About Tales from Planet Earth
Tales From Planet Earth showcases environmental films from around the world on the belief issues don't move people, stories do! To that end, we link compelling narratives of films to engagement efforts of community partners working for environmental and social justice in Wisconsin. The highlight of our efforts is a biennial film festival thematically journeying around the globe to explore how stories told through film shape our understanding of nature and inspire action on behalf of environmental justice and the diversity of life.
Between our 2007 festival on the theme of "Hope," our 2009 festival on the theme of "Justice," and our 2012 festival on the theme of "Environmental Soundings," we have engaged more than 10,000 festival-goers with over 100 films that expand the definition of environmental cinema. Tales from Planet Earth will next return to Madison November 1-3, 2013 and this time embody the theme of "Futures"! As part of the festival, we are pleased to bring back frequent Tales filmmaker Alex Rivera, who will teach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 2013 as an artist-in-residence.
Building on the success of the festival, Tales from Planet Earth involves community and campus outreach throughout each year, including issue-based community film screenings and visiting filmmakers. In addition, graduate courses offered through UW-Madison have trained novice student filmmakers and community organizers to create films and to use the festivals' storytelling to benefit community groups in Wisconsin through outreach campaigns.
Tales from Planet Earth is a major outreach event of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment within the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Center's mission is to bring together faculty, staff, graduate students and others from a wide array of disciplines to explore changing relationships between people and environment over time. Because human interactions with the natural world are always mediated by institutions, politics, ideas, and values, an important component of the Center's mission is to understand how knowledge, beliefs, political economy, and culture have shaped, and been shaped, by the environment.