Too Many Choices at the Environmental Film Festival

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The Environmental Film Festival kicks off tomorrow here in Washington, D.C., and I’ve been trying to figure out which movies I should take in. With 130 films being shown over the next week and a half, most of them free, I’m overwhelmed. I’ve narrowed my choices down to 14, but I need some help. Are there any that you think I should attend (either in my list below or others being shown)? Any that I should take a pass on?

Return of the Honeybee, 7:30 pm, Wednesday, March 11, Carnegie Institution for Science: The plight of the disappearing honeybee has been a pretty hot topic in the last few years (it even featured into the plot of the last year’s season finale of Doctor Who). But the Economist reported last week that there’s a glut of honeybees in California and asks whether or not the global pollination crisis is real. Is the movie now irrelevant? On the plus side, though, the showing is sponsored by Haagen-Dazs and promises free ice cream.

One Water, 6:30 pm, Thursday, March 12, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies: Access to drinking water is another topic that has taken off in recent years. (Didn’t you pay attention when watching the latest James Bond flick?) If nothing else, the documentary looks to be visually stunning.

The Silent World/Le Monde du Silence, 7:00 pm, Thursday, March 12, Library of Congress: A Jacque Cousteau classic, from 1956, which won a Golden Palm at Cannes and the 1957 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

The State of the Planet’s Oceans, 12:00 noon, Friday, March 13, National Museum of Natural History: The next episode in the PBS series “Journey to Planet Earth,” this should be good. But I can watch it on TV the next week.

A Sea Change, 3:30 pm, Saturday, March 14, National Museum of Natural History: I’ve read a lot about ocean acidification, but the movie covers one aspect I haven’t heard that much about—how it affects fish. Considering how much humans depend on fish worldwide, this could be an eye-opener.

Cuttlefish: The Brainy Bunch, 12:00 noon, Sunday, March 15, National Museum of Natural History: I missed this Australian documentary when it aired on Nova as the “Kings of Camouflage.” Cuttlefish have big brains (for their body size, at least). Are they intelligent? And if so, how smart are they?

Secrets of the Reef, 2:15 pm, Sunday, March 15, National Museum of Natural History: If it looks this good on YouTube (the trailer is posted below), how amazing will it be in high-definition?

Riverwebs, 6:30 pm, Monday, March 16, Japan Information & Culture Center: The oceans get all the attention, but river ecology is interesting, too. Add in Japan and the tragic death of a river ecologist, and this movie could be a fascinating story. (And I’ve never been to the Japanese Embassy before.)

The World According to Monsanto, 6:30 pm, Wednesday, March 18, Carnegie Institution for Science: Monsanto is one of the world leaders in selling seeds, particularly genetically-modified seeds. Do they really want to feed the world and protect the environment? I’m not sure I need to see this at the Carnegie, though, since the movie is available online.

Dust, 12:30 pm, Thursday, March 19, National Gallery of Art: I’ve been strangely fascinated with dust since the first time I read about dust storms from the Sahara sending particles all the way to North America. Also, I’m a bit of a neat freak. This movie seems made for me.

Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People, Time and Terrain—Part One, 2:00 pm, Thursday, March 19, National Portrait Gallery: I grew up on the edge of the Appalachians, and I’ve always been fascinated with them. They may not be the highest mountains in our country, but they are the prettiest. And they have a history that I’d be willing to learn more about.

The Great Squeeze, 4:00 pm, Thursday, March 19, The World Bank: How long until we run out of everything? And what should we do about it? My worry about this movie is that it won’t cover any new ground (new to me, that is).

Eye of the Leopard, 11:30 am, Sunday, March 22, National Museum of Natural History: It’s from our competitor, National Geographic Channel, but there are cute, fuzzy kitties. OK, they’re fast, deadly kitties, but I’m a sucker for a good cat story.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars, 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 22, Carnegie Institution for Science: The future battle will be over water, not oil. This may sound like the trailer for the next big post-apocalyptic blockbuster, but it just might end up being true.

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