Top Picks for the Portland EcoFilm Festival

Catch indie flicks exploring mountain climbing, food waste, salmon runs, monsoons, and more at the Hollywood Theatre from April 9–12

By Tuck Woodstock April 3, 2015

Portland’s third annual EcoFilm Festival returns next Thursday, April 9, for four days of indie docs investigating a wealth of environmental topics. Grab your fellow gardeners, bike commuters, upcyclers, vegans, freegans, and sustainability-focused folk and head to the historic Hollywood Theatre for these provocative, inspiring films:

How To Change the World (2015)
April 9, 7 pm

This “hippie heist movie-turned-high sea adventure” debuted in the World Cinema Documentary competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film chronicles an eccentric group of Vancouver activists whose protests of atomic bomb tests in Alaska resulted in the founding of Greenpeace and the launch of the international green movement. The documentary weaves together vérité footage, audio recordings and photos to recreate the group’s most poignant, formative moments.

"How To Change the World" (photo courtesy Dogwoof)

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (2014)
April 11, 4 pm

This fascinating study of epidemic food waste explores how society’s obsession with expiration dates, flawless produce, and absurd portion sizes leads to billions of dollars of perfectly edible food—as much as 40% of everything raised or grown—being discarded each year. When filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer vow to live only on rejected food products, the results are both highly educational and wildly entertaining. 

Crying Earth Rise Up (2015) and 
Chuitna Coal: More Than Salmon on the Line (2015)
April 12, 4:30 pm

This local spotlight features eco-docs by two Portland filmmakers. Crying Earth Rise Up follows two Lakota women as they fight to protect their sacred drinking water from radioactive contamination from a nearby uranium mine. Director Suree Towfighnia and producer Courtney Hermann will attend the screening. Chuitna Coal, directed by Trip Jennings, chronicles the journey of fly fishermen fighting to protect Alaska’s wild salmon from the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine.  

Crying Earth Rise Up Trailer from Courtney Hermann on Vimeo.

A full list of films screening throughout the festival—which includes a Mt Everest documentary made in 1924, an exploration of Indian monsoon season, a family who lives without clocks for nine months, and much more—is available at the Portland EcoFilm Festival website.

Festivities kick off on Thursday, April 9, with an opening night bash at Velo Cult that features live music and Chipotle chow. (Yes, Chipotle is the festival’s founding sponsor. Try to ignore that part.) Tickets are $10 for the opening night film (How To Change the World) and fiesta, $8 per screening, or $50 for a festival pass, and can be purchased here. Don’t forget your eco-friendly reusable popcorn bag! 

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