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Green Screen Environmental Film Festival, June 1-5


College of Creative Arts


Ariane Bicho, Publicist
College of Creative Arts
San Francisco State University
(415) 338-1442
(415) 338-0520 fax

Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Five days of Dramas, Documentaries, Revivals and Anime about the Earth, its impending disasters and its myriad beauty

San Francisco -- With more than 30 feature-length and short films, Green Screen Environmental Film Festival offers a global view of the earth's many wonders and delights, as well as a serious look at a planet in crisis. The Festival, presented by the International Center for the Arts at San Francisco State University, is a featured program of the United Nations World Environment Day 2005, held this year in San Francisco. Green Screen Environmental Film Festival unspools Wednesday, June 1 through Sunday, June 5 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street in San Francisco. For more information please call (415) 338-1236 or visit

Opening Night
Green Screen kicks off with a timely program, co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, that looks at "The Arctic in Peril." With the Bush Administration set to put a push on drilling in the amazing and seemingly untouched Northern wilderness, now is the time to create a debate. A special free screening of Bo Boudart and Dale Djerassi's OIL ON ICE, narrated by Peter Coyote, examines the risks of oil extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska and the long-term consequences of unbridled energy consumption. The wolves of the Arctic Circle, the stunning beauty of a Northern winter, a biologist who braves it all, and the Inuits who save his hide are all winners in Carroll Ballard's drama NEVER CRY WOLF, based on Farley Mowat's autobiographical novel. NEVER CRY WOLF was lensed by award-winning cinematographer Hiro Narita and was the sophomore effort of the filmmaker of 1979's hit THE BLACK STALLION. Shot over a twenty-year period in Western Siberia, where, as in Alaska, the oil industry is destroying both the environment and the culture of the native peoples, Estonian filmmaker Mark Soosaar's FATHER, SON AND HOLY TORUM depicts the destruction of the traditional hunting profession of the Khanty tribe and the loss of much of their land to oil derricks. Filmmakers Dale Djerassi and Carroll Ballard will attend their respective screenings.

Closing Night
Five days later the Festival winds down with a lyrical look at the oceans with a sneak preview of the latest film from Andy Byatt and Alastair Fothergill, DEEP BLUE. DEEP BLUE is a sumptuous film employing state-of-the-art technology to capture some of the most fascinating and oddest real-life creatures ever seen on screen. Shot over three years in a range of locations including the Maldives, Azores, Cayman Islands, and Bermuda, DEEP BLUE, accompanied by a lush George Fenton score, is a majestic visual symphony of the seas.

Tribute to acclaimed Swedish filmmaker Stefan Jarl
Stefan Jarl, perhaps the world's foremost "environmental filmmaker," once said, "Every director must try to change the world. When you have something to say to the world, you present it through your own eyes. God created the world, but directors can change it." Using both traditional documentary techniques as well as dramatic narrative, Jarl has been preoccupied with questions of how the world will survive the onslaughts of technology and other forms of rampant modernization. Jarl examines both rural and urban environments with an acutely perceptive eye to bring a greater understanding through cinema of the dizzyingly complex world in which we now live. Green Screen is proud to screen four seminal works from this acclaimed director. Stefan Jarl will attend the screenings. Slated are NATURE'S REVENGE (l983), JAVNA, REINDEER HERDSMAN IN THE YEAR 2000 (1991), THREAT (l987), and LAND OF THE LAPPS (l994). The Festival is also pleased to present a revival screening one of cinema's all-time classics and a favorite of Jarl, Arne Sucksdorff's gorgeous black and white drama THE GREAT ADVENTURE.

Two rarely seen short films from Brit Adam Curtis
The brilliant British documentarian Adam Curtis, recipient of the Persistence of Vision Award at the 2005 San Francisco International Film Festival, has been a familiar sight recently in the Bay Area. Green Screen is proud to present two rarely screened Curtis short gems: GOODBYE MRS. ANT and TO THE BRINK OF ETERNITY. GOODBYE MRS. ANT tells the cautionary tale of the development of the so-called "miracle" chemical spray DDT in postwar America. TO THE BRINK OF ETERNITY deals with the real-life "Dr. Strangeloves" of Cold War American think tanks and atomic weapons labs. Filmmaker Curtis will attend the screenings.

More hard-hitting documentaries on the slate
Always a perennial favorite with Bay Area film-lovers and environmental activists alike are documentaries. Green Screen offers a slew of cinematic sleuths exposing the dark truths of our damaged environs.

Hubert Sauper's DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE is a cautionary tale showing how, in the age of globalization, things can evolve in the worst possible ways. The film is a look at the survival of two ruthless species: the Nile perch, which quickly annihilated almost all other fish life in Tanzania's Lake Victoria after its artificial introduction in the 1960s, and the beast known as global capitalism. Filmmaker Sauper will attend the screening.

Shot shortly after the 1991 Gulf War, Werner Herzog's LESSONS OF DARKNESS captures the terrible, disturbingly beautiful devastation of the oil-well fires in Kuwait. Set to the music of Mahler, Wagner, and Verdi, this real-life apocalyptic vision demonstrates the awesome power of fire and humanity's primal attraction to its beauty. Also by Herzog is his latest, GRIZZLY MAN a look at a bizarre wilderness incident. Timothy Treadwell's death was as sensational as his life: having presumed he could live safely among the grizzly bears of the Alaskan wilderness, the outdoorsman and author (AMONG GRIZZLIES)--along with his partner, Amie Huguenard--was eventually killed and devoured by one of the very animals to whom he had devoted years of study.

One of the most critical but least-known human rights stories in America is the ongoing attack on Native American lands and its impact on Native peoples. Nearly all Indian nations sit on land threatened by ruinous environmental hazards: toxic waste, strip mining, oil drilling, and nuclear contamination. Children play near radioactive waste, rivers that tribes depend on for food are poisoned, and reservations are completely surrounded by mines and smoke stacks spewing noxious fumes. From Alaska to Maine, Montana to New Mexico, Roberta Grossman's HOMELAND: FOUR PORTRAITS OF NATIVE ACTION takes a hard look at these realities. Filmmaker Grossman will attend the screening, with Gail Small, who is featured in the film.

Dramatic works also on screen
Lately known for the astounding I AM CUBA, Georgian-born Mikhail Kalatozov's 1959 film THE LETTER THAT WAS NEVER SENT offers an equally intriguing tale. Four geologists--three men and a woman--set out to locate the vast diamond deposits that supposedly exist in Yukatia, the coldest and most sparsely populated region in Asia. After a forest fire, autumn rains, sickness, and bitter winter storms, there is only one survivor remaining to return to civilization and tell of the hard-won victory.

In NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1982), acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki began to explore elements he would develop more fully in his later films: daring, compassionate heroines; exciting flying sequences; strong interpersonal relationships, and a call for an ecologically sustainable way of life. NAUSICAÃ was previously available in the United States only in a poorly reedited version. The 2005 English version from Disney presents the film in its entirety, with strong vocal performances by Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Alison Lohman, and Edward James Olmos. The film will be introduced by Pixar's John Lasseter.

Its not just about what's on the screen, it is also about what's on your plate
The Slow Food Movement has been simmering for years. Founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986, Slow Food is an international group, boasting 83,000 members, who promote food and wine culture, but also defend food and agricultural biodiversity worldwide. It opposes the standardization of taste, defends the need for consumer information, protects cultural identities tied to food and gastronomic traditions, safeguards foods and traditional cultivation and processing techniques, and defends domestic and wild animal and vegetable species. The Bay Area's most well known slow food proponent is Alice Waters. She will be on hand for a special selection of "foodie" films that celebrate the aesthetics of the Slow Food Movement.

A film of utter serenity and goodness, French filmmaker Marcel Pagnol's HARVEST is the simple story of a land and its people. A scissors grinder and a woman come upon a town in the French Provence inhabited by only one man, Panturle. The woman stays with Panturle, and together they bring new life to the land. Nothing less than a hymn to the "stinking rose" of the kitchen, Les Blank's GARLIC IS AS GOOD AS TEN MOTHERS visits the California kitchens of Berkeley's Chez Panisse--where famed chef Alice Waters is interviewed--Flint's Bar-B-Que, and Truckee's La Veille Maison. In YUM, YUM, YUM!, Les Blank marries his passion for spicy, down home food and his love for Cajuns and Creoles in this mouthwatering exploration of the cooking and other enthusiasms of French-speaking Louisiana. Al Gore introduces San Francisco-based filmmaker Taggart Siegel's THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, a poignant look into the challenges of American family farming and its stories of success in the face of adversity. Bertram Verhaag's LIFE RUNNING OUT OF CONTROL is a harrowing exploration of the increasing genetic manipulation of plants, animals, and human beings around the globe.

Green Screen's sponsors and presenting partners
Green Screen is sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. George Marcus, Sierra Club, Slow Food USA, HBO, Mill Valley Film Festival, Goethe-Institute, Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco, Consulate General of France in San Francisco, San Francisco Department of the Environment, and San Francisco State University's College of Creative Arts.

Festival information
Green Screen Environmental Film Festival is a featured program of the United Nations World Environment Day 2005, held this year in San Francisco. Green Screen is presented by the Documentary Film Institute, a project of the International Center for the Arts (ICA) at San Francisco State University. The ICA was established in 2004 through a gift from SFSU alumni George and Judy Marcus. The complete festival guide is online Tickets are available online at For more information, please telephone 415 338-1236.


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Last modified May 10, 2005, by the Office of Public Affairs