Nature in Focus at the Environmental Film Festival

Environmental Film Festival highlights on view at Smithsonian locations

The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, spring is here: don’t we all feel like celebrating the environment right now? This weekend, take a walk down the Mall for the 20th annual DC Environmental Film Festival. With 180 films in two weeks, it's hard to choose how to budget your time. Luckily for you, we've picked out a few that you simply can't miss.

In a special advance screening, Space Junk 3-D takes you on a tour of the junk humans have left behind in our explorations in space. Metal, glass, and plastic objects, sometimes larger than a bus, constantly collide above us and sometimes fall back to the Earth’s atmosphere, with surprising consequences. The film will be introduced by filmmaker Melissa R. Butts. After the screening, she’ll discuss the film with co-filmmaker Kimberly Row. Friday, March 16, 7:00 p.m. Natural History Museum.

Making its Washington D.C. premiere, People of a Feather has already generated a lot of buzz, after winning the EnvironmentalFilm Audience Award at the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival. The film travels through time into the world of the Inuit on the isolated Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay, tracing the roots of the environmental and ecosystem devastation that now threatens the Sanikiluaq people. After the film, stick around for a discussion with filmmaker Joel Heath. Saturday, March 17, 2:00 p.m. American Indian Museum.

The Man Who Stopped the Desert is a telling documentary of the inspiring story of Yacouba Sawadogo. An illiterate African peasant farmer, Sawadogo struggled for 20 years to reverse creeping desertification by reviving an ancient farming technique. Stick around for a discussion with Paola Agostini, Senior Environmental and Natural Resources Economist, TerrAfrica Program and GEF Regional Coordinator of The World Bank. 6:30 PM, March 22, 2012. African Art Museum.

Semper Fi: Always Faithful follows Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger's mission to expose a Marine Corps cover-up of one of the largest water contamination incidents in U.S. history, comes to DC after being selected at the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Ensminger's story, which Film Journal says "has all the investigative punch of a window-rattling “Frontline” episode and the smoldering intensity of a high-stakes issues drama," reveals the looming environmental crises at military sites around the country. Saturday, March 24, 6:00 p.m. at the Anacostia Community Museum.

For complete listings, download the Environmental Film Festival's schedule, or check in at the following Smithsonian locations: the National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Freer and Sackler Galleries, and the American History Museum, which are all screening films this month.

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