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Tales from Planet Earth about 2015 festival student films sponsors media past events contact

Screenshot of Google World MapMark your calendars now: Tales From Planet Earth returns to Madison November 6-8, 2015! Our theme for this festival will be Belief.

Belief is what we know to be true. What we know to be true guides the actions we choose. Yet our beliefs about the environment have complex origins that complicate our actions responding to environmental crises. Environmental beliefs have been shaped by our experiences: of the world around our homes; of our labor in the earth; of toxic exposure invisible to the eye; and of playing in natural landscapes. But they also have been shaped by ideas learned rather than lived – learned from religious and spiritual faith, from science, and even from films and popular culture. Tales 2015 will explore the influences by which we arrive at our environmental beliefs and the ways these beliefs spur and sustain environmental action across the globe.

Have ideas about films that would fit our theme? Comment on our Facebook or Twitter accounts and let us know! Curious as to what all our previous films were about and where they hailed from? Check out the map above. Meantime, like us on Twitter and Facebook and check back to this page periodically as we tease films that will be in the next festival Please note: all films listed on this page are provisional and may be removed or changed at any time prior to the release of our official schedule in September 2015.

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Inherit the Wind (1960)

Stanley Kramer (128 min., b&w, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Inherit the Wind screenshot The Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee in 1925 remains a watershed moment in American cultural and intellectual history -- exposing a rift about belief and education that has not left our national discourse ever since. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was accused of violating Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools. His trial was a national sensation, litigated by two-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and renowned attorney Clarence Darrow and in many ways still being worked out in our national discourse to this day. Inherit the Wind is the loosely fictionalized version of the trial, featuring the brilliant Spencer Tracy and Fredric March at the heights of their acting prowess. The film is an all-time classic and the perfect story for exploring America's complicated relationships with faith and science! Nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor, Screenplay, Cinematography, and Editing.

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Godfrey Reggio (86 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Koyaanisqatsi screenshot Godfrey Reggio's innovative cinematic work, including the Koyaanisqatsi trilogy, is hard to classify. But its impact on viewers is undeniable, combining exquisitely observed and filmed scenes from around the world of people's interactions with their environment and with each other. Slowly out of this amalgam of hypnotic imagery emerges a powerful statement on the human condition and our sense of spiritual connection and disconnection. While it may seem to be a simplistic screed against human despoilation of the planet, the film actually invites a more complex assessment of the place of man, science, and faith in and out of nature. Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2000.