KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent broadcast and digital media network, has announced that its two services, KCET public television in Los Angeles and independent satellite network Link TV, will launch the second annual EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, the only festival of its kind in Los Angeles on April 20, 2018, with a private opening night reception and West Coast premiere of Abramorama’s “Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” followed by a full day of environmental-themed films, many of which are free and open to the public to attend. The film from actress/filmmaker Ashley Bell follows a daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue a captive Asian elephant and set her free.
The screening will take place at Sony Pictures Studios Kim Novak Theatre. A post-screening Q&A will follow with filmmakers Ashley Bell, Roddy Tabatabai and John Michael McCarthy, Executive Producer David Casselman as well as the film’s Sangdeaun Lek Chailert moderated by KCET MUST SEE MOVIES host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.
This presentation continues KCETLink’s commitment to educating audiences about the global elephant poaching crisis following its 2016 award-winning campaign for EARTH FOCUS: Illicit Ivory. KCET and Link TV have partnered with the Save Elephant Foundation, a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs and educational ecotourism operations.
The schedule (subject to change) for Saturday, April 21 at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica (1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA. 90401 is as follows:
-9:30 a.m.: Opening of all-day festival with Heal The Bay, River LA, Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Project Save Our Surf and L.A. Works in the upstairs mezzanine area of the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center.
-9:45 a.m.: UCLA LENS Environmental Shorts Screenings (Total Running Time 1 hr.) – FREE!
In partnership with KCET, UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) has launched a yearlong collaboration to create innovative forms of immersive environmental reporting and documentary storytelling. The project brings together UCLA
faculty and students from English, Film, Anthropology and Environmental Science and also represents an original collaboration between LENS and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Films being shown include Taylor Yard: A Change of Heart in Los
Angeles and Urban Ark Los Angeles introduced by Allison Carruth, LENS Faculty Director. Q&A will follow featuring LENS co-founder Jon Christensen moderated by UCLA Film professor Kristy Guevara-Flanagan.
-10 a.m.: “March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 15 min.) – FREE!
Filmmaker Luc Jacquet returns to the Antarctic to revisit the Emperor Penguins who call the frozen continent home. A decade after making his Academy Award® winning March of the Penguins, Jacquet spent two months shooting in the Antarctic winter using the
new technology of 4K cameras, airborne drones, and under-ice diving to show the astonishing lives of these mysterious creatures in an entirely new light. The film tells the story of two penguins, a father and son, as they face and overcome the almost
unimaginable challenges of life in this hostile land. Introduced by actress Sharon Lawrence. Q&A following with Sara Mandel, aviculturist (bird expert) in charge of the June Keyes Penguin Habitat at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, and moderated by
-11 a.m.: “The Last Animals” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 32 min.)
Conflict photographer Kate Brooks turns her lens from the war zones she is used to covering to a new kind of genocide – the killing of African Elephants and Rhinos – in this sweeping and sobering exposé. As the single-digit population of Northern White
Rhinoceros ticks closer to zero, Brooks outlines the myriad factors contributing to the current epidemic of highly effective poaching and trafficking syndicates, drawing startling connections between the illegal wildlife trade, drug cartels,
international terrorism and border security. But all is not yet lost – at the same time, Brooks documents the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these animals in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Q&A
will follow moderated by Link TV Co-Founder Kim Spencer.
-12 p.m.: “Evolution of Organic” + short film “The Soil Story” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 28 min.)
Academy Award® nominated director Mark Kitchell (“Berkeley in the Sixties,” “A Fierce Green Fire”) brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. The film is narrated by recent Oscar® winner Frances McDormand. A motley
crew of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives. It’s a heartfelt journey of change from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we
grow and eat food. By now organic has gone mainstream – split into an industry oriented toward bringing organic to all people, and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. Prior to the film, the short film “The Soil Story” from
LA’s environmental non-profit Kiss the Ground, explores the first viable, low-cost way to reverse climate change through soil. Introduced by actor and filmmaker Raphael Sbarge. Q&A will follow moderated by Deadline film editor Anita Busch.
-2:30 p.m.: “Jane” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 30 min.)
Oscar®- and Emmy®-nominated director Brett Morgen uses a trove of never-before-seen 16 mm footage unearthed after 50 years from the National Geographic archives to shed fresh light on trailblazing conservationist Jane Goodall. Morgen tells Goodall’s
story starting in 1960, when the 26-year-old British woman arrives in a remote area of northwestern Tanzania to study chimpanzees. Drawing on stunning wildlife footage and exclusive interviews with Goodall, as well as research footage from the Jane
Goodall Institute and Goodall family videos, Morgen offers an unprecedented, intimate portrait of a woman who defied the odds to become one of the world’s most admired conservationists. Introduced by actor Patrick Fabian. Q&A will follow.
-5 p.m.: “Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” & “Earth Focus: Climate Migration” (Total Running Time 1 hr.) – FREE!
“Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” explores how Louisiana is learning from Hurricane Katrina. Forecasts are dire for Louisiana to experience the second-highest sea level rise in the world. There is a big movement brewing in New Orleans to
build adaptive “resilience zones.” In Southeast Louisiana, the native peoples of the Isle de Jean Charles have become the first U.S. citizens moving within their homeland displaced by climate change. “Earth Focus: Climate Migration” follows populations
that are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration. Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities. We see how this is manifesting in Mongolia and examine the factors leading to the
new community of Haitian people living in limbo at the border between Mexico and the U.S. Q&A will follow with Director Nicky Milne and UCLA LENS co-founder Jon Christensen moderated by KCETLink TV Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis.
Each of the films included in the film festival will be augmented by original content published on KCET and Link TV’s web sites at kcet.org/earthfocus and linktv.org/earthfocus, on related topics ranging from environmental justice to climate activism to
green gentrification. Contributors will include veteran environmental journalists and other experts. Additionally, visitors to the websites will be treated to multimedia features, environmental-related discussion boards and social media videos as well as
trailers to the films being featured.