the American Dream.


The Expedition to the End of the World // with La Benedizione Degli Animali
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street

The Expedition to the End of the World

A real adventure film – for the 21st century. On a three-mast schooner packed with artists, scientists and ambitions worthy of Noah or Columbus, we set off for the end of the world: the rapidly melting massifs of North-East Greenland. An epic journey where the brave sailors on board encounter polar bear nightmares, Stone Age playgrounds and entirely new species. But in their encounter with new, unknown parts of the world, the crew of scientist and artists also confronted the existential questions of life. Curiosity, grand pathos and a liberating dose of humour come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity. A film conceived and brought to life on a grand scale  – a long forgotten childhood dream lived out by grown artists and scientists.

La Benedizione Degli Animali

A cow watches its reflex­ion in a mir­ror, a fat pig rests in a mud pud­dle, a rabbit’s paw is hang­ing like a tal­is­man, a pheas­ant announces with its call the arrival of the stranger. In this farm full of ani­mals of all kinds, the threat of death is close. Still, a blessed ritual is tak­ing place, cel­e­brat­ing the drama and the beauty of life.

The Ghosts in Our Machine // with Little Miss Piggy
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Screening Location: LC 101 // Room 101 // Linsly-Chittenden Hall // 63 High Street

The Ghosts in Our Machine

The Ghosts in Our Machine is a multi-award winning documentary by Liz Marshall that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and photographic lens of acclaimed photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, we become intimately familiar with a cast of non-human animals. The film follows Jo-Anne over the course of a year as she photographs several animal stories in parts of Canada, the U.S. and in Europe. Each story is a window into global animal industries:  Food, Fashion, Entertainment and Research. The Ghosts in Our Machine charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of humankind strives hard to avoid. Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?

Little Miss Piggy

Brechtje Jans is raised on a farm. On the farm dozens of piglets are born every day. In a matter of weeks these piglets must be grown into pigs that are ready to be slaughtered for their meat. She loves animals and seeing them get killed breaks her heart. But as she grows up, Brechtje starts to turn away from the agrarian lifestyle. Where she used to love the pigs, she now finds working in the stables boring and smelly. She prefers not eating meat anymore and starts to fantasize about life outside the farm, in the big city, out in ‘real life’.

Watermark // with L’Homme de Glace
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street


Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky (from 2006’sManufactured Landscapes). The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted- until it’s gone.

L’homme de glace

A man travels the globe in search of ice from the last standing glaciers.


Screening Location: Temple St. and Hillhouse St. // Intersection // Outside // Find Screening Location
Walk or bike from the Watermark screening at the Whitney to the intersection of Temple and Grove Streets for our First Annual EFFY Short Films Block Party. We’ll have several food carts and a couple fantastic shorts waiting…


A sushi conveyer-belt transports us into a rare land mammal’s supernatural habitat—where documentary crews must brave ghosts and other oddities. 8 min.


Riding Bicycles, tells the journey of four cyclists who bicycle tour Baja Mexico while video blogging along their way to see the Gray Whales. Despite fears of the Drug War, the four persevere across the Baja desert to discover that life isn’t about where you go but how you got there. Riding Bicycles is self produced by Acey Aseltine and Nevada City’s own Davin Hart and is a direct result of the accessibility of the DSLR camera. This film is a testament of what can be done with no budget and how less can be more. 20 min.

Powerless // with Overpass Light Brigade
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street


Loha is a 28-year-old electrician who lives in Kanpur, a city of 3 million that suffers from severe power blackouts. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses can function normally. Ritu is the first female chief and of the electrical utility and is on a mission to end electricity theft. With the summer settling in, the electricity problem takes on crisis proportions, with dire implications on the lives and livelihoods of this impoverished city. Powerless puts a lens to an unexplored narrative of one of the world’s fastest developing economies.

Overpass Light Brigade

Overpass Light Brigade tells the story behind Wisconsin’s Holders of the Lights, artists and activists that perform politically-charged slogans in public spaces. Using exciting time-lapse photography and interviews with founding members and other activists, the film showcases OLB’s simple, beautiful approach to performance art and action that beckons the public to creatively join the discourse and voice their concerns too often quieted by an elitist political system.

Shorts Program

Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street // Find Screening Location


An original animated short film by feature animation masters Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi. Set in the future, this animated short tells the story about a young pig encumbered with an important job. When a new student arrives at his school, the young pig’s life changes—with serious consequences for the entire town. A first-time collaboration between some of the most talented artists in animation, The Dam Keeper is an important story for people (and animals) of all ages. 18 min.Visit the site


Haleema is the parable of a young Darfurian girl who must fight for the survival of her family. In the blistering heat of the Sudanese desert, a pregnant mother and her two young children are on the search for water and safety from the dangerous Janjaweed, a merciless militia who terrorizes and kills the people in the region. Sent by her mother to find water, Haleema’s desperate search brings her into confrontation with the Janjaweed as and with her family’s needs and her compassion for life. 18m Visit the site

DamNation // with Une Balade à la Mer
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Screening Location: Zhang // Zhang Auditorium // Evans Hall // 165 Whitney Avenue


This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude, from our pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. The film highlights other dam removal stories, including the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers in Washington, the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Penobscot River in Maine. Diverse interests across the country are coming together to remove obsolete dams and find more cost-effective options to meet power, shipping, irrigation and other needs, while helping to restore rivers, preserve tribal customs, recover fish stocks, revitalize waterfronts, improve recreational opportunities and render watersheds more resilient to climate change. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.

Une balade de la mer

A small, sheltered man decides to go out to face the city and nature to free his goldfish. As he confronts the world outside he’s faced with surprises and danger all around him. Every person and every element of the city poses a threat.

Field Biologist // with Vigia
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street

Field Biologist

Field Biologist is the story of 22-year-old Tyler Christensen, a talented but somewhat rudderless high school graduate from New Jersey still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Tyler’s great love is being outside, chasing birds and studying wildlife. So one day he decides—brushing aside his lack of a college degree or scientific credentials—to drop everything and travel to Costa Rica to start doing his own conservation-oriented research on birds in the tropics. His adventure takes him from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the mangrove swamps of the Nicoya Peninsula, culminating in a plan to try to help save the highly endangered mangrove hummingbird.


Because of pollution, pesticides, and other toxic substances, a bee decides to leave her hive, looking for a more comfortable place for her to live in.

Gringo Trails // with Paradise Found
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street

Gringo Trails

Are tourists destroying the planet — or saving it ? How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? Gringo Trails offers answers—some heartbreaking, some hopeful. From the Bolivian jungle to the party beaches of Thailand, and from the deserts of Timbuktu, Mali to the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, Gringo Trails  shows the unanticipated impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment, tracing some stories over 30 years. Through serious and at times humorous reflection, backpackers and local inhabitants tell startling stories of transformation, for good and ill.

Paradise Found

This film chronicles the work of Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes who have spent nearly a decade documenting the 39 species of Birds-of-Paradise that live in Papua New Guinea. The birds — which are both gorgeous and silly — prove to be elusive prey for the cameras of Laman and Scholes.

Shorts Program 2

Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street// Find Screening Location


Birds offers a deep visual discovery of birds as creatures. The footage was gathered through several years worth of travels. The filmmaker, Ulu Braun, was interested in how birds appear in urban and human
spaces, how they orientate themselves within these spaces. The film aims to empathize with the birds shown. Braun was surprised with how closely birds resemble dinosaurs and how they seem to maintain a prehistoric
 mindset and body; with the rhythms through which they move their heads and turn their eyes,
 acclimatize their skin, and shake their feathers. It is all intense and mesmerizing through Braun’s eyes. 15 min.Visit the site


For 170 years, a Native American Cajun community has occupied Isle de Jean Charles, tiny island deep in the bayous of south Louisiana—they have fished, hunted, and lived off the land. Now the land that has sustained them for generations is vanishing before their eyes. As Chief Albert Naquin desperately looks for a way to bring his tribe together on higher ground, those that remain on the island cling to the hope that they can stay. 40 min.Visit the site

Uranium Drive-In // with Silent Voices
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Screening Location: Whitney // Auditorium // Whitney Humanities Center // 53 Wall Street

Uranium Drive-In

The film follows a proposed uranium mill in southwestern Colorado— the first to be built in the U.S. in 30 years—and the emotional debate pitting a population desperate for jobs and financial stability against an environmental group based in nearby a resort town. Without judgement, both sides of the issue are brought to life in heart-wrenching de- tail as the film follows conflicting opinions and visions for the future. The film offers no easy answers but aims instead to capture personal stories and paint a portrait of the lives behind this nuanced and complex issue.

Silent Voices

Silent Voices is the story of a young man, whose idle lounging and apathetic attitude could cost him the right to speak up. His procrastination is met head on when what once seemed distant and irrelevant to him, suddenly becomes a reality. This animated film mashes up digital and natural worlds in a montage of conflicting environments. Will this man find his voice, before it?s too late?