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Screenshot of Google World MapTales from Planet Earth has screened more than 150 environmental films through our 2007 festival, 2009 festival, 2012 festival, 2013 festival, community screenings, and our co-sponsorship of the Wisconsin Film Festival. When building festival rosters, we have tried to re-define ideas of environmental film to encompass movies that view the environment broadly as the place where we live, work, and play and that examine how humans shape and are shaped by non-human nature. A complete list of every film we have screened is below. As seen on this map, they have been set in 42 different countries on all 7 continents! For details about each festival, click the links in the menu above.

Films listed alphabetically:   0-9  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

2200 Degrees (2008)

Jesse Epstein (3 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

2200 Degrees screenshotSteel workers at Bethlehem Steel made the steel that went into the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, and armaments for World War II. Today, as America's manufacturing sector has drastically downsized in the wake of the new economic order, the plant has closed down, leaving behind a deserted landscape of memories. In Jesse Epstein's poignant short, Ritchie Check - a worker at the plant for over 30 years - strolls through the skeletal remains of the factory that helped forge America. (Screened with The Greening of Southie)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Richard Fleischer (127 min., color, 35mm, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea screenshotDisney's Cinema-Scope classic updates the Jules Verne novel, adding an undercurrent of anxiety about the atomic era and the potential threats of nuclear power. A "monster" has been terrorizing and sinking shipping vessels in the South Seas. Acclaimed French professor Pierre Arranox (Paul Lukas) agrees to travel on a U.S. expedition to track down the monster, along with his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre) and the skeptical seaman Ned Land (Kirk Douglas). When their ship, too, is destroyed, they survive to discover that the monster is actually a mysterious submarine, captained by the fanatical Captain Nemo (James Mason). Nemo at first wins over Arranox with his vision of an underwater utopia, far from the wars and poverty of the surface world. But Conseil and Land see a very different picture. In the end, Arranox comes to understand the madness driving Nemo and his fears of what his submarine's new mysterious power source could wreak upon the rest of the world if it is discovered. (Screened with The Bead Game)

The Adventures of Chico (1938)

Horace and Stacy Woodard (60 min., b/w, 16mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

UW Cinematheque

The Adventures of Chico screenshotA near-forgotten gem from the 1930s, The Adventures of Chico is a surprisingly modern tale. Depicting a year in the life of Chico, a Mexican boy helping his family of goat herders, the film offers a beautiful and amusing look at how humans interact with both domestic and wild animals. Over the course of the year, Chico raises an orphaned roadrunner, confronts a mountain lion after his family's livestock, and meets two coatimundi who get into loads of trouble when they overturn the family pantry. Unwilling to sugar-coat (or Disney-ify) too much truths about animal life and death, directors Horace and Stacy Woodard present an uplifting portrait of rural life and of the emotional bonds that we maintain with the animals around us. Following the film was a presentation by Four Lakes Wildlife Center about the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals here in Madison!

American Water (2011)

Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan (9 min., color, Blu-Ray, UK)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

American Water screenshotBy rights, Cairo, Illinois should be a major American metropolis. Located at the juncture of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, this once critical location for water transport in the U.S. today watches much of the world pass it by. Yet the town is far from empty. Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan discover that its forgotten exterior hides a colorful cast of characters keeping the town alive -- including two river rats with some definite views about how best to approach the waterways, for sustenance or sport. (Screened with Everybody's Nuts, Bee, That Which Once Was, and La Maison en Petits Cubes)
Visit the film's official website

Automania 2000 (1963)

John Halas (9 min., color, DVD, UK)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 8 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

The House of Small Cubes screenshotThis Academy Award-nominated short imagines a future (or perhaps more accurately our present) in which our reliance upon science seemingly allows us to have the good life . . . as long as you don't mind perpetually living in your car! But hey, as long as we keep getting new and bigger cars for every occasion, what's the problem, right? Witty, prescient, and disturbing in its satire, John Halas's film will give you a whole new appreciation for what "keeping up with the Joneses" really entails. (Screened with Waste Land)

Bambi (1942)

David Hand (70 min., color, animated, 35mm, US)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 1:45pm

Orpheum Theater

Bambi screenshot: Bambi in the woodsThe animated classic Bambi is a film about natural innocence, the renewal of life, and the alienation of humans from nature told through the coming-of-age story of a young deer as he takes his place as the Prince of the Forest. Directed by David Hand, Bambi features an array of unforgettable scenes (the death of Bambi's mother will leave you teary-eyed) and remains just as beautiful and heartbreaking as when you saw it as a youngster. (Screened with Beaver Valley)

The Bead Game (1977)

Ishu Patel (6 min., color, 16mm, Canada)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Bead Game screenshotThe life-or-death predicament of modern times is unique, right? Ishu Patel's innovative stop-motion animated film offers an odd vision of hope (and despair) in suggesting that the history of life itself is nothing but a game of conflict, destruction, and rebirth. From single-celled organisms to modern times, struggle has been constant. But has the atomic age changed the rules of this eternal game? Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. (Screened with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

Beaver Valley (1950)

James Algar (32 min., color, animated, DVD, US)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 1:45pm

Orpheum Theater

Movie poster for Beaver ValleyMade just eight years after Bambi, Beaver Valley was the second of Disney’s True-Life Adventures, a genre of nature films which saved the studio from bankruptcy. It follows the exploits of "nature’s chief water conservationist – the beaver" on the Continental Divide. Don't miss out on the Frog Symphony, one of the most memorable comic scenes in wildlife film history. (Screened with Bambi)

Bee (2012)

Raphael Hitzke (20 min., color, Digibeta, US)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Bee screenshotChristine, a young entomologist, reluctantly heads back to her hometown to meet her dad, Ed, at the farmers market. After learning that half of her dad's honeybees have died, Christine finds that the bees have been killed by a pesticide. Can Christine get to the bottom of what happened to the bees? Or will she be thwarted by racial prejudices and mistrust that underlie so many American agricultural communities? Raphael Hitzke's short has become a hit on the festival circuit, appearing at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival among several others. (Screened with Everybody's Nuts, American Water, That Which Once Was, and La Maison en Petits Cubes)
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Before Tomorrow (2008)

Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Ivalu (93 min., color, Digibeta, Canada, In Inuit with English subtitles)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Before Tomorrow screenshotIt is summer. An Inuit extended family gathers to enjoy the land's abudance and their good fortune. But Ningiuq, the wise old woman, has a vision that suggests that her family's future is more fragile than they think. Ningiuq and her grandson Maniq are left at the island where the family annually dries its catch to prepare for winter. They finish their tasks and wait for someone to return to pick them up . . . and wait. This beautiful film set the stage for a weekend of conversations about time, visions, place, and futures! Nominee for awards at both the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals and nominated for nine Genie Awards (the equivalent of the Canadian Academy Award). Filmmaker was in attendence.
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Bhopal Express (1999)

Manesh Mathai (100 min., color, DVD, India)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 1:45 pm

UW Cinematheque Theater

Movie poster for Bhopal Express: man and womanOn December 3rd 1984, over 40 tons of highly poisonous gas leaked out of the pesticide factory of Union Carbide in Bhopal, India. 8,000 people died in the worst chemical disaster in the history of humankind - and since then 20,000 have died from after-effects. Set amidst this tragedy, Bhopal Express is a love story seen through the eyes of newlyweds Verma and Tara, and their friend Bashir. Eager to start a family, Verma works as a supervisor at the Union Carbide plant despite the warnings of Bashir, who quit due to unsafe working conditions. When Bashir's worst fears are realized and Tara life is endangered, Verma must race against time to save her.

Black Out (2013)

Eva Weber (47 min., color, HD Cam, U.K., In French with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Black Out screenshotOnly about a fifth of Guinea's 10 million people have access to electricity. With few families able to afford generators, children have co-opted the international airport, gas stations and traffic roundabouts as unlikely places to do their schoolwork -- the few places with artificial light. Every night of the weeks leading up to their important annual exams, children walk as many as six miles just to further their education. A vivid film of engaging stories, Weber's Black Out is both powerful and haunting, another triumph in her impressive filmography (which includes past Tales favorite The Solitary Life of Cranes). Official selection of the International Documentary, Full Frame, Aljazeera, Planete +, and Los Angeles Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance. Followed by a panel on the future of access to the electrical grid.
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The Black Stallion (1979)

Carroll Ballard (118 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 12 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The Black Stallion screenshotAlec (Kelly Reno), a young boy, is saved from a shipwreck by a beautiful stallion. Together they survive on an isolated island and forge a lasting bond. After their rescue they return to America where an ex-horse trainer (Mickey Rooney) teaches Alec to be a jockey and guides the boy and the stallion to their ultimate triumph in this sweeping and majestic Academy Award-winning drama.

Born Free (1966)

James Hill (95 min., color, 35mm, UK)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, Noon

UW Cinematheque

Born FreeToday many people remember Born Free primarily for its Oscar-winning score and title song. Yet for many the film was, and remains, a transformative experience. In fact, President Obama revealed in a recent interview that it was one of the first films he ever saw and one that deeply affected him. And with good reason, as the film faithfully tells Joy Adamson's amazing real-life tale of raising three orphaned lion cubs in captivity and then successfully rehabilitating the youngest cub, Elsa, to be able to live and survive in the wild on her own. For the film's stars, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, the experience of shooting the film so moved them they became lifelong animal rights activists. For audiences today, the film will cause you to rethink what exactly the boundaries are between "humans" and "nature," between "wild" and not. In the end, how we think about these categories has profound implications for whether humans and wildlife will successfully be able to co-exist in the future.

Brothers on the Line (2012)

Sasha Reuther (80 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 7 p.m.

Monona Terrace

Brothers on the Line screenshotIn the first half of the 20th century, Detroit, Michigan was arguably the center of America's manufacturing landscape. With a promise of surefire employment, this booming metropolis was inundated with hopeful job-seekers trying to build a future for themselves. Most soon discovered that the constant stream of immigrants meant they had to accept whatever working conditions demanded of them or risk being replaced. Three immigrants, however -- brothers Walter, Roy, and Victor Reuther - sought to give an equal voice to the workers pitted against the might of the automobile manufacturers. Overcoming intimidation and unified opposition from government and business, they organized the United Auto Workers (UAW) into a powerful advocate for workers' rights. With rare access to behind-the-scenes footage, this brand-new documentary -- directed by Victor Reuther's grandson and narrated by Martin Sheen -- offers a vivid portrait of the early ideals of the modern American labor movement. Winner, Best Documentary 2012 Michigan Film Awards. Filmmaker was in attendance.
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Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Werner Herzog (90 min., color, 35mm, Canada/U.S./France/U.K./Germany)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Cave of Forgotten Dreams screenshotIn Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in southern France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man, cave drawings dating back more than 30,000 years -- almost twice as old as any previous discovery. In these luminous visions, spectacularly filmed, Herzog finds a new appreciation of how early humans viewed their world and their place in it. One of two films being screened at Tales as part of a retrospective of master German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with Lessons of Darkness. Winner of Best Documentary by the National Society of Film Critics, as well as the Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Washington DC Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City Film Critics awards.
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CBS Reports: Silent Spring (1963)

Bill Justice and Bill Roberts (60 min., b&w, DVD, US)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

CBS Reports: Silent Spring screenshotIn 1962, just a couple years before Rachel Carson passed away from breast cancer, she sat down with CBS's Eric Sevareid to discuss the national sensation caused by the publication of Silent Spring. Despite every attempt to paint Carson as an alarmist or anti-progress, her appearance in this television special only cemented the portrait of a committed, yet dispassionate and analytical, thinker, who wrote only based on solid evidence and who measured her choice of words and analysis quite carefully. Watching Carson today, one can understand why much of the 1960s American public (including President Kennedy) came to be swayed by Carson's reasoning. Worth considering, then, is why so little has actually changed in the 50 years since her warnings first appeared. (Screened with DDT -- Weapon Against Disease and The Winged Scourge)

The Chances of the World Changing (2005)

Eric Daniel Metzgar (99 min., color, Digibeta, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 9:20 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

The Chances of the World ChangingAn astonishingly moving and intimate portrait of one man's quest to keep from losing himself as he tries to save the world, The Chances of the World Changing follows several years in the life of Richard Ogust, a writer and turtle collector who took on the challenge of trying to save many of the world's endangered turtle species and in the process lost his home, his career, and almost his sense of self. Even as he continually confronts insurmountable obstacles - lack of funding, dying turtles, illegal smugglers - the most amazing thing (as director Eric Daniel Metzgar has noted) is that this film concerning extinction is less about gloom and doom than it is about persistance, hope and survival.
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A Changing World (2008)

Marie-Hélène Cousineau (36 min., color, Digibetacam, Canada)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Screenshot fom A Changing WorldOn Baffin Island, two mountains of ore will be cut down at Mary River. Residents of Igloolik have many reactions to this development : some worry that this industrial development will destroy their environment and the marine mammals as well as their culture and hunting life style. As part of the "Show me on the Map" project, this film allows Aboriginal citizens to voice their concerns and expose their points of view about mining industry development on their territories. Filmmaker was in attendance. Screening was followed by panel discussion on indigenous rights and resource exploitation. (Screened with Protect Our Future)

Chasing Ice (2011)

Jeff Orlowski (75 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Chasing Ice screenshotThe sound of a glacier calving, the deep sonic rumble of millions of tons of melting ice grinding against each other. This is the sound of climate change. It's occurring more and more frequently and yet not so frequently that most people can experience it in person. This is damage that falls in the category of what UW-Madison professor Rob Nixon has coined "slow violence" -- ecological catastrophes that happen too gradually and invisibly to arrest our attention in the fast-paced, spectacle-driven society that consumes public attention today. Renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog is therefore on a mission: to make this slow violence of Arctic climate change visible and visceral. To do so, he'll push himself and his assistants to the physical breaking point to reach remote glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere and set up time-lapse cameras that can capture the gradual spectacle of glacial retreat. Ignoring doctors' orders to stop for fear of permanently disfiguring himself, braving life-threatening ice crevices, and propelled by a single-minded vision, Balog gathers awe-inducing photos and video that must be seen on the big screen to register fully. Chasing Ice absolutely should not be missed! Winner of multiple awards at the Big Sky, SXSW, Hot Docs, DocuWest, Seattle, Full Frame, and Boulder Film Festivals, among many, many others.
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Children of the Sun (1960)

John Hubley (10 min., color, 35mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

MMoCA

Children of the SunThe story of a healthy child who has enough to eat is juxtaposed with the story of an undernourished child representing three-fourths of the world's children. The film ends with the United Nations’ commitment to all the children of our planet. Part of a retrospective of the award-winning animation of John and Faith Hubley. (Screened with Second Chance: Sea and Whither Weather)

The City Dark (2011)

Ian Cheney (84 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 9 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The City Dark screenshotProgress has its price - each technology yields later realizations of new forms of pollution. In his latest rollicking film, Ian Cheney (director of prior Tales audience fave The Greening of Southie) explores a newly-realized form of pollution from one of the oldest and most ubiquitous technologies on the planet - artificial light. Cheney starts with the question: "Do we need the stars?" His search for answers takes him to wildlife rehabilitation centers, cancer wards, observatories, and ultimately to questions about the nature of human imagination! Cheney's films are always entertaining and thought-provoking and this film is no exception, having already won critical and audience plaudits at the SXSW and Yale Environmental Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance.
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La Ciudad (The City) (1998)

David Riker (88 min., b&w, DVD, US)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 7 p.m.

Centro Hispano

La Cuidad ScreenshotDavid Riker's dramatic film, born out of six years of acting workshops with Latino immigrants, is understated and yet pulls no punches, as it explores the disorienting reality of four Latino immigrants trying to imagine a new life for themselves in New York City. Told as four overlapping vignettes, the film, as Roger Ebert notes, "gives faces to the faceless and is not easily forgotten." Strangers in a strange land, at the mercy of unscrupulous employers and grasping at connections to their past lives, the heroes of each of these tales display quiet dignity and resilience, trying to find glimmers of hope amid much hardship. An extraordinary film, The New York Times declared that La Ciudad has "power in bringing home the brute Darwinian realities of poor people's lives" and is "indelible, deeply disquieting." Official selection of Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals. Winner Best Narrative Feature Film at the SXSW Film Festival and Winner at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.
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Contact (2009)

Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (78 min., color, Digibeta, Australia)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 7 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

ContactHuman history is replete with moments of "contact," times when two civilizations first discovered each other and tried to make sense of the other. While it is tempting to assume these moments all occurred in the distant past -- recorded, if at all, now only in dusty pages of history books -- moments of contact in fact have occurred quite recently. In Contact, we witness an extraordinary moment of discovery via rare documentary footage of the moment the last 20 Martu Aboriginal nomads walked out of the Australian outback in 1964. Led by Yuwali, then a beautiful 17-year old girl and now our vibrant 62-year old narrator, these women and children were tracked down by the Australian government fearful that they could be in the debris field of an upcoming rocket test. The film leads us through the cat-and-mouse of tracking the Martu people down, as retold by both Yuwali and her family and the government officials who sought them, and ultimately allows Yuwali and her family to retell for their children and grandchildren what "contact" has meant for the history of their culture. Winner Best Feature Documentary from the Australian Film Institute and best documentary prizes at three film festivals.
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Containment (2014 -- In progress)

Robb Moss, Peter Galison (~85 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Containment screenshotDeep beneath Carlsbad, New Mexico, lies the world's only licensed, operating radioactive waste site. Savior of the town? Bulwark against global warming? Or a nuclear gamble for 10,000 years? Containment explores the scientific, moral, and philosophical problems that surround the disposition of nuclear waste and the history of our efforts to safeguard the future from the wastes of our energy choices today. Filmmakers were in attendance.

Cooked (2014 -- In progress)

Judith Helfand (~70 min., color, DV, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 5:30 pm and Thursday, March 29, 2012, 9 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and UW Cinematheque

CookedIn her signature style, Judith Helfand takes audiences through one of the most tragic heat waves in U.S. history and deep into the politics of disaster. In 1995, 739 Chicago residents — most of them poor, elderly and African American — died over the course of one hot July week. Was the tragedy a result of extreme weather or extreme denial? Determined to find out, she embarks on a journey as a "Disaster Detective" that leads her to our nation's burgeoning disaster-preparedness industry, where she discovers perhaps the biggest crisis of all -- our very definition of "disaster." She also meets an unlikely group of allies, new "first responders" striving to address the disaster behind the disasters, including: Chicago's Chief Epidemiologist from 1995, who went from mapping heat victims to studying the city's health-care disparities; a National Guard General with innovative notions about disaster response; and a cadre of South and West Side community activists striving to restore health, dignity, and economic growth to their neighborhoods and reduce C02 emissions at the same time. Can we redefine or expand our definition of "disaster" to include extreme poverty? To include those who need a survival kit just to get through an average week? As always, Helfand's films urge viewers to act rather than merely react; because if we don't, we're all "cooked." Filmmaker was in attendance.

Code 46 (2003)

Michael Winterbottom (93 min., color, DVD, U.K.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Code 46 screenshotIt's the near future and Code 46 is in effect. With widespread use of cloning and genetic therapies, the statute prohibits anyone from breeding without making sure their partners are not genetically related. Willfully breeding with a known clone can result in arrest and treatment to ensure you never disobey again. Such control is typical of The Sphynx, the transnational corporation that has taken over most governmental functions, controlling who travels and who gets the privilege of living in the protection of global megacities like Shanghai and London. London-based William Geld (Tim Robbins) is a master at intuiting other people's thoughts and has been sent by The Sphynx to Shanghai to determine who is breaking the law there and issuing fraudulent licenses to travel. Geld is a man always at ease and accepting of the world as it is . . . until he meets license-maker Maria Gonzalez (Samantha Morton). Suddenly, his life is turned upside down and everything he thinks he believes about his world is up for grabs. Nominee for multiple audience awards at the 2003 European Film Awards and for the Golden Lion at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.
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The Cove (2009)

Louie Psihoyos (92 min., color, 35 mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 7:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

The CoveOne of the most controversial and yet well-reviewed documentaries to emerge in years, The Cove comes across as an espionage thriller and environmental advocacy film rolled into one. At stake is the annual slaughter and capture of dozens of dolphins in the hidden cove of the Japanese town of Taiji. Former renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, who trained the original Flipper, has come from America to Taiji to try to expose the practice, which is so well hidden and guarded by the local fishermen that he has to recruit a team of divers, filmmakers, and commandos to hide secret cameras, microphones, and other equipment that can capture the slaughter on film. The paramilitary operation against another culture (as the filmmakers ultimately choose to frame it) comes under intense local suspicion and resistance, as the fishermen resist interference in their decades-old traditional fishing practices. In the end, the film leaves you with so many questions - is this killing of the dolphins morally wrong? If so, why does it make us so much angrier at the Japanese than at those of us complacent in the deaths of thousands of dolphins inadvertently killed in fishing nets to supply Americans with fish and to supply dolphins for our aquaria? Why does the killing of dolphins provoke such unparalleled outrage compared to the slaughter of millions of animals in American factory farms? Deeply disturbing, edge-of-your-seat gripping, and highly controversial, you'll debate this film for some time to come. Winner of Audience Awards at Sundance, Hot Docs, Silver Docs, and almost a dozen other film festivals.
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Darwin's Nightmare (2004)

Hubert Sauper (107 min, color, 35 mm, Austria/Belgium/France/Canada/Finland/Sweden)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 7:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Darwin's Nightmare screenshot: screaming boyDarwin's Nightmare traces the devastating downward spiral that was triggered by two relentless killing machines: the Nile perch which, over the course of a few decades, ate through everything that used to live in Tanzania's Lake Victoria; and the foreign capitalists who introduced that non-native fish in order to sell it to European consumers. Losing out to both of these were the local Tanzanians who once lived off the lake's bounty and now, literally, are left with bones and rotting carcasses. Eventually, the filmmakers discover what is coming into Africa on the planes hired to take the fish out, further proving the depth of the corruption and evil at the heart of this situation. (Description adapted from the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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DDT - Weapon Against Disease (1945)

U.S. War Department (14 min., b&w, DVD, US)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

DDT - Weapon Against Disease screenshotIn 1945, DDT really was a godsend. At that point, American troops fighting around the world faced greater risks from disease -- malaria and typhus, among others -- than from enemy fire. And DDT suddenly appeared as a savoir. In our modern era of skepticism and fears of nuclear and chemical toxicity, it can be easy to forget that chemicals and science once held lauded positions of unquestioned respect, beacons of progress for American society. This short film, produced by the U.S. Army for educational distribution, offers a glimpse into that popular mindset about modern "miracle" chemicals. (Screened with The Winged Scourge and CBS Reports: The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson)

Dear Mandela (2011)

Dara Kell, Christopher Nizza (90 min., color, Blu-Ray, South Africa)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:15 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Arrt

Home Turf screenshotSouth Africa is a country long on promises and short on realization of many of those promises. Since the end of apartheid, the nation's black residents have been seeking change from the new national leadership by the African National Congress, the nearly-unassailable dominant political party, which has the advantage of being Nelson Mandela's party. But for residents of the nation's many illegal shantytowns, the ANC not only has not delivered it has become part of the problem. This is the tale of three residents -- Mazwi, Zama, and Mnikolo -- who join a citizen's group challenging the government's policy of forced evictions and shanty demolitions and in the process take their case all the way to the South African Supreme Court. Braving threats, violence, and political inertia, their inspiring story is a wake up call about the need to address the growing worldwide issue of people barely eking out a life on the physical margins of society. Winner of festival prizes at the Brooklyn, Durban, and Movies That Matter Film Festivals. (Screened with Jonah)
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Deep Down (2010 - Work-in-Progress)

Jen Gilomen and Sally Rubin (~60 min., color, DV Cam, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 7:00 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Deep DownAppalachian Mountain coal today provides 35 percent of America's electricity - in 20 years this figure is expected to double. Deep Down explores the implications of this reliance on coal and the impacts across Appalachian communities that are literally being split apart by mountaintop mining, as well as impacts in communities reliant upon coal-fired power plants. As the effects of this coal dependence spread across our land and atmosphere, it is time to reconnect the disparate human stories of impact, use, and extraction that are all too often forgotten in debates over this precious resource. In Deep Down we see the poignant tale of two old friends in Maytown, Kentucky both ambivalent about plans for a new mountaintop strip mine and unsure whether to sell out to the mining officials. Is staying and living right next to teeth jarring dynamite explosions really better than moving away? What happens to their friendship, to their community, if they stay? What happens if they go? Deep down, the divides over this issue are more personal and emotional than just a question of coal. Filmmakers were in attendance.
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Detroit Wild City (2010)

Florent Tillon (80 min., color, DVD, France/US)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 9 p.m.

Monona Terrace

Detroit Wild City screenshotBrothers on the Line shows Detroit as it was. Detroit Wild City tries to discover what the city is today and is becoming. The traditional narrative is that Detroit is a landscape full of abandoned buildings and increasingly devoid of people. But Tillon's stunningly photographed "tone piece" offers a more nuanced portrait. True, parts of the landscape are "re-wilding," being taken over by urban nature. But small groups of Detroit residents and new "urban pioneers" here and there are also transforming the city's landscape bit by bit into new spaces. Detroit's future is far from pre-determined; the only thing certain is that it won't ultimately be the product of a singular grand vision, as the many ghosts of past grand schemes haunting the landscape can attest to. An official selection at more than 25 film festivals on five different continents! (Screened with Graffitiger)
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Divine Pig (2010)

Hans Dortmans (60 min., color, Digibeta, The Netherlands/US, In Dutch with English subtitles)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Divine Pig screenshotGerard Zwetsloot is a free-range butcher with a not-so-small problem -- Dorus. Zwetsloot's pet pig is living the good life, with walks in the park and local celebrity status. But as Zwetsloot bonds with his growing pig, he confronts the problem of whether or not he'll eventually be able to butcher his animal companion. He's had this problem before and some of his earlier swine ended up at "pig sanctuaries" to live out their days. How can someone be a butcher for a living and yet selectively choose not to kill certain animals? How does anyone decide which animals we classify as food and which as friends? Will Dorus end up on the plate or in the barnyard? Dortmans' tender and thought-provoking film offers us reasons to believe that either ending is not without its issues. Film was followed by a panel discussion on human-animal relations.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Drifters (1929)

John Grierson (49 min., b&w, Blu-Ray, U.K.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

UW Cinematheque

Drifters screenshotA landmark film from the father of the British documentary movement, in many ways Drifters was the first modern British documentary feature film. Training his lens on a disappearing traditional method of herring fishing in the British North Sea, Grierson's portrait of the hard life of a commercial fisherman makes for an interesting pairing with a more recent film examining the same livelihood some 85 years later. (Screened with Leviathan)

A Drop of Life (2007)

Shalini Kantayya (17 min., color, BetaSP, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:45 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

A Drop of LifeSet in the near future, A Drop of Life is the story of two women – a teacher in a rural Indian village and an African American corporate executive, whose lives intersect as they both confront a lack of access to clean drinking water. Mirabai, the teacher, notices that since a privatized well has come to her village the number of children getting sick has dramatically increased. Nia, the executive, wants nothing more than to prove to her investors that this pilot project is profitable and safe. Ultimately, each woman will have to make the choices that serve her best - their own lives may depend on it. This science fiction film raises global questions about the impact of water privatization. A winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water film competition, director Shalini Kantayya has used A Drop of Life as a teaching and advocacy tool worldwide to promote water conservation. (Screened with Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere)
Visit the film's official website

Duma (2005)

Carroll Ballard (100 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 5 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Duma screenshotBased on the book How It Was With Dooms: A True Story From Africa, this is the true story of a boy and his cheetah. Set in stunning locales in South Africa, this film takes us on a great adventure across the country as a young boy, Xan, seeks to return his cheetah friend, Duma, to his rightful home in the wild. Their bond of friendship is tested and proven unbreakable in this incredible journey.

Earth Days (2009)

Robert Stone (100 min., color, DV, US)

Thursday, April 2, 2009, 9:15pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Earth Days screenshotAcclaimed director (and UW–Madison graduate) Robert Stone traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s to its moment of triumph in 1970 with the original Earth Day, and to its status as a major political force in America. Drawing heavily on eyewitness testimony and a wealth of never-before-seen archival footage, Stone examines the revolutionary achievements—and missed opportunities—of a decade of groundbreaking activism. The result is both a poetic meditation on man's complex relationship with nature and a probing analysis of past responses to environmental crisis. The interviewees represent a diverse cross section of American life and politics. Among them are former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, renewable energy pioneer Hunter Lovins, biologist Paul Ehrlich, former Republican congressman Pete McCloskey, Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, and Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Each reflects on their personal awakening to an environmental crisis, and the unprecedented movement that grew out of their response to that crisis. Mark Samels, executive producer for this film for PBS' "American Experience," is also a UW–Madison graduate. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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Easy Like Water (2010 - Work-in-Progress)

Glenn Baker (~15 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Easy Like WaterThis is one of a series of clips from works-in-progress that Tales from Planet Earth screened as a group along with a panel discussing the alarming phenomenon of climate change refugees. In Bangla, "Easy like water" translates roughly as "piece of cake." The irony is that in Bangladesh - with a population half that of the U.S. crammed into the equivalent of Iowa, hovering at sea level and comprised of a massive river delta downstream from the Himalayas - water poses a relentless threat. Climate change is leading to increasing flooding, with estimates that flooding will cover 20% of Bangladesh by 2030, creating more than 20 million "climate refugees." So Mohammed Rezwan, an architect by training, has conjured up the equivalent of environmental Jujitsu, harnessing the power of water to educate and unify the community. Since the increasing flooding means many children can't get to schools, he decided to bring the schools to the children - using a fleet of solar-powered, internet-enabled school boats to provide education to impoverished Bangladeshis, including many girls who have never had access to school before. An uplifting and important film, Easy Like Water reminds you that every crisis also is an opportunity to take action. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Sun Come Up and In the Footsteps of Elephants)
Visit the film's official website

Emily Hubley Retrospective and Animating Science

Emily Hubley, with Judith Helfand, Alex Rivera, Ian Cheney and Shawn Rosenheim (90 min.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Emily Hubley RetrospectiveHow do filmmakers translate complex scientific and technical ideas into easy-to-grasp, compelling cinema? Increasingly, they are turning to the work of talented animators like Emily Hubley (Blue Vinyl, What's on Your Plate?, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Toe Tactic), who can use a more artistic and free-form approach than is possible in pure narration or scientific charts and graphs. In a freewheeling conversation, filmmakers Judith Helfand, Alex Rivera, Ian Cheney, and Shawn Rosenheim joined Hubley in discussing the promises and pitfalls of animating science and how to reach the public when your subject starts to turn complex. As part of the discussion, Hubley showcased the work of her parents, John and Faith Hubley, who for decades provided some of the most beautiful, award-winning, and compelling environmental-themed animation anywhere. (Retrospective screened: Second Chance: Sea, Whither Weather, and Children of the Sun)

Everybody's Nuts (2010)

Fabian Euresti (13 min., color, DVD, US, In Spanish with English subtitles)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Semper Fi screenshotFabian Euresti's intensely personal film documents his family's home in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The valley is home to two things, agriculture and oil -- and its contaminated groundwater is a powerful reminder of how the two frequently come into conflict with each other. In this intimate photoessay, Euresti considers the choices his parents have made, working the fields of California's agricultural landscapes, and the sacrifices that these choices entail. An official selection of the Full Frame and Los Angeles Film Festivals. (Screened with American Water, Bee, That Which Once Was, and La Maison en Petits Cubes)

Everything's Cool (2007)

Daniel Gold and Judith Helfand (110 min., color, DVCam, US)

Friday, November 2, 2007, 7:45 pm

Orpheum Theater

Movie poster for Everything's CoolIn their signature upbeat comedic style, Daniel Gold and Judith Helfand weave an entertaining, character-driven tale about the mother of all problems: global warming. The film explores whether North America is finally "getting" global warming in the wake of the most dangerous chasm ever to emerge between scientific understanding and political action. In their own ironic and desperate way these "so-sad-they-are-funny"-vignettes of apathy, frustration and individual activism might very well be the thing that finally speaks to the public. In a society numbed by frequent and generally overblown prophecies of doom, the film tackles the truly daunting task of enlightenment and inspiration for action with wit and style. (Description adapted from the Sundance Film Festival)
Visit the film's official website

Expedition to the End of the World (2013)

Daniel Dancik (89 min., color, Blu-Ray, Sweden/Denmark, In Danish and Swedish with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Expedition to the End of the World screenshotA three-mast schooner packed with artists, scientists and ambitions worthy of Noah or Columbus sets off for the end of the world: its destination is the rapidly melting massifs of North-East Greenland. So begins an epic journey where the sailors on board encounter polar bear nightmares, Stone Age playgrounds, and entirely new species. But in their encounter with new, unknown parts of the world, the crew also confront existential questions of life. Curiosity, grand pathos, and a dose of humour come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity. Visually stunning and quietly meditative, Expedition to the End of the World eschews simplistic notions of time and change and gets at something much deeper. Official selection of the Göteborg, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, L.A., and Silverdocs Film Festivals. (Screened with Das Rad)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Fallen City (2012)

Zhao Qi (90 min., color, HD Cam, China)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Home Turf screenshotThe 2008 earthquake that devastated central China did more than kill many people, although it certainly did that. It also destroyed the fabric of communities for the survivors. In this intimate portrait, Zhao Qi follows three survivors of the earthquake from the mountain town of Beichuan, which lost 20,000 residents and was so totaled that the Chinese government decided to build a brand new city for the survivors rather than rebuild the old. There are the Pengs, a couple in their 30s who lost their 11 year-old daughter and are now too devastated to even think about having another child. There is Hong, a teenager struggling in school and struggling in life as he tries to build a relationship with a stepfather and bemoans the loss of his own father. And then there is Mrs. Li, who must care for her paralyzed mother while also trying to help rehouse her neighbors in her role as a community organizer. A powerful look at disaster and survival and at the powerful social forces shaping 21st century China. Official selection of Sundance, Cleveland, and LA Asian Pacific Film Festivals.
View the film's official trailer

Filmmaker Panel -- The New Green Wave: A Conversation on Film and Environmental Change

(90 min.)

Saturday, March 31, 2012, 10:30 a.m.

Monona Terrace, Ballroom A

Gregg MitmanOver the last decade, a proliferation of environmental documentaries, film festivals, green cable channels, and the possibilities opened up by the internet has brought a diversity of storytelling approaches and engagement strategies in harnessing the power of film as a force of environmental and social change. This panel invited three of today's leading environmental filmmakers -- Judith Helfand, Alex Rivera, and Ian Cheney -- whose work connects deeply to issues in environmental history to discuss their work and the current state and future direction of environmental film. As more and more environmental historians integrate film into their courses and class assignments, what are the possibilities and constraints of digital storytelling for challenging us to see the environment in new and surprising ways, inspiring action and hope on a planet, beautiful in its diversity of life, but also troubled by unprecedented environmental change and injustice? Moderating the panel was Gregg Mitman, interim director of the Nelson Institute and the creator of Tales from Planet Earth.

Fire, Burn, Babylon (2010)

Sarita Siegel (53 min., color, DVD, UK)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 7:30pm and Sunday, April 3, 2011, 1:45pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Chazen Museum of Art

The Rastafarian rappers from the film Fire, Burn, Babylon"Now how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?" This lyric from the reggae song "Rivers of Babylon" captures the idea animating Fire, Burn, Babylon. What happens to "strangers in a strange land"? Is home a place or a state of mind? In July 1995, the eruption of a previously dormant volcano on the island of Montserrat destroyed the capital city of Plymouth and forced two-thirds of the population, some 8,000 people, to become refugees. Today, many members of its Rastafarian culture have taken up residence in a modern Babylon – London, England – while longingly trying to retain cultural ties to their island home, their Zion. An inquiry into the transformation of culture after environmental disruption, this film (first seen as a rough cut at the 2007 Tales from Planet Earth) follows three Rastas – I-Shaka, Lyndon White, and Elroy Meade – who have abandoned their spiritual retreat in the foothills of Montserrat and reinvented themselves as "rude-boy" rappers and small time hustlers on the East End nightclub circuit. Will their dreams of celebrity be realized before the law catches up with them? What happens when the birth of their children to British "baby-mothers" introduces a conflicting set of values in their lives? What happens when the three friends start to have different visions of their futures? Will they fall for the thrills of Babylon or recommit to their Rastafari ideals? Winner, Bronze Palm, Mexico International Film Festival; Honorable Mention Best Documentary, CommFest. (Screened with The Split Horn and Sun Come Up respectively).
Visit the film's official website

Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (2006)

Randy Olson (84 min., color, DVCam, US)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 11:00am

Orpheum Theater

Movie poster for Flock of DodosFlock of Dodos is the first feature documentary to present both sides of the Intelligent Design/Evolution clash that appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek in 2005. Filmmaker and former evolutionary ecologist Dr. Randy Olson tries to make sense of the debate by visiting his home state of Kansas. At first it seems the problem lies with intelligent design – a movement labeled recently as "breathtaking inanity" by a federal judge – but when a group of evolutionists convene for a night of poker and discussion they end up sounding themselves like … a flock of dodos.
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Fly Away Home (1996)

Carroll Ballard (107 min., color, 35mm, US)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Fly Away Home screenshotThomas Alden (Jeff Daniels) and his daughter, Amy (Anna Paquin) can't seem to get along. But when thirteen-year-old Amy takes on the responsibility of raising abandoned goslings, relations improve between Amy and her father. After the geese imprint on Amy, Thomas and Amy must teach the geese to migrate. The airborne adventurers rediscover their love for one another while overcoming a host of pitfalls and arriving safely at the geese's winter home in this touching family adventure. Loosely based on a true story, the beautifully filmed movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Food, Inc. (2008)

Robert Kenner (93 min., color, 35mm, US)

Friday, April 3, 2009, 9:45pm

Orpheum Theater

Food Inc. screenshotIn Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner (Two Days in October) lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e. coli, the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising truths about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation, and where we are going from here. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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Food Patriots (2012 - Work-in-Progress)

Jeff Spitz (~20 min., color, DVD, US)/120 min.

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 5 p.m.

Growing Power Madison Offices -- 2520 Rimrock Road

Food Patriots screenshotJeff Spitz has always been a filmmaker committed to converting films into action. His documentary The Return of Navajo Boy (screened at Tales from Planet Earth 2007) resulted in the first ever EPA cleanup of a Cold War uranium mine on Native American land. Now his target is our nation's food system. His goal? To get audiences to rethink 10% of their food choices -- 10% more local food, 10% more organics, and 10% more fresh vegetables. Making these changes means getting involved and asking questions of the massive agribusiness industry that most Americans tacitly just accept. But as Spitz puts it: "It's never rude to ask about food!" And his work-in-progress film reveals that some of the most pioneering and innovative questioners of the American food system are found right here in Wisconsin! Filmmaker was in attendance and screening was followed by Q+A and dinner.
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View the film's official trailer

From Frozen Toes to Happy Feet: The Truth About Penguins

Lloyd Spencer Davis

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 11:00 am

Orpheum Theater

PenguinsPenguins are arguably the world's most loved animals. From documentaries like March of the Penguins to animated feature films like Happy Feet, penguins have proven to be the kings of the box office. And the impression given of penguins is typically the same: they are caring partners and loving parents; they are cute comic clowns. But, as filmmaker and penguin expert, Lloyd Spencer Davis, shows: the persona of penguins portrayed on the screen bears little resemblance to the real thing. Penguins are tough not cute - more brutal thugs than Barbie substitutes. Neither are they the paragons of virtue that a particular film would have us believe: it is not so much that "love will find a way" than it is their sheer determination to have sex with anything that moves. Actually, when you put it like that, maybe they are like movie stars?

Garbage Dreams (2009)

Mai Iskander (82 min., color, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 1:30 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Garbarge DreamsGarbage Dreams is the story of the zaballeen, some 60,000 people at the bottom of Egyptian society, who nevertheless are indispensable to the functioning of Cairo, as they daily collect and recycle 80 percent of Cairo's garbage. But globalization is threatening their way of life, as foreign companies (far more concerned with revenues than recycling) are taking their garbage from them. As the world around them changes, three teenage boys - Adham, Osama, and Nabil - must navigate their uncertain futures, as they dream of a better life and try to do right by their families. Winner of the Al Gore Reel Current Prize for important current environmental film.
Visit the film's official website

Garbage Warrior (2007)

Oliver Hodge (86 mins., color, 35mm, UK)

Saturday, April 5, 2008, 3:45pm and Sunday, April 6, 2008, 8:00pm

Majestic Theater

Garbarge Warrior screenshotOn a broad slope of land outside Taos, New Mexico, Mike Reynolds has been building Earthship homes for years. Trained as an architect, he has continued to experiment with recycled or sustainable materials, incoporating beer cans, plastic soda bottles, and cast-off tires into his constructions. Half the pleasure of the film is exploring the inventive building systems that combine solar panels and self-contained waste disposal pots with freaky fun shapes and surfaces. The other half is following Mike through the trouble that starts brewing when local officials start busting him for building off the grid — but that’s the whole point!, he fumes — and he takes his case to the State Legislature. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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Ghost Bird (2009)

Scott Crocker (85 min., color, BetaSP, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 2:00 pm

UW Cinematheque

Ghost BirdFor decades, the citizens of Brinkley, Arkansas have believed that the giant ivory-billed woodpecker still exists in their neighboring swamps, despite no official sightings of the bird anywhere in 60 years. When scientists recently announced that the bird had been found, the news was celebrated around the world as the rediscovery of a lifetime. Since then, however, no one has replicated the new official sighting, despite millions of dollars in federal funds being diverted from other endangered species projects to focus on this elusive (maybe illusive?) species. What explains the draw of this bird? What can efforts to save it tell us about how we commidify and view endangered species as a resource over which to battle? Ghost Bird, a spirited look at all these issues, was an official selection of the 2009 Hot Docs Film Festival. Filmmaker was in attendance.
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Graffitiger (2011)

Libor Pixa (9 min., color, DVD, Czech Republic)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 9 p.m.

Monona Terrace

Graffitiger screenshotThe next time you're walking around your neighborhood keep your eyes open -- tigers may be on the prowl! Libor Pixa's innovative mix of live action scenes and animated characters brings to life the graffitied walls of the city and reminds us that encounters with wildlife take many forms in our modern urban landscapes. Nominated for the Best Foreign Student Film Academy Award. (Screened with Detroit Wild City)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

John Ford (128 min., b/w, 35mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 8:30 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The Grapes of WrathJohn Ford's adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes of Wrath remains a beloved classic of American cinema for good reason. Winner of Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, the film captured the palpable sense of loss and devastation created by the Dust Bowl in the 1930s for the poor farmers and migrant laborers also coping with the Great Depression. The trials of the Joad family, having lost their farm, were familiar tales for many in the long line of "Okies" who left the Dust Bowl in search of of work, any work, in California and found only hard labor and falling wages. Their struggle to retain life and dignity is a moving story told with tremendous power and conviction. The Dust Bowl stands as one of the worst natural disasters in history, forever stripping away untold tons of fertile topsoil and permanently remaking the economies and landscapes of large swaths of the United States. As our global economy once again is rocked to its core and as we face the prospect of new disruptive and large-scale climatic upheavals, The Grapes of Wrath's themes turn out to be eerily familiar and prescient.

The Greening of Southie (2008)

Ian Cheney (73 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, April 5, 2009, 1:30pm and Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

The Greening of SouthieIan Cheney and Curt Ellis created one of the most engaging environmental documentaries in years with their 2007 triumph King Corn about the environmental ramifications of America's agribusiness system. Now they are turning to the question of environmental impacts of construction with The Greening of Southie, the story of the construction of a green-certified building on the south side of Boston. Funny and poignant, the film follows the construction workers accustomed to decades of standard construction practices and now suddenly confronted with the "building of tomorrow" and all the unique challenges it brings. One of the more popular screenings at the 2009 Wisconsin Film Festival, we are bringing this film back by popular demand! Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with 2200 Degrees)
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Guanape Sur (2010)

János Richter (27 min., color, Digibeta, Italy, In Spanish with English subtitles)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Guanape Sur screenshotOffshore of Peru, sits the island Guanape Sur. Most years its population totals: Humans - 2, Birds - 100,000. But every 11th year, the government allows 200 men to harvest the ground out from under the birds -- the ground created by the birds themselves. Guano is a prized source of natural fertilizer worldwide; but mining it requires backbreaking labor and dedication. Such is the need for work and income in Peru, though, that each time the guano mining opens hundreds turn up to apply for the jobs. A quiet and beautifully-filmed portrait of people and animals involved in an unusual landscape of labor. An official selection of the Hot Docs, Silver Docs, and London Internatlonal Documentary Film Festivals. (Screened with Salt of the Earth )

Happy (2011)

Roko Belic (78 min., color, US)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 7:15 p.m.

Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery

HAPPY screenshotFrom the Academy Award-nominated director Roko Belic (Genghis Blues) comes a new cinematic adventure. HAPPY is a feature-length documentary that leads viewers on a journey across five continents in search of the keys to happiness. The film addresses many of the fundamental issues we face in today's society: how do we balance the allure of money, fame and social status with our needs for strong relationships, health and personal fulfillment? HAPPY takes the viewer from the bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil to the mountains of Bhutan. Listen to the wisdom of a Kolkata rickshaw driver, the compassion of a volunteer at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying and the knowledge of some of the world's leading happiness researchers. Witness as middle school students applaud the bravery of their classmates during a moving presentation on bullying. HAPPY combines real-life human drama and cutting-edge science to provide insights into the mysteries of happiness. Winner of best documentary awards at the Maui, Amsterdam, Telluride Mountain, Arizona, Mexico International, and RINCOM Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance.
Visit the film's official website

Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976)

Barbara Kopple (103 min., color, 35 mm, US)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 7:00 pm

UW Cinematheque

Movie poster for "Harlan County, U.S.A."Barbara Kopple's Academy Award–winning Harlan County, U.S.A. unflinchingly documents a grueling coal miners' strike in a small Kentucky town. With unprecedented access, Kopple and her crew captured the miners' sometimes violent struggles with strikebreakers, local police, and company thugs. Featuring a haunting soundtrack - with legendary country and bluegrass artists Hazel Dickens, Merle Travis, Sarah Gunning, and Florence Reece - the film is a heartbreaking record of the thirteen-month struggle between a community fighting to survive and a corporation dedicated to the bottom line. "A fascinating and moving work. Its strength lies chiefly in its ability to illuminate the peculiar frightfulness and valor of coal-mining" (New York Times).

Harvest of Shame (1960)

Fred W. Friendly (60 min., b/w, 16mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:15 pm

UW Cinematheque

Harvest of ShameAiring just after Thanksgiving in 1960, Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly's Harvest of Shame revealed the plight of migrant agricultural workers in Florida who helped to produce the bountiful harvests Americans had just finished celebrating. Murrow closed the film by noting: "Migrants have no lobby. Only an enlightened, aroused and perhaps angered public opinion can do anything about the migrants." Watching the film almost 50 years later, one doesn't know whether to admire the film's forward thinking about this issue or to be depressed that migrants continue to be disenfranchised and at the mercy of public opinion, even as they provide an ever-growing and vital link between the land and our dinner tables.

High Over the Borders (1942)

Raymond Spottiswoode (23 min., b/w, BetaSP, Canada)

Sunday, November 7, 2007, 7:00pm

Orpheum Theater

High Over the Borders screenshot: flying birdsHigh Over the Borders uses stunning aerial photography to document the international migration of thousands of wild birds of various species. Produced by the New York Zoological Society, in collaboration with the legendary documentary arm of the National Film Board of Canada and the U.S. Office of the Coordination of Inter-American Affairs, the film uses birds to promote Pan-Americanism and preach the moral value of nature's shared ownership. (Screened with The Three Caballeros)

Home Turf (2011)

Ross Whitaker (14 min., color, Digital File, Ireland)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Home Turf screenshot"An elegiac tribute to an Ireland rapidly disappearing" (Irish Independent), Home Turf is a charming vignette about the last remaining turf cutters in Ireland who still get together to cut their turf by hand. For hundreds of years, the Irish have turned to the soil underfoot -- the peat bogs -- for energy. But with the advent of mechanized harvesting, fewer and fewer men come back each summer to turn turf by hand and socialize together while gathering their winter's fuel. With beautiful cinematography and lively characters, this film is a true charmer! Official selection of the Hot Docs, Krakow, Silverdocs, Dublin, Flagstaff Mountain, and Edindocs Film Festivals. (Screened with Lessons of Darkness)
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View the film's official trailer

How I Ended This Summer (2010)

Aleksei Popogrebsky (130 min., color, Russia)

Friday, April 1, 2011, 5:00pm and Sunday, April 3, 2011, 7:00pm

Stage Door Theater

A screenshot from the film How I Ended This SummerA suspenseful tale of paranoia and survival, How I Ended This Summer is set on an barren and isolated island in the Arctic Ocean, where its only inhabitants are Sergei, a gruff and experienced meteorologist, and his just-out-of-school intern Pavel. The two men work at a small meteorological station where they take readings from their radioactive surroundings and periodically report back to the mainland. One day when Sergei is out, Pavel receives some grim news about Sergei's family, but is, for some reason, unable to communicate it. As the secret slowly drives Pavel into madness, the landscape around them becomes more than an object of study, it is a formidable opponent that puts both men at peril. Hailed by the New York Times as "a gripping survival drama [and] a merciless contemplation of the fragile human psyche under siege," the film won multiple awards at last year's Berlin International Film Festival, including Best Actor, shared by its stars Dobrygin and Puskepalis, and Outstanding Artistic Contribution for its breathtaking cinematography. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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How the Myth Was Made (1978)

George Stoney (60 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 3:30 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

How the Myth Was MadeSome 40 years after the release of Robert Flaherty's classic Man of Aran, director George Stoney returned to the Aran Islands to see the aftermath of the original film and how it had changed the lives of the people living there. What he found in How the Myth Was Made was that the enduring appeal of Man of Aran had shifted the islands' primary economic activity from fishing to movie-based tourism. He also found some of the surviving actors from the original film, many of whom had become locked into characters and landscapes artificially held static to satisfy the demands of Aran-inspired tourists. One of two George Stoney films featured in the festival (see also Planning for Floods), this is a fascinating exploration of how cinema can create tangible impacts on people and environments. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Man of Aran)

The Hunger Season (2008)

Beadie Finzi (60 min., color, DV, UK and US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 1:00 pm

First United Methodist Church

The Hunger SeasonWhen watching news about famines and starving people in foreign countries, we often feel removed from the problem, even as we express pity and regret. Beadie Finzi's The Hunger Season shatters our illusions of distance, however, revealing the complex interconnections between global economic systems, the hunger for new biofuel sources of energy, global climate change, political unrest, and resulting devastation of drought and famine for millions of people around the world. Tracing the journey of food aid from the fields of Wisconsin farmers to USAID and finally to Swaziland, where Justice, a village leader, struggles to feed his neighbors, Finzi brings home our role in hunger crises and also our ability to help avert such problems. After the film there was a special meal that profiled a new national engagement project built around the film, called "Meal & A Movie in a Box," which was designed through Tales from Planet Earth's pilot screening of the film in October 2008.
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If a Tree Falls (2011)

Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman (100 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 7 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

If a Tree Falls screenshotIf your ideals were continually dashed by the system, would you try to overthrow the system itself? Would you engage in criminal action? In December 2005, federal agents arrested Daniel McGowan in a nationwide sweep of members of the Earth Liberation Front -- a group the FBI labeled America's "number one domestic terrorism threat." Daniel is hardly your stereotype of a radical environmentalist - from Rockaway, Queens, he is a former business major and the son of a cop. Marshall Curry's Sundance-award winning film (filmed over several years while Daniel was on house arrest, awaiting trial under post-9/11 terrorism laws) weaves interviews with Daniel, his family, and co-defendants along with victims of their actions and the law enforcement agents who spent years tracking the group down. Curry attempts to determine how a mild-mannered environmentalist became convinced that furthering his ideals demanded acts of arson and sabotage. Is he a "terrorist" or merely a disillusioned criminal? This powerful film offers more questions than easy answers and humanizes - but does not exonerate - people whose passions have pushed them to challenge where the "wrong side of the law" falls. Winner of awards at the Sundance, Dallas, Nashville, and Flagstaff Mountain Film Festivals and nominated for a 2011 Writer's Guild Award and 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

In the Footsteps of Elephants (2011 - Work-in-Progress)

Sarita Siegel (~10 min., color, DV, US and UK)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

In the Footsteps of ElephantsThis is one of a series of clips from works-in-progress that Tales from Planet Earth screened as a group along with a panel discussing the alarming phenomenon of climate change refugees. Sarita Siegel's In the Footsteps of Elephants, co-produced by Tales creator Gregg Mitman, is the parallel story of two cultures who once lived together, now caught in conflict. Racked by one of the worst droughts in decades, the Turkana tribe in northern Kenya and Uganda have been forced from their traditional migratory pastoral lifestyle to a largely sedentary existence, farming on marginal lands. At the same time, the elephants of the area have seen their traditional migration routes closed off by human settlement and their cultures and social hierarchies decimated by the ivory trade and conflict with their human neighbors. This film chronicles the tensions and overlapping stories of these two cultures, both on the verge of extinction and both caught in much larger webs of climate change, global trade, and war. In the end, where once the Turkana people migrated in the footsteps of elephants now both elephants and humans will have to find new ways of living together on a changing planet. Co-Producer Gregg Mitman was in attendance. (Screened with Sun Come Up and Easy Like Water)

Ingredients (2009)

Robert Bates (67 min., color, US)

Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Poster of film IngredientsAmerican food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. A feature-length documentary film, Ingredients explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. With questions of food safety, accessibility, cost, and health at the forefront, the film reveals that seasonal food grown close to home provides consumers with a sense of security and connection as they develop relationships with the people who grow and prepare their food. The primary sponsor of the screening was F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture.(Description developed by F.H. King).
Visit film's official website

An Injury to One (2002)

Travis Wilkerson (53 min., color, 16mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 7:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

An Injury to OneAn Injury to One is one of the most stylistically innovative documentaries in years, with Travis Wilkerson weaving together a film noir tale about labor unrest in the early 1900s in Butte, Montana's copper mines. Ultimately, the murder of mining labor activist Frank Little, still unsolved, has had ramifications that persist to this day. An Injury to One examines the many impacts of this unrest – from inspiring famed mystery writer Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest (with Hammett rumored to have been complicit in the murder as a former Pinkerton detective, no less!) to the ongoing environmental issues of copper mining and the leftover toxic Superfund lake that still sits atop Butte's mine. Trust us, this film is not to be missed.

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (2010)

Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro (54 min., color, Digibetacam, Canada, In Inuit with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change screenshot"Today's there plenty and tomorrow they're gone." While this bit of Inuit wisdom refers to the transience of wildlife, it could also be said to apply to the Arctic generally. In a region being transformed faster than any other in the world due to global warming, the Inuit are on the frontlines of a changing climate. Seeking to tap into this local knowledge, Kunuk and Mauro interview dozens of Inuit elders who remember how the Arctic used to be decades ago, drawing on their memories of daily environmental observations to learn changes in wind patterns, ice levels, seal blubber, glaciation, and more. Southerners (all the rest of us) try to divide the world by boundaries, but the Inuit see it all as one. And yet because climate change respects no boundaries, it is the Inuit who may be suffering the most from Southerners' choices. An important conversation about place, climate, past, present, and future.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Jonah (2012)

Kibwe Tavaris (17 min., color, DVD, U.K./Tanzania)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:15 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Jonah screenshotMbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. Living in a sleepy fishing village on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, the two's hopes for the future are turned upside down when a chance snapshot captures a mythic big fish leaping out of the water. From there, the life of their community transforms, rapidly turning into a upscale tourist destination for seekers of the fish, an economic boon for all. But at what cost? Sometimes getting what you want doesn't lead to happily ever after! When an elderly Mbwana meets the fish again -- both of them now forgotten, ruined and old -- he decides only one of them can survive. (Screened with Dear Mandela)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Keynote: The Economy for the Next Seven Generations

Winona LaDuke (45 min.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 1:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Winona LaDukeWinona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party. As Program Director of the Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. In her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader in the issues of culturally based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. (Keynote followed by a screening of Lighting the Seventh Fire and a panel on native peoples' resource issues)

Keynote: Green the Ghetto and How Much It Won't Cost Us

Majora Carter (45 min.)

Friday, November 6, 2009, 7:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Majora CarterCarter is a MacArthur "genius grant" recipient and the founder of Sustainable South Bronx, a pioneering green-collar job training and placement system in one of the most environmentally and economically challenged parts of the US. She is also a co-host of the Sundance Channel's The Green and the public radio series "The Promised Land." Passionate, inspiring, and one of the most innovative thinkers about how to expand the environmental movement to encompass urban peoples and issues, more than 1,000 audience-goers joined Carter for a highly fitting start to a festival on the broad theme of Justice! (Keynote followed by a screening of Trouble the Water)

Keynote: The Nature of Hope

Bill McKibben (60 min.)

Friday, November 2, 2007, 7 p.m.

Orpheum Theater

Bill McKibben portraitTo kick off our first festival, Bill McKibben, "The Poet Laureate of Global Warming," delivered a keynote address entitled "The Nature of Hope." McKibben literally wrote the book on global warming when he published The End of Nature in 1987. In his keynote, he explained that the natural world is in considerable disrepair, which some have labeled terminal. If there is to be hope, it rests only in action. (Keynote followed by a screening of Everything's Cool)

Keynote: Rebuild the Dream -- The Next American Economy

Van Jones (60 min.)

Monday, March 26, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Barrymore Theatre

Van Jones portraitNamed one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2009, Van Jones has more than two decades of experience as a pioneering advocate for both human rights and the "green economy." Focused on the promise of a clean energy industry to provide meaningful jobs to the American labor force while also addressing many of our world's most intractable environmental challenges, Jones is a co-founder of three successful nonprofit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. He also holds an appointment as a distinguished visiting fellow at Princeton University and served as a green jobs advisor to President Obama. Jones is a dynamic and engaging speaker and his talk offered a galvanizing keynote to our festival, reminding audiences of the need to keep hope alive in engaging with important social issues like the future of green energy.
Visit Van Jones' official website

The Last Menominee (1959)/Indigenous Media Workshop

Stuart Hanisch (30 min., b&w, DVD, US)/90 min.

Friday, March 30, 2012, 10:30 a.m.

Monona Terrace, Hall of Ideas E

The Last Menominee screenshotPrior to termination, the Menominee Nation was considered the second wealthiest of all American Indian tribes. Since termination, Menominee County has consistently been Wisconsin's poorest county. How did this switch occur? In 1954, the members of the Menominee Nation voted to terminate their reservation status -- and all the benefits (and limitations) it offered -- in return for a per person payment of $1500. The payment had originally been offered no-strings-attached as the federal government's restitution for its mismanagement of Menominee timber rights during the 1930s. But Utah Senator Arthur Watkins added an amendment to the payment bill requiring that a Menominee vote to accept the payments equal a vote for termination. This film is an important historical document about this significant chapter in Wisconsin history, offering many firsthand interviews with Menominee Nation members and their neighbors, as they reflect five years after termination on its meaning and impact for the Nation, its culture, economy, and future. (Screened as part of an Indigenous Media Workshop at the ASEH Conference -- free and open to the public). See the ASEH conference schedule for more details about this program.

Lessons of Darkness (1992)

Werner Herzog (54 min., color, France/U.K./Germany, 35mm, In English, Arabic, and German with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 2 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Lessons of Darkness screenshotFeeling like a fever dream version of Disney's Fantasia crossed with an IMAX film's aerial footage, Lessons of Darkness is Herzog's haunting tour of the Hades-like landscapes of destruction in Kuwait created by Saddam Hussein's invasion and the first Gulf War. The film features many long unnarrated stretches where miles of devastation unfold beneath the aerial camera, but the true enviromental and personal costs of war are never felt quite as keenly as during the few segments where Herzog alights to earth and spends time with the people amidst the wreckage. In these quiet scenes with survivors of torture and firefighters covered in oil, the full horror of war is captured in a way few other films have managed to convey. One of two films screened at Tales as part of a retrospective of master German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with Cave of Forgotten Dreams. (Screened with Home Turf)

Leviathan (2012)

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (87 min., color, Blu-Ray, France/U.K./U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

UW Cinematheque

Leviathan screenshotLucien Castaing-Taylor has been hailed as one of the most innovative documentary filmmakers working today and is fast becoming a Madison favorite. Previous screenings of his films -- Sweetgrass (2009) and Leviathan (2012) -- have sold out at the Wisconsin Film Festival. So popular was Leviathan that we decided to bring it back once more, this time with the added benefit of Castaing-Taylor's presence. Leviathan is unlike any film you've ever seen -- a lush immersion in the sights, sounds, and sensations of life aboard a New England commercial fishing boat. Lacking a traditional narrative structure, the film nevertheless gets under your skin as you discover for yourself the hardships of this vocation. Official selection of over 25 international film festivals! Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Drifters)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Life Size Memories (2011)

Klaus Reisinger & Frédérique Lengaigne (120 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 3 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Life Size Memories screenshotToo often we view wild animals as generic representatives of their species. But Life Size Memories attempts to change all that, discovering individual beings that stand out on their own terms. The film follows as two experienced war photojournalists train their lenses on captive elephants in war zones across southeast Asia to create life-sized photographic portraits of these individuals. What do these portraits augur for the fate of the elephant? Reisinger and Lengaigne's beautiful film travels to four different nations to find a complicated answer -- that regional variations in both human and elephant cultures will ultimately determine which individuals live and which become mere faded memories.
Visit the film's official website

Lighting the Seventh Fire (1995)

Sandra Osawa (48 min., color, DV Cam, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Lighting the Seventh FireBringing Tales from Planet Earth's global explorations home to Wisconsin, Lighting the Seventh Fire takes up the issue of the Chippewa Indians' struggle to revive traditional methods of spearfishing against fierce oppposition from other Wisconsin residents fearful of the loss of the walleye resource. Director Sandra Osawa reveals how a seemingly simple question of "resource management" is intertwined with issues of racism, historical obligations of treaty rights, and how people choose to define natural "resources." Behind it all, she explains the Chippewa prophecy of the seven fires that encompass seven eras of time for the Chippewa people. Still to come is the time of the seventh fire, when the Chippewa's lost traditions will be restored. (Preceding the film was Winona LaDuke's keynote and following the film was a panel discussing resource issues.)

Locomotion in Water (2005)

Hanna Rose Shell (13 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 11:00 am

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Movie poster for The Silent World: underwater sceneLocomotion in Water is an experimental documentary about seeing movement, doing science, and filming fish in Naples, Italy. Moving between past and present, text and image, travelogue and reverie — Locomotion in Water interweaves the reflections of the nineteenth-century chronophotographer with the animating impulses of a modern-day filmmaker. (Screened with The Silent World)

Losers and Winners (2006)

Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken (96 min., color, DVD, Germany)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 3:45 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Losers and WinnersAn official selection of over 30 film festivals and winner of numerous documentary film awards, Losers and Winners faithfully recounts the dismantling of a steel coke plant in the heart of Germany's Ruhr Valley for relocation to China. The simultaneous slowdown of European industry and explosion of the Chinese economic behemoth has transformed landscapes of labor around the globe and, in this case, led to the transplanting of what was once the world's most sophisticated coke plant after only eight years of operation at its original site in Germany. In the race to relocate the plant quickly, the new owners bring hundreds of Chinese workers to Germany, creating a clash of cultures as each country's workers view the demolition of a manufactured landscape with opposing feelings of optimism, despair, alienation and understanding. (Screened with Solitary Life of Cranes)
Visit the film's official website

Louisiana Story (1948)

Robert Flaherty (78 min., b&w, DVD, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Louisiana Story screenshotA charming tale of a young boy living in the Louisiana bayous, Flaherty's Louisiana Story is another in his tradition of "docudramas" -- ethnographic re-enactments that try to capture the life and times of a particular place and community. In this case, he is training his lens on then-contemporary Louisiana and the transformations that were starting to appear in Cajun country as a result of the arrival of the oil industry. A true classic! (Screened with Sweet Crude Man Camp)

La Maison en Petits Cubes (The House of Small Cubes) (2008)

Kunio Kato (12 min., color, Digibeta, France/Japan)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

The House of Small Cubes screenshotA lost pipe. A house flooded by global warming. Loneliness and longing in old age. This Academy Award-winning wordless short is a beautiful portrait of love and memory set against a backdrop of climate change. Like the beginning of the Pixar hit Up, this film observes more truths about life and memory in a few minutes than most films achieve in hours of screentime. (Screened with American Water, Bee, Everybody's Nuts, and That Which Once Was)

Man of Aran (1934)

Robert Flaherty (76 min., b/w, 35mm, UK)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 3:30 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Man of AranRobert Flaherty's classic Man of Aran set the standard for 1930s "docufiction" – ethnographic re-enactments that present the lives and labors of people remote from movie-going audiences. At the time, perhaps nowhere was more remote, and yet enticing, than the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland. Flaherty's romantic presentation of the hardscrabble conditions of a family of fishermen - presented only as a "Man of Aran," "His Wife," and "His Son" - as they go about their lives along the islands' cliffs proved so enticing that the film forever altered the lifestyles that were its subject, as it created a growing market for tourism to the islands. (Screened with How the Myth Was Made)

Manufactured Landscapes (2006)

Jennifer Baichwal (80 min., color, 35 mm, Canada)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 4:30 pm

UW Cinematheque

Manufactured Landscapes screenshot: people lined up before buildingsDirector Jennifer Baichwal captures the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky, who creates large-scale photographs of "manufactured landscapes" - quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. Baichwal extends the narrative streams of Burtynsky's photographs, allowing audiences to meditate on how profoundly humans have impacted the planet. It shows both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste. True to Burtynsky's refusal to be didactic, the film presents issues of complexity without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions.
Visit the film's official website

Megacities (1998)

Michael Glawogger (90 min., color, Germany, Blu-Ray, In Spanish, Russian, and Hindi with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Megacities screenshot A film about human beauty in 12 chapters. In this affecting documentary, Glawogger criss-crosses the globe, profiling people living on the margins of some of the world's biggest cities -- New York, Bombay, Mexico City, and Moscow -- and the determination and quiet dignity they instill into life, finding ways to survive and to carve out a place for themselves even in the most extreme circumstances. Filled with haunting imagery and memorable people, Megacities is not a film that is easily forgotten. Winner of prizes at the San Francisco International, São Paulo International, and Vancouver International Film Festivals. (Screened with Unravel)

Men of the Lake (Los Hombres del Lago) (2007)

Aaron I. Naar (12 min., b/w, DV Cam, Bolivia/US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 4:15 pm

UW Cinematheque

Men of the LakeThe Bolivian village of Fuñaca Tintamaria, founded in 2000 B.C., is one of the oldest and poorest communities in Latin America. The Uru-Muratos who live there are known as the "Men of the Lake" for their close relationship with Lake Poopó. As a result of their history of enslavement, the immigration of many other peoples to the lake, water contamination, and global warming, the historic livelihoods of these fishermen today is gravely threatened. An incredibly powerful short film, Aaron Naar's Los Hombres del Lago was an official selection of the 2008 Hot Docs film festival in Toronto. (Screened with Upstream Battle)
Visit the film's official website

Metamorphosen (2013)

Sebastian Mez (84 min., b&w, Germany, Blu-Ray, In Russian with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Metamorphosen screenshotIn the middle of nowhere in the southern Urals of Russia there occurred an explosion in 1957, now nearly unknown globally due to Soviet secrecy. The disaster remains -- along with Chernobyl and Fukushima -- one of the worst nuclear accidents in history. Today, the landscape remains charged with high levels of radiation -- not perceptible visually but very much evident in the bodies and social fabric of the remnant communities still surrounding the site. Mez trains his camera in haunting ways that make the landscape and people starkly come to life and starts to uncover the memories buried in this community. Official selection of the Berlin Film Festival. (Screened with The Bead Game)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Microcosmos: Le Peuple de l'Herbe (1996)

Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou (80 min., color, 35 mm, France)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 4:30 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Microcosmos screenshot: ants drinkingAn amazing and breathtakingly beautiful journey into the minute and intimate world of insect life, Microcosmos proves that, "Mother Nature remains the greatest special effects wizard of all" (New York Times). Using specially designed cameras and powerful magnifying lenses, biologists-turned-filmmakers Nuridsany and Pérennou delve into a simple French meadow and explore the fascinating everyday behavior of thousands of beetles, caterpillars, ants, and other insects in what they call, "a return to science-fiction movies, [with] the same exoticism, the same excitement in the face of the unknown." Winner of five César Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscar).

Milking the Rhino (2008)

David E. Simpson (83 min., color, DV Cam, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 11:00 am

UW Cinematheque

Milking the RhinoMilking the Rhino is one of the films we are most excited to be bringing to Tales from Planet Earth! The film is one of the first ever to consider wildlife conservation from the perspective of those who live in close promixity to animals, rather than the usual perspective of remote armchair conservationists who don't have to live with the consequences of firsthand interactions with wildlife. This powerful documentary profiles the lives of rural Africans in Kenya and Nambia who are choosing to participate in community-based conservation programs that empower them to have a positive stake in the future survival of wildlife and "milk the rhino" to get their fair share of ecotourism revenue. Putting people back into the frame of the wildlife documentary, this film serves as an important rebuke to most wildlife films that create imagined Edens where people don't exist and don't play any role in animals' lives. Film's associate producer was in attendance. (Screened with Wild New York)
Visit the film's official website

Mine (2009)

Geralyn Pezanoski (80 min., color, BetaSP, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 7:30 pm

UW Cinematheque

MineGeralyn Pezanoski's powerful first feature film shines a light on a forgotten class of Hurricane Katrina victim - the Gulf Coast region's pets (and their owners). The film ably documents the immediate aftermath of the storm that killed or stranded over 100,000 animals and the valiant rescue efforts by volunteers from around the country. But Mine doesn't stop there. Instead, it wades into far deeper and more emotionally charged terrain, following the months of suffering and struggle since 2005 - as pets that were rescued and sent to animal shelters around the country become legally adopted by new families, even as their former families continue to search for them. There are so many tales here so skillfully and emotionally told. Victor has been desperately searching for his dog Max. Tiffany is smitten with him and couldn't imagine giving him back after rescuing him. Whose dog is Max? Gloria refused to be evacuated without her dog Murphy until finally she was forced to leave Murphy behind by the National Guard. Should she not be able to get her dog back now? Through it all hangs questions about what it means for an animal to "belong" to someone, what rights are animals entitled to, and why our relationships to animals are so powerful and yet so convoluted. A heartbreaking and powerful film, Mine clearly demonstrates how some of the greatest tragedies often emerge in the absence of villains and the presence only of good intentions and how often the simplest desire to love another being can be fraught with enormous obstacles. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 SXSW Festival in Austin. Filmmaker was in attendance.
Visit the film's official website

Modern Times (1936)

Charlie Chaplin (87 min., b&w, 35mm, US)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 8 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Modern Times screenshotArguably, Chaplin's greatest film (along with City Lights), Modern Times is a stunning satire of the working life and landscapes of labor (and lack of labor) so many Americans endured during the Great Depression. Both laugh-out-loud-funny and tear-jerking, this was Chaplin's final "Little Tramp" film and the first since the total ascendence of talking pictures. Yet despite being a "sound" picture it is not a talking picture. Indeed, the only sounds aside from music on the soundtrack are those that emit from machines -- a commentary on the dehumanizing landscape of the working man. If you haven't yet seen this classic, you simply must, if only to consider how our landscapes of labor have changed so much in the last 75 years. (Screened with Three Walls)

Mushrooms of Concrete (2010)

Martijn Payens (23 min., color, Digibeta, Netherlands, In Dutch with English subtitles)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 12 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Mushrooms of Concrete screenshotTake the Cold War, a paranoid dictator, and an isolated nation and you get: Albania. For more than 40 years, Albanian Communist Party Chief Enver Hoxha ran the nation into the ground, literally. Consumed with fear of attack, he forced Albanians to dig more than 750,000 concrete bunkers in a country less than half the size of Wisconsin. Today these bunkers litter the landscape -- a bitter reminder of past sacrifices for one generation, but potential sites of opportunity for a younger, enterprising generation. A fascinating portrait of a country little-known in the U.S., Payens' engaging film was an official selection of the 2011 Silverdocs Film Festival. (Screened with Pit No. 8)
Visit the film's official website

My Dog Tulip (2010)

Paul and Sandra Fierlinger (85 min., color,35mm, US)

Saturday, April 2, 2011, 6:00pm

Orpheum Theater

A screenshot from the film My Dog Tulip"Unable to love each other, the English turn naturally to dogs." So begins this delightful adaptation of J.R. Ackerley's 1956 memoir-cum-love story, which Truman Capote called, "One of the greatest books ever written by anybody in the world." Paul and Sandra Fierlinger's touching and bittersweet rendering — the first animated feature to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology — recounts the author's relationship with his German shepherd Tulip, who ends up being the love of his life. Tulip, Ackerley writes, "offered me what I had never found in my sexual life: constant, single-hearted, incorruptible, uncritical devotion." Indeed, Ackerley records Tulip's bodily functions and attempts to mate her in great detail — this film may be best suited for people comfortably knowing where puppies come from. Wonderfully voiced by Christopher Plummer, the late Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini, My Dog Tulip is a crowd pleaser that, according to The Village Voice, "transform(s) the seemingly banal relationship between pet and owner into something singular, inimitable, sacred." (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
Visit Film's Official Website

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds / Kaze no tani no Naushika (1984)

Hayao Miyazaki (116 min., color, DVD, animated, Japan)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 4:30 pm

Orpheum Theater

Nausicaa screenshot: Nausicaa flies through the valleyBased on his popular manga series of the same name, Hayao Miyazaki's animated Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds tells the story of a princess growing up in a feudal-like world a thousand years after a war has devastated much of Earth's environment and technology. Utilizing her gift for communicating with giant insects and possessing a love of living things, she sets out on a perilous journey to defend all life against destruction. With Nausicaä Miyazaki begins to explore elements he would develop more fully in his later films (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away): compassionate heroines, strong interpersonal relationships, and a call for an ecologically sustainable way of life.

Near Oracle - A Film About Biosphere 2 (2010 - Work-in-Progress)

Shawn Rosenheim (~90 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 7:00 pm

UW Cinematheque

Near OracleIn September 1991, eight men and women began a two-year mission to live inside a sealed four-acre complex in the desert of Arizona known as Biosphere 2. The group's avowed scientific purpose was to see how well they could maintain a series of artificially-created biomes - deserts, coral reefs, temperate rainforests - as part of an entirely closed, self-sustaining system. The project was supposed to consider the issues and potential success of future missions to create permanent self-sustaining colonies on the moon or Mars. But many outside critics wondered whether it was as much showmanship as science. With mounting costs and mounting public curiosity, Biosphere 2 was rushed to completion, all the while enduring a clash of personalities trying to steer the project in wildly divergent directions. In this sneak preview of the not-quite-final fine cut of Shawn Rosenheim's film, an extraordinary and gripping portrait of the project emerges from unprecedented access to the "biospherians'" own home movies, interviews with many of the key project participants, and hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes footage. Watch as the biomes begin to breakdown, people endure cult-like diets, rivalries and jealousies erupt, and all the inhabitants begin to suffocate in their own CO2. Ultimately, you're left to wonder how much hubris it takes to believe we can ever try to engineer Biosphere 1 (Earth) on large scales when as meticulously controlled a setting as Biosphere 2 goes so awry! Filmmakers were in attendance.
(Photo credit: © John De Dios)

Nénette (2010)

Nicolas Philibert (67 min., color, 35mm, France)

Friday, April 1, 2011, 3:30pm and Sunday, April 3, 2011, 3:45pm

Fredric March Play Circle

A screenshot from the film NenetteWith her casual confidence and shock of rust-colored hair, Nénette is an orangutan who owns the screen with the ease of a Hollywood starlet. A native of Borneo, she's been living in the zoo at Paris's Jardin des Plantes for 37 of her 40 years, where she has outlasted three mates and receives 600,000 visitors a year. By simply allowing us to bask in her majestic presence, this observational documentary becomes a meditation on captivity of even the most well-intentioned kind. Director of the awards-devouring classroom documentary To Be and To Have, Nicholas Philibert keeps his cameras trained on Nénette while weaving a complex soundtrack, alternating zoogoers' impressions with insightful anecdotes from her handlers. Elliptically glimpsed in refractions of the ape house’s glass cage, kids and adults alike express an almost starstruck wonder upon seeing Nénette, and their wide-eyed, often anthropomorphizing comments convey the underlying connection between man and beast better than any textbook ever could. Nénette's handlers provide moving testimonials about life with the temperamental orangutan, which is so rife with compromise and respect as to resemble a marriage. Official selection of the 2010 Berlin, Edinburgh, and Vienna Film Festivals. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
Visit Film's Official Website

Never Cry Wolf (1983)

Carroll Ballard (105 min., color, 35mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 4:15 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Never Cry WolfTales from Planet Earth is pleased to be screening one of director Carroll Ballard's many extraordinary films that documents the intense connections that exist between humans and animals. Ballard captures the often spiritual quality of the human-animal bond that famed naturalist E.O. Wilson has suggested is an innate "biophilia," or love for other creatures on the planet. And in his films, Ballard also reveals the great lengths humans often go to study and preserve our animal kin, such as Never Cry Wolf's adaptation of the real-life efforts of Farley Mowat to research wolves in Northern Canada and his growing awareness of wolves' unfair reputation and persecution. While the impressive visuals and stories of this film makes it ideal viewing for the whole family, Ballard's work is far from a kid's film but, in fact, required viewing for anyone interested in the intertwined fates of all humans and animals.

Northern Ice: Golden Sun (2002)

Faith Hubley (6.5 min., color, 35mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 5:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Northern Ice, Golden SunNorthern Ice, Golden Sun explores the Inuits’ deep attachment to the natural world. They hunt, fish, dance, care for their young and make art in tune with the seasonal cycle of the Arctic. During the fearsome winter months, they rely on the mysterious powers of the Shaman. The new threat of industrial invasion looms over their land and their culture. But, the Inuit survive. The land reawakens, and all the people and animals rejoice under the glowing sun. One of several animated shorts by Faith and John Hubley shown as part of a retrospective celebration of their work. (Screened with Saving Luna)

Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

Patricio Guzman (90 min., color, Blu-Ray, France/Germany/Chile, In Spanish with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Nostalgia for the Light screenshot10,000 feet above sea level in Chile sits the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert. The clear desert air atop the mountains draws astronomers from all over the world to observe the sky, peering right through to the boundaries of the universe. But the desert's ground has as much interest as its sky, as it holds remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September 1973. Even more than a generation later, survivors -- mostly women -- still search for the remains of their loved ones. Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey of memory, time, and space. Winner of the 2011 Best Film Prize from the International Documentary Association and Best Documentary Prize at the 2010 European Film Academy Awards.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Ojibwe Treaty Rights and 25 Years of Culture-Based Environmentalism

Patty Loew, with Winona LaDuke, Mic Ishram, and Nick Hockings (45 min.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:45 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Ojibwe Treaty Rights and 25 Years of Culture-Based EnvironmentalismThis panel explored the environmental experience of the Ojibwe Bands since the historic Voigt Decision. Panel members shared personal stories about moving past the boatlanding violence of the 1980s and their stewardship role in efforts to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Great Lakes region. The panel consisted of Mic Isham (Chair of GLIFWC's Voigt Intertribal Task Force and a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Council), Nick Hockings (tribal spearer and owner of Waswagoning, a recreated 18th century Ojibwe Village and educational resource center), and Winona LaDuke, a prominent Ojibwe environmental advocate and author). Patty Loew - Associate Professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication; Ojibwe author, and documentary producer for Wisconsin Public Television - moderated the panel. (Preceded by Winona LaDuke's keynote and a screening of Lighting the Seventh Fire.)

Old Partner (2008)

Chung-ryoul Lee (75 min., color, DV Cam, South Korea)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 5:45 pm

UW Cinematheque

Old Partner"The ox is my karma." This simple statement sums up the deep personal attachment felt by Mr. Lee, an aging peasant farmer in South Korea, who lives each day in close physical and spiritual companionship with his ancient ox. A slow, quiet and moving documentary that feels more like an intimate fictional film, Chung-ryoul Lee's Old Partner has capitvated audiences at the Sundance Film Festival and the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Underlying the entire film is the recognition that two individuals from entirely separate species can develop a bond and kinship that is nothing short of friendship -- complete with all the joys, frustrations, struggles and heartbreak that make friendship so difficult and yet worthwhile. While the film itself strives to avoid being pigeon-holed either as pure idyll or elegy, one is left to consider the value and importance of close human-animal kinship and whether its time is forever waning.

Opening Roundtable: Tales of Time and Futures -- A Conversation with Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Zach Kunuk

Gregg Mitman, Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, and (via Skype) Zacharias Kunuk (90 min.)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Ruth Ozeki headshot We live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans for the first time in the history of the species are a geomorphic force of planetary change. At the same time, our modern media environment makes it difficult to portray these changes so that they command the public's attention and give us the space and time to think about the future. To start the festival, Tales from Planet Earth festival director and UW-Madison history of science professor Gregg Mitman brought together a roundtable of gifted storytellers, interspersed with clips from their work, to spark a conversation around questions of time —- of past, present, and future —- across different cultural traditions and temporal scales in the age of the Anthropocene. Filmmakers participating included Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Zacharias Kunuk, and Norman Cohn.

Our Daily Bread (2005)

Nikolaus Geyrhalter (92 min., color, 35mm, Germany)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 9:30 pm

UW Cinematheque

Our Daily BreadAt the 2007 Tales from Planet Earth, the screening of Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes filled up the theater in only a few minutes. At Tales from Planet Earth in 2009, Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread, a similar film, met the same fate. Training an artistic lens on the global food system, Geyrhalter wordlessly captures extraordinary tableaus and landscapes of astonishing power. From the treatment of livestock to the application of pesticides and the working conditions of laborers, Our Daily Bread lays open for questioning each link of the complex processing chain that connects us to our landscapes via the food on our plates. Winner of 10 film festival awards and official selection of over 50 festivals.
Visit the film's official website

Pandora's Promise (2013)

Robert Stone (89 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Pandora's Promise screenshotThe story of Pandora's Box (like the Tree of Knowledge in Eden) is a story of irreversible and numerous misfortunes visited upon the world in return for mankind obtaining new powers and knowledge. The moral of such stories usually focuses on the downside of opening Pandora's Box. But should we focus on the upside as well? Since the development of nuclear power, most environmentalists have treated it as a toxic catastrophe continually threatening to wreak havoc. But in UW-alumnus Robert Stone's provocative film, he interviews many environmentalists (all formerly firmly anti-nuclear) who are trying to focus on the potential good side of opening the nuclear Pandora's Box. Could nuclear power actually be the solution to the even more catastrophic threat posed by a carbon-based economy and global climate change? Can we live with ourselves if we embrace nuclear? Can we live at all if we don't? This film offers a thought-provoking and important discussion for a world without black-and-white answers to our major enviornmental challenges. Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. Film was followed by a discussion of nuclear power with the UW-Madison Nuclear Engineering program and the film's director participating via Skype.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Papapapá (1995)

Alex Rivera (28 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, Noon

Fredric March Play Circle

PapapapaIn yet another innovative work by Alex Rivera, Papapapá humorously explores immigration issues by comparing the assimilation of immigrant peoples and immigrant foods. In this case, Rivera parallels the migration of a form of potato from Incan Peru north to become part of diets throughout North America with an immensely personal journey following the journeys of his Peruvian father as he migrated from Lima to the United States. Part of a three-film retrospective of Rivera's work, along with Sleep Dealer and The Sixth Section. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with The Sixth Section)
Visit the film's official website

Pit No. 8 (2010)

Marianna Kaat (95 min., color, Blu-Ray, Estonia/Ukraine, In Russian with English subtitles)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 12 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Pit No. 8 screenshotIn the heart of Ukraine's once-thriving coal-mining region in the town of Snizhne lives 15-year old Yura, head of his family of three that includes his two younger sisters. The town's coal mines have officially been abandoned as "poor pits," but Yura and many other children, retirees, and unemployed members of the community continue to dig for coal illegally in shafts under their homes, their gardens, abandoned buildings, parks -- wherever they can. Yura dreams of raising money to get training to become a chef in his own cafe; but the economic realities of the recent global economic downturn continually press in upon him and his family. An intimate profile lacking a traditional narrative plot, the film presents an in-depth account of one family's struggle to survive in a world increasingly lacking economic opportunity. A multi-award winner at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as well as several other festivals. (Screened with Mushrooms of Concrete)
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

The Planet (2006)

Johan Söderberg (86 min., color, 35mm, Sweden)

Thursday, April 3, 2008, 9:15pm and Sunday, April 6, 2008, 1:45pm

Stage Door Theater

The Planet screenshotTwenty-nine experts give their not-quite-pessimistic opinion about the state Planet Earth is in. From Kenya to Brazil, from Shanghai to Greenland, professors, water distributors, directors, and entrepreneurs explain what is happening to our planet. As a result of globalization, we are experiencing for the first time in history that what we do at home can have effects on the ecosystem on the other side of the globe, including the extinction of whole species. The film uses a lot of humor, visually provocative material, new rhythms, imaginative twists and turns, animation, new and old archive material, and striking nature photography. Winner, Kyoto Planet Climate for Change Award, Vancouver International Film Festival. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Franklin J. Schaffner (112 min., color, U.S.)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Planet of the Apes screenshot"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death." And so reads Cornelius from the sacred scroll of apes. Yes, it's the classic you love and remember so well. Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and his crew, astronauts who departed Earth in 1967, have traveled 2100 years into the future where they find a planet ruled by intelligent apes and humans reduced to slave labor and experimentation. Becoming captured, Taylor is taken to the lab of Zira and Dr. Zaius, who dub him "Bright Eyes" and wonder if he may be as intelligent as he looks. A brooding classic that explores questions of humanity, ethics, the future, and the dangers of mankind's hubris, this was a film worth staying up late for!

Planning for Floods (1974)

George Stoney (28 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 1:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

George Stoney, Planning for FloodsMade for the Environmental Defense Fund in 1974 on the heels of then-record flooding on the Mississippi River, George Stoney's Planning for Floods explores the philosophy of the U.S. Corps of Engineers in controlling floods and reveals how this philosophy creates a false sense of security and mastery of nature - control repeatedly shown to be illusory in natural disaster after natural disaster. Stoney's film foreshadowed future weather-related disasters that were made worse by humans' hubristic disregard for historical floodplains and the forces of strange weather. Planning for Floods is one of two films (see also How the Myth Was Made) from George Stoney's distinguished career that we are pleased to be showing at Tales from Planet Earth to coincide with a visit from the filmmaker, who is considered the father of public access television in the United States and a visionary documentarian of the 1970s and '80s. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with The River and The Plow that Broke the Plains)

Plastic Bag (2009)

Ramin Bahrani (18 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 5 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Plastic Bag screenshotThere it is. See it over there -- that majestic bit of wildlife? It's the . . . plastic bag. With tongue firmly in cheek, Ramin Bahrani elevates the humble plastic bag to the role of documentary star, using all the usual tropes of big budget wildlife films to underscore just how much trash such as plastic bags plays a role in human and non-human landscapes, interacting with us in ways similar to any natural wild animal. But the impacts of trash are obviously far from natural, as the film starkly illustrates at the end with the bag's final migration to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating slick of plastic and garbage in the Pacific Ocean that may be as large as twice the size of the continental United States. (Screened with Trash Dance)
View the film's official trailer

The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936)

Pare Lorentz (25 min., b/w, 16mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 1:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The Plow that Broke the PlainsUnder FDR's New Deal, the government Resettlement Administration undertook an ambitious project to document American life and the need for government programs to address the various crises crippling the country. To this day, the films produced through this program are the only peacetime production by the United States government of films intended for commercial release and public viewing. Yet far from producing staid bureaucratic works, the program resulted in some of the most advanced and moving documentaries ever produced up to that time. And among these films, director Pare Lorentz's portraits of environmental devastation remain some of the most brutal and revealing ever captured on film -- monumental landmarks in the history of American non-fiction film. In The Plow that Broke the Plains, he documented the landscape and aftermath of the Dust Bowl and, in the process, made a compelling case for the development of the Soil Conservation Service. One of two Pare Lorentz documentaries shown at the 2009 festival. (Screened with The River and Planning for Floods)

Powerless (2013)

Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar (82 min., color, Digital File, India)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Powerless screenshotWould you risk your life to flip a switch? In Kanpur, India, putting oneself in harm's way to deliver electrical power is all too common. More than 1.5 billion people around the planet lack regular access to electrcity: 400 million of them live in India. In the city of Kanpur, a 28-year-old electrician is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. He is a robin-hood figure, stealing electricity and charging the rich to provide free connections in impoverished neighborhoods. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses could function normally. At the other end of the city, the new female head of the city power company has decided to crack down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Yearly drives to remove illegal connections are met with street protests and anger. In the meantime, lack of electricity drives people to use generators run on fossil fuels. This is choking the town, making Kanpur one of the most polluted cities in India. Powerless puts a lens to an unexplored narrative of one of the world's fastest developing economies still wracked by inequality and lacking basic necessities for everyone. Official selection of the 2013 Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals. Film was followed by a panel of UW-Madison faculty and students discussing the future of the electrical grid and challenges of global electrification. Filmmaker was in attendance.
View the film's official trailer

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Hayao Miyazaki (134 min., color, 35mm, Japan)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 1:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Princess MononokeRoger Ebert declared that Princess Mononoke "is one of the most visually inventive films" ever and one of the best animated films he'd ever seen. No wonder, as this complex tale of humans, forest animals and nature gods fighting for their share of the planet is one of director Hayao Miyazaki's anime masterpieces. Following his earlier work Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds (which was one of our more popular screenings at the 2007 Tales from Planet Earth), this allegorical tale from Miyazaki follows Prince Ashitaka as he journeys to find the cause of nature's imbalance and finds Princess Mononoke fighting the forces of Lady Eboshi, the leader of a people learning ever more industries while forgetting how to talk to animals and the environment.

Promised Land (2013)

Joe Turner Lin, Justin Marshall (20 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Promised Land screenshotPart of the FutureStates series of short films that imagine the impacts of climate, societal, and technological change on the future course of mankind, Promised Land imagines a bleak future that combines all three kinds of change. It's the near-future. Temperatures regularly soar into the high 120s. Fuel and work are both hard to come by. And now to make matters worse, climate change refugees from the even bleaker future are now using technology to come back in time and try to find refuge in the past. Teenager Jackson's father is a bounty hunter trying to get these refuges dead or alive. On his first day of temporal border patrol, what happens to Jackson's sense of morality when confronted by a refugee who is girl about his age? A powerful examination of immigration, climate change, opportunity, and ethics in a changing world. (Screened with The Weather War)

Protect Our Future (2013)

Jordan Principato, Shania Jackson, Ahpahnae Thomas (31 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Screenshot fom Protect Our FutureWith the help of UW-Madison professor Patty Loew, Jordan Principato, Shania Jackson, and Ahpahnae Thomas -- all 14-year old members of the Bad River band of the Chippewa Tribe here in Wisconsin -- have created their debut film. In it, they address the threatened impacts of proposed mining in northern Wisconsin upon the water supply and other resources of the Bad River band. Sharing stories from tribal educators, land managers, attorneys, and elders, this film is an impassioned plea from the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers demanding that this generation protect their heritage of our Wisconsin landscape. Filmmakers were present. Followed by a panel on natural resources and indigenous issues. (Screened with A Changing World)

Rare Chicken Rescue (2008)

Randall Wood (26 min., color, DV, Australia)

Friday, April 3, 2009, 7:00pm

Monona Terrace Convention Center

Rare Chicken Rescue screenshotQueensland rare-chicken breeder Mark Tully is now on a mission to protect heritage poultry breeds before they are gone forever. In Australia, chicken species such as the Sumatran, the Phoenix, the Transylvanian Naked Neck, the Spanish, the Azeel and even the humble Leghorn are just some of the breeds under threat. One of Australia's many "poultry fanciers," Tully embarks on a "chicken chase" that covers 10,000 kilometers and spans five Australian states as he tracks down rare heritage breeds and meets others who share his passion. While Tully spends his days rescuing poultry, he reveals that the unconditional love of his large collection of turkeys, chooks and other birds—and the serenity he finds in their company—has helped save his own life after a long battle with mental illness. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)

Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere (2007)

Simon Marler (80 min., color, DV, New Zealand)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 4:45 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Restoring the Mauri of Lake OmapereAlthough its subject is halfway around the world from Wisconsin, the themes of Simon Marler's beautiful film Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere will resonate strongly with people living in the Yahara River watershed. Agricultural runoff, toxic algae, mechanical weed harvesting - these issues have a familiar ring for anyone acquainted with the history of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. Marler adds to these issues the story of the Maori people and their struggle to restore the mauri, or life spirit, of a small New Zealand lake. This is a film that leaves you with hope that grassroots efforts worldwide really can make a difference. (Screened with A Drop of Life)

The Return of Navajo Boy (2000)

Jeff Spitz (52 min., color, video, US)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 11:00 am

UW Cinematheque

The Return of Navajo Boy screenshotIn 1997 Bill Kennedy unearthed an old reel of a silent film called Navajo Boy, which his late father produced in Monument Valley in the 1950s. Seeking to understand his father's work on the Navajo Reservation, Kennedy works with documentarian Jeff Spitz to return the film to the people in it, including Elsie Mae Cly Begay, who recognizes her long-lost infant brother John Wayne Cly, who was adopted by white missionaries in the 1950s. Elsie tells her family's story for the first time, offering a unique perspective to the history of the American west. When her brother learns of the film, the family reunites and the Clys shed light on the Native side of picture making and uranium mining in Monument Valley. The film triggered a federal investigation of uranium houses on the Navajo Nation and forced the U.S. Department of Justice to pay a $100,000 compensation check to a former uranium miner.
Visit the film's official website

Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury (2013)

Luiz Bolognesi (74 min., color, 35mm, Brazil, In Portuguese with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Rio 2096 screenshotLuiz Bolognesi's debut animated feature film is a gripping epic -- set across more than 600 years of Brazil's past and future. The year is 1566. In fleeing a jaguar's attack with his love, Janaina, Abeguar discovers an ability to fly. His shaman explains that he is the chosen one, the man who must lead his people for as long as it takes until they find a place free from the influence of the anhinga, or European culture. In receiving this gift, Abeguar discovers that resistance is (almost) futile and demands great pain, sacrifice, and eternal vigilance. Over the course of four key periods of Brazil's past and future -- native rebellion against the Portuguese in 1566, a peasant rebellion in 1831, a student movement against dictatorship in the 1960s, and a water rights movement in 2096 -- a continually reborn Abeguar searches for ways to resist the loss of his culture and place. Sustaining him through these troubles is a parallel search for true love with Janaina. In the end, not knowing one's past leads to darkness, but finding one's love offers eternity. Winner of Best Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
View the film's official trailer

The River (1938)

Pare Lorentz (31 min., b/w, 16mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 1:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The RiverLegendary director Pare Lorentz's portraits of environmental devastation during the Great Depression remain some of the most brutal and revealing ever captured on film -- monumental landmarks in the history of American non-fiction film. In The River, he documented the effects of deforestation leading to massive soil erosion and flooding in the Mississippi River watershed. In the process, Lorentz made a compelling case for the development of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Interestingly, unlike his other masterpiece, The Plow that Broke the Plains, which was widely rejected by audiences in the Dust Bowl region at the time of release, The River met with universal praise throughout the South, despite its similar laying of blame for regional natural disaster on human mismanagement of the land. The different reception of the two films seems due solely to Lorentz's choice to glorify the Confederacy in one scene of The River, an unusual narrative twist for modern audiences to ponder. One of two Pare Lorentz documentaries shown at the 2009 festival. (Screened with The Plow that Broke the Plains and Planning for Floods)

The Road Warrior (1981)

George Miller (94 min., color, Australia)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

The Road Warrior screenshot"I only came for the gasoline." It's the future -- our oil-based economy has collapsed and a nuclear apocalypse has occurred. Now Max (Mel Gibson in one of his earliest roles), a former policeman scavenging for fuel in the Australian Outback, can only survive by teaming up with a community living in a gasoline refinery, who try to defend their supplies from the barbarian biker gang led by The Humangus. A film long on sensations, short on words (Gibson has only 16 lines in the whole movie), and actually a kinetic futuristic Western, see why Roger Ebert said of it: "The experience is frightening, sometimes disgusting, and (if the truth be told) exhilarating!"

Salt of the Earth (1954)

Herbert J. Biberman (94 min., b&w, DVD, US, In English with Spanish subtitles)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Salt of the Earth screenshotBased on the true story of the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico, Salt of the Earth is an important landmark in American cinema. It remains one of the only films in American history banned (for almost a decade after its release) due to McCarthy-era fears of supposed pro-communist sympathies and its production by members of the blacklisted "Hollywood Ten." Moreover, the film is one of the first major studio films to offer a strong feminist message. Beyond its historical significance, though, this film rightly is praised for simply being a great movie, with The New York Times declaring that the "tautly muscled script develops considerable personal drama, raw emotion and power." With a cast of only five professional actors supplemented by real people from the actual strike, the film portrays the efforts of Mexican-American miners, led by Ramon Quintero and his wife, Esperanza, to strike for better working conditions and wage equality with Anglo miners. A powerful testament to the challenges that continually plague America's landscapes of labor, this film is simply a must-see! Selected in 1992 by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. (Screened with Guanape Sur)

Saving Luna (2008)

Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit (92 min., color, 35mm, Canada)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 5:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Saving LunaSaving Luna cuts across many of the major debate in modern conservation - from wildlife management to the resource rights of native peoples. But more than any didactic debate or polemic, this film is simply a beautiful portrait of a living being - an orca whale named Luna - who touches hundreds of intersecting lives. Filmmakers Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit initially journeyed to Vancouver Island in Canada on a three-week magazine assignment to cover a charming anecdote about an orphaned whale that played with boaters and loggers. Their journey ended up lasting more than four years, as they found themselves at the heart of a complex and emotional struggle involving issues of anthropomorphism and whether humans have the ability, right, and responsibility to transcend the human-animal barrier to try to understand another species. One of the highlights of the 2009 Tales from Planet Earth and a winner of audience and jury prizes at 22 film festivals! (Screened with Northern Ice: Golden Sun)
Visit the film's official website

Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé

Jean Painlevé (85 min., color, 35mm, France)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 1:45 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Screenshot from "The Love Life of the Octopus"French filmmaker Jean Painlevé (1902-1989) was a pioneer of astonishingly beautiful science films, which poetically explored a twilight realm of bats, seahorses, and octopuses, among other creatures. In collaboration with his partner Genevieve Hamon, Painlevé made over 200 science and nature films that document nature’s authentic 'magic realism,' and was a favorite of the surrealists and avant-gardists. Painlevé counted amongst his friends and admirers Antonin Artaud, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Vigo, and Luis Buñuel. Presented were a program of five of Painlevé's most bewitching films, including: The Seahorse (L'Hippocampe), The Vampire (Le Vampire), Freshwater Assassins (Les Assassins d'eau douce), The Love Life of the Octopus (Les Amours de la pieuvre), and Acera or The Witches' Dance (Acera ou Le Bal des sorcieres).

Second Chance: Sea (1976)

Faith Hubley (10.5 min., color, 35mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Second Chance: SeaThe history of the ocean culminates with the present abuse of our most important resource. Do we have a second chance? Part of a retrospective of the award-winning animation of John and Faith Hubley. (Screened with Whither Weather and Children of the Sun)

Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011)

Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon (76 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 8:00 p.m.*

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Semper Fi screenshotWhen Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger lost his daughter in 1985 to cancer he bitterly recriminated himself, wondering if he had failed somehow as a parent. But he found out the military he gave 25 years of faithful service to had been unfaithful to him -- that the waters at the Camp Lejeune base in eastern North Carolina were contaminated and the military did little to address or publicize this risk for more than two decades. Now he's pushing himself and fellow veterans to the brink to get the government to own up to what may be the single largest case of water contamination in American history, with as many as a million Americans exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. Having faithfully sacrificed throughout their careers to ensure all Americans have freedom, Ensminger and these veterans now are sacrificing their time and family's happiness to ensure Americans have justice, too. An official selection of the 2011 Tribeca, Silverdocs, and International Documentary Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance.
Visit the film's official website
View the film's official trailer

Sharkwater (2006)

Rob Stewart (89 min., color, 35mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 10:00 am

Wisconsin Union Theater

SharkwaterRob Stewart is a man of single-minded vision – a passionate diver and lover of sharks, he has made it his life's mission to try to stop the annihilation of the world's shark species. Traveling around the world, Sharkwater is his testament both to the importance of sharks to oceanic ecosystems and to the catastrophic devastation of sharks occurring daily due to human fear and greed. Yet Stewart makes a compelling case that a loss of sharks would not mean just the loss of a few charismatic animals but in fact lead to the death of the oceans as we know them and possibly even to cataclysmic results for all of humankind! A beautiful film filled with stunning visual images, Sharkwater is one of those movies that stays with you long after you leave the theater.
Visit the film's official website

The Silent Enemy: An Epic of the American Indian (1930)

H. P. Carver (84 min., b/w, 35 mm, US)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 1:45 pm

Orpheum Theater

The Silent Enemy screenshot: man and boyIn 1928, William Douglas Burden, a wealthy explorer and naturalist, whose life inspired the making of King Kong, traveled to Lake Temiskaming in northwestern Quebec to make an "authentic" picture about the North American Indian before contact with whites. The film features remarkable performances by Native American actors Molly Spotted Elk and Chief Buffalo Long Lance, as well as those by Chauncey Yellow Robe, great nephew of Sitting Bull, and local Ojibwa villagers. Cinematographer Marcel le Picard used light and shadow to great effect in creating an image of a vanished past, and audiences were spellbound by the "the most stupendous sight of wild game in North America since the bygone days of the buffalo." In 1930, the New York Evening Post declared the film deserved a "Pulitzer Prize as the best American dramatic creation of the year."

The Silent World / Le Monde du Silence (1956)

Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle (86 min., color, 35 mm, France)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 11:00 am

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Movie poster for The Silent World: underwater sceneFamed French undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau documents the voyage of his ship Calypso across the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean, and creates a lyrical meditation on the awesome mysteries of oceanic life. "Surely the most beautiful and fascinating documentary of its sort ever filmed ... The only trouble with the whole thing is it makes you want to strap on an Aqua-Lung and go!" (Bosley Crowther, New York Times). Co-directed by French New Wave director Louis Malle (Au revoir les enfants) and winner of Oscar for Best Documentary and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. (Screened with Locomotion in Water)

The Sixth Section (2003)

Alex Rivera (26 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, Noon

Fredric March Play Circle

The Sixth SectionAlex Rivera is seeking to challenge and destroy many of the assumptions underlying Americans' debates over immigration. A child of Peruvian and Irish-American parents, Rivera brings his unique perspective to an exploration of immigration and its myriad impacts – documenting the ways in which Americans rely upon immigrant labor and ways in which many of these immigrants, far from being a silent and exploited underclass, are organizing to empower themselves. In The Sixth Section, Rivera highlights the efforts of Grupo Unión, a coalition of Mexican immigrants who work in New York state in order to support their community of Boqueron, Mexico. Their goal - to provide their community with something it needs but would never do for itself: build a baseball stadium! Part of a three-film retrospective of Rivera's work, along with Sleep Dealer and Papapapá. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Papapapá)
Visit the film's official website

Sleep Dealer (2008)

Alex Rivera (90 min., color, 35mm, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 9:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Sleep DealerAlex Rivera's Sleep Dealer, a multiple Sundance Award winning science-fiction masterpiece, imagines a future in which all U.S. borders are closed to immigration yet foreign workers continue to perform labor remotely via robotic connections. After Memo Cruz's home is destroyed in an attack, he travels to Tijuana with dreams of working in the high-tech labor factories, even though workers there go until the point of collapse. Along the way, he meets the mysterious Luz who is trying to use him for her own reasons. A mind-blowing, satirical look at modern labor and the uses of people, this film will change how you think about people's relationships to the land and asks you to consider what it is we really are arguing about in our recent debates over U.S. immigration policy. Part of a three-film retrospective of Rivera's work, along with The Sixth Section and Papapapá. Filmmaker was in attendance.
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Solarize This Screening (2013 - Work-in-Progress) and Green Jobs Panel

Shalini Kantayya (~10 min., color, DVD, US)/60 min.

Monday, March 26, 2012, 12:00 pm

Union South Varsity Hall

No Image AvailableGreen jobs. From Thomas Friedman to President Obama, prominent Americans increasingly hail jobs manufacturing "clean" energy as the future of the American economy. But is the future at hand or still just a distant promise? In this eye-opening portrait, Shalini Kantayya (director of the 2009 Tales from Planet Earth film A Drop of Life) profiles three unemployed workers in Richmond, CA, who enroll in a solar power-installation job training program. But after completing their training, they discover that having skills for the future economy does not automatically translate into getting a job in the current one. This provocative work-in-progress asks policymakers to move beyond promising a green jobs revolution to the difficult tasks of turning it into reality. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Followed by a panel of scholars and green jobs advocates -- including Shalini Kantayya and Van Jones)

Solitary Life of Cranes (2008)

Eva Weber (27 min., color, DV Cam, UK)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 3:45 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Solitary Life of CranesPeople engage with landscapes in a variety of ways and from many different perspectives. Eva Weber explores perhaps one of the most ignored perspectives, hidden in plain sight in almost every big city and developing landscape around the world. Capturing images not for the faint of heart (or acrophobic), Weber bravely ventures high above London to discover its world of crane operators. What she discovers in Solitary Life of Cranes is a complex relationship between man and machine, executing sweeping movements with balletic precision and in the process reshaping the landscape below. (Screened with Losers and Winners)
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Sons of the Land (2012)

Edouard Bergeon (88 min., color, HD Cam, France, In French with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Sons of the Land screenshotIn 1999, Edouard Bergeon's father became another of the 400 to 800 French farmers who commit suicide every year, suffering from despair at the crushing debt burdens suffered by modern farmers at the same time that their marginal profits continue to erode. In exploring his father's story, Bergeon meets the Itards, a family of dairy farmers in southern France going through similar issues that overwhelmed his father. For 14 months, his camera penetrates into the heart of a modern farm family -- its hopes and frustrations, intergenerational disagreements, debt burdens, family strife, but also abiding love and loyalty. In the end, from near-tragedy, the Itards find hope for a sustainable farming business model that might allow these sons of the land to pass their family farm on to another generation. Official selection of the IDFA, Eurodok, Vera, and Göteborg International Film Festivals. Film was followed by a panel discussion of local farmers and UW graduate students.
View the film's official trailer

Soylent Green (1973)

Richard Fleischer (97 min., color, 35mm, US)

Friday, November 6, 2009, 11:59 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Screenshot from Soylent GreenIt's the year 2022 and the world is running out of food. Overpopulation and pollution make life in New York City and cities like it hellish -- with most people sleeping in every nook and cranny of available space and paying exorbitant prices for one-time pleasures as simple as strawberries but otherwise subsisting on corporate-produced food supplements Soylent Red and Orange, or the new supplement -- Soylent Green. Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is tasked with tracking down why the executive of the Soylent Corporation has been murdered. His investigation leads him to one monstrous conclusion! A classic in the genre of eco-apocalyptic films that have increasingly pervaded modern culture, Soylent Green has a payoff that makes it required viewing for anyone wanting to understand the social and political fears and preoccupations of the 1970s that created the modern world we inhabit today. Part of the Tales After Dark film screenings developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee.

The Split Horn (2001)

Taggert Siegel (56 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 7:30 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The Split Horn screenshotThe Split Horn movingly documents the struggles of a Hmong shaman and his family to keep their ancient traditions alive as they find themselves displaced from the mountains of Laos -- like more than 200,000 other refuges displaced by the Vietnam War -- and end up in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin. Using incredible access over 17 years of filming, director Taggert Siegel chronicles the intimate and private lives of Paja Thao, his wife and their 13 children. A stranger in a strange land, Paja's soul has strayed from his body, leading to great depression that can only be cured through a ritual performed by other shaman. But his children seem to embrace the newer culture and want to leave their old culture behind. A moving look at the struggles of identity and community when a family is torn between two places. (Screened with Fire, Burn, Babylon)
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Summer Pasture (2010)

Lynn True and Nelson Walker III (85 min., color, HDCam, US)

Sunday, April 3, 2011, 11:30am

Wisconsin Union Theater

Milking yaks from the film Summer Pasture"Nomads depend on animals but they're selling them off for cash . . . and cash turns to ash and ashes just blow away." Locals call eastern Tibet the "5-most" because it is the highest, coldest, poorest, largest, and most remote area in Sichuan Province, China. Here, a young Tibetan family of yak herders, Locho and Yama, are struggling to maintain their nomadic way of life. An intimate portrait of a relationship between husband and wife and people and landscape, Summer Pasture takes us inside the family tent to witness love built through hardship but also daily battles with illness, the weather, runaway animals, infidelity, and normal marital squabbles. Overriding among the couple’s concerns is what to do about their 5-month old "Pale Chubby Girl" – still awaiting a name from the local lama. Should her parents continue to raise her in the nomadic lifestyle, teaching her to collect dung for fuel and to make yak butter and cheese? Or should they bow to encroaching development and sacrifice everything to send her to school in the local township? With rare access to a beautiful and daunting region seldom seen by outsiders, this film bears witness to the changes wrought by modern development on nomads’ life and labor. Winner, Best Feature, Banff Mountain Film Festival; Inspiration Award Jury Special Mention, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Best New Documentary Filmmaker, Palm Springs International Film Festival. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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Sun Come Up (2010)

Jennifer Redfearn (38 min., color, US/Papua New Guinea)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 3, 2011, 1:45pm

Chazen Museum of Art

Still from the film Sun Come UpThe Carteret Islanders near Papua New Guinea have a dubious distinction -– they are, by some accounts, the modern world’s first "climate change refugees." As global temperatures and sea levels gradually rise, salt water is encroaching their aquifers and washing away their shores. Now, because of greenhouse gas emissions half a world away, in the next five years this community of 1,700 people will forever have to abandon the only home they have ever known. With the community facing hunger and failing rice crops, Ursula Rakova and other village leaders task their youth, led by Nick Hakata, to find a new home. Traveling 50 miles across the sea, Nick and his friends arrive in neighboring Bougainville, just emerging from a 10-year civil war and suspicious of outsiders seeking handouts. San Kamap (Sun Come Up) is local pidgin for "sunrise," and, indeed, this beautiful film (first seen as a rough cut at the 2009 Tales from Planet Earth) does not portray the sunset of a people as much as their hope and resilience to persevere for another day, even though their homeland soon will exist only in their memories. Nominee, 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Winner, Crystal Heart Award, Heartland Film Festival; Golden CINE Best of Category and Best of Festival Awards, Montana CINE International Film Festival; Best Cultural/Human Interest Film, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival. (Screened with Fire, Burn, Babylon)
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Sweet Crude Man Camp (2013)

Isaac Gale (11 min., b&w, Digital File, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Sweet Crude Man Camp screenshotIsaac Gale's short provides a stark portrait of the hardships endured by workers attracted to the oil boom of the Bakken region of North Dakota. While a few men bring their families in trailers, many come alone, hoping to support their families from afar. Faced with few social opportunities and exorbitantly priced room and board in official housing, the men cobble together their own versions of home, whether it's sleeping in the front seat of their car or line dancing at the local bar. A moving and effective portrait. Official selection of the Palm Springs International Short Fest and the Dakota Digital Film Festival. (Screened with Louisiana Story)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Steve Barron (93 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 11:59 pm

Fredric March Play Circle

Screenshot from Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesCowabunga dude! These "heroes in a half-shell" have had an amazingly resilient pop cultural longevity, with many sequels, remakes, and subsequent television series. But this is the film that really started it all -- with turtles Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michaelangelo under the guidance of the wise rat Splinter taking on the evil Shredder. Born from the contamination of toxic ooze seeping into the New York City sewer system, these mutants are a reminder that we should never forget that thoughtlessly disposing of waste can lead to surprising and unexpected outcomes: perhaps even pizza-loving ninja turtles! Part of the Tales After Dark film screenings developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee.

Ten Canoes (2006)

Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr (90 min., color and b/w, 35 mm, Australia)

Saturday, November 3, 2007, 4:30 pm

Orpheum Theater

Ten Canoes screenshot: men in canoes on riverDirector Rolf de Heer collaborated closely with the Ramingining Aboriginal community of the Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory to create this absorbing and stylish paean to the rich oral traditions of Aboriginal Australia. On their annual expedition, Minygululu discovers that his younger brother Dayindi covets his third and youngest wife. To help him live "the proper way," Minygululu tells Dayindi a cautionary tale of wrong love, kidnapping, sorcery, and inept revenge, set in the mythical past, replete with bawdy humor. Blending anthropology and modern storytelling, Ten Canoes features inspired black and white cinematography for the framing device and saturated color for the story within the story, and captures the full otherworldly potential of the Arafura swamp region.
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That Which Once Was (2011)

Kimi Takesue (21 min., color, Blu-Ray, US)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

That Which Once Was screenshotIn the future, being an environmental refugee -- someone displaced by a natural disaster -- will be an increasingly common occurrence. Kimi Takesue's touching film imagines such a future as seen through the eyes of Vicente, an 8-year-old Caribbean orphan, who has lost his family to flooding and now has to fend for himself in a somewhat inhospitable orphanage. After he bonds with Siku (Natar Ungalaq, star of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner), an ice carver who has also lost a great deal, he finds the courage to begin to deal with his memories. Future States Audience Award Winner and a selection of the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. (Screened with American Water, Bee, Everybody's Nuts, and La Maison en Petits Cubes)

The Three Caballeros (1944)

Norman Ferguson (69 min., color, animated, Video, US)

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 7:00 pm

Orpheum Theater

Movie poster for The Three CaballerosOriginally conceived as a film to "carry a message of democracy and friendship below the Rio Grande," The Three Caballeros similarly used animated birds to promote US/Latin America relations and was the first Disney feature to combine animation and live action footage. The jokes are spot-on and the animation gorgeous in this tale of Donald Duck and his two Latin buds -- the Brazilian parrot Joe Carioca and Panchito the Mexican rooster -- who take Donald on a spectacular and outrageous tour of countries and cultures in Latin America, highlighted by dance and song. (Screened with High Over the Borders)

Three Walls (2011)

Zaheed Mawani (26 min., color, Blu-Ray, Canada)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 8 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Three Walls screenshotThe cubicle. Familiar as this most ubiquitous and monotonous of workplaces is, it can be easy to forget that the cubicle is, in fact, an environment all its own. And for many Americans, it is the modern "landscape of labor" -- the location where we spend the majority of our waking hours. Zaheed Mawani's film introduces us to the history of the cubicle, the workers who manufacture cubicle furniture, and some denizens of cubicle-dom -- trying not to let their external environment overwhelm their internal dreams and ambitions! Trust us, if you've ever worked in a cubicle this one is not to be missed. (Screened with Modern Times)
View the film's official trailer

Through Tribal Eyes (2010)

College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute (15 min., color, DVD, US)

Friday, March 30, 2012, 8:30 a.m.

Monona Terrace, Hall of Ideas E

College of Menominee Nation sign from film Through Tribal EyesThrough Tribal Eyes is a film about how climate change is affecting Wisconsin's landscapes and the Menominee Nation, made by students at the College of Menominee Nation partly as a submission to the "Where Words Touch the Earth" video project funded by NASA and AIHEC. Following the screening, UW Professor Patty Loew, a veteran of film and television committed to helping Wisconsin's Native Peoples tell their own stories, led a panel on climate change. Panelists included: Melissa Cook (Menominee), Director, Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation; Beau Mitchell (Chippewa Cree), Sustainability Coordinator, Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation; Leon Fowler (Menominee), Student, College of Menominee Nation; and Justin Gauthier (Menominee), Student, UW Madison and College of Menominee Nation graduate. See the ASEH conference schedule for more details about this program.

Transfer (2010)

Damir Lukacevic (93 min., color, 35mm, Germany, In German with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Transfer screenshotDying was so 20th century! In the near future, those who can afford it will be able to transfer their mental selves into new host bodies to extend their lives without missing a beat. In his compelling and emotional drama, Damir Lukacevic examines the consequences of this possibility through the story of Hermann and Anna, a well-to-do German couple facing Anna's imminent death from cancer. In a bid to save their love, they purchase the bodies of Apolain and Sarah, "volunteers" from poverty-stricken African nations, whose families are promised significant financial compensation in return. By day, Hermann and Anna control the bodies, startling their friends and neighbors with their youthful new selves and unsettling themselves over the question of transferring into black bodies. By night, Apolain and Sarah regain control of themselves for four hours each evening. At odds at first, the two come to develop a love -- a love which may threaten Hermann and Anna's love and which leads all four to reconsider what it means to live and die and to be oneself. A fascinating sci-fi film touching on issues of race, transnationalism, poverty, resource use, life and death -- this is a MUST see! Winner and nominee for prizes at Shriekfest, Biberach, London Sci-Fi, Schwerin Art of Film, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy, and Emden International Film Festivals.
View the film's official trailer

Trash Dance (2012)

Andrew Garrison (62 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 5 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Trash Dance screenshotWhen we have trouble envisioning the future, it makes it more difficult to find reasons for optimism in our present day. Enter choreographer Allison Orr - her mission is to find visions of beauty and dance in our everyday life. But her latest project may be her most challenging yet: trying to find hope in trash collection. For several months, she works alongside the Austin, Texas sanitation workers -- seeing in their movements and interactions with their equipment a beauty and a unique knowledge about place. Virginia, Don, Ivory, Orange and other workers are wary: just who is this crazy woman riding along on their trucks? With unbowed optimism, Orr wins them over, convincing them to volunteer for her dance project. Finally, the night of the outdoor performance arrives. The skies have been pouring rain. Some of the performers are still uncertain about their participation: a performance piece about trash collection!?!? Will anyone even show up? A glorious reminder of the power of individual vision to restore hope and to reshape our appreciation of the world. Winner of Audience Awards at the SXSW, Full Frame, Silverdocs, Woods Hole, Docuwest, Heartland, Sedona, and Rockport Film Festivals and featured at over 20 other film festivals! (Screened with Plastic Bag)
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View the film's official trailer

Trouble the Water (2008)

Tia Lessin and Carl Deal (96 min., color, 35mm, US)

Friday, November 6, 2009, 8:00 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Trouble the WaterThe accolades bestowed upon Trouble the Water have not stopped coming since the film premiered. Named one of the best films of 2008 by Time, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly and also receiving nominations from the Producer's Guild of America and the Academy Awards, Trouble the Water is simply, as Manohla Dargis of The New York Times put it, "one of the best American documentaries in recent memory." The film makes use of footage shot by aspiring rap artist Kimberly Rivers Roberts, as she and her neighbors in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans are trapped by Hurricane Katrina. What follows is an extraordinary portrait of terror, survival, and redemption. The film makes you question all over again the events surrounding the hurricane and how Americans think about and respond to natural disasters. An absolute MUST-SEE film!
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The Unforeseen (2007)

Laura Dunn (93 min., color, DV, US)

Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00pm

Monona Terrace Convention Center

The Unforeseen screenshotGary Bradley is an ambitious west Texas farm boy who becomes an Austin real estate developer and skillfully capitalizes on the growth of this 1970s boomtown. At the peak of his powers, he transforms 4000 acres of pristine Hill Country into one of the state’s largest and fastest-selling subdivisions. When the development threatens a treasure of Austin, Barton Springs, a naturally spring-fed swimming hole and limestone aquifer, the community fights back. The drama that unfolds combines urban sprawl, the savings & loan crisis of the 1980s, a mulitnational mining company, the Texas Legislature, and a lot of zoning loopholes. “One of the most extraordinary accomplishments in recent American nonfiction filmmaking. It hits hard as to facts, and opens its eyes to inexpressible mysteries. It strikes a clear moral and philosophical stance, and then — as part of that philosophical stance, actually — reveals its villain as a tragic and sympathetic figure. It’s a tale of breathtaking, anti-democratic evil worthy of Chinatown, but The Unforeseen is something richer and less easy to categorize than a fatalistic fable of capitalist greed and political corruption. — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com. Winner, Truer Than Fiction Award, 2007 Spirit Awards. 2007 Sundance, South by Southwest, Woodstock, Vancouver, London Film Festivals. (Description developed for the Wisconsin Film Festival)
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Unravel (2012)

Meghna Gupta (14 min., color, U.K., Digital File, In Hindi with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Unravel screenshotWhen the West's clothes are truly no longer wanted by anyone, they travel to a place unheard of by most people -- Panipat, India. Here, after a journey of thousands of miles clothes are sorted by color, stripped of buttons and snaps, and then gradually unravelled back into yarn and thread to be reused in other clothes. Reshma and her friends work at one of the city's cloth recycling factories. In this lively short, we see the world through their eyes, as they imagine the places these clothes have traveled from and the lives of the people who would wear such things. Official selection of the Silverdocs, Sydney, Edinburgh Short, Austin, and Calgary Film Festivals. (Screened with Megacities)
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Upstream Battle (2008)

Ben Kampas (59 min., color, PAL Digibeta, Germany)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 4:15 pm

UW Cinematheque

Upstream BattleHailed by reviewers as "one of the Toronto Film Festival's Must See Films" and a powerfully "rare story of environmental triumph," German director Ben Kempas' Upstream Battle takes us to the Klamath River in northern California, where Native American tribes have spent decades fighting to preserve their traditional fishing rights from the threats of damming and agriculture. Yet the battle over these fishing rights, like so many environmental tales, is not a simple story of right and wrong. As the operators of the local dams point out, in an era when carbon emissions and global warming are of paramount concern, hydroelectric power offers one of the cleanest sources of energy. Ultimately, Upstream Battle offers hope that even in the most complex environmental challenges, there may be room for compromise and constructive outcomes. (Screened with Men of the Lake)
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Voyage to Next (1974)

John Hubley (9.5 min., color, DVD, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 7:30 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Voyage to NextMother Earth and Father Time examine the state of the planet Earth. Humankind has divided itself into a system of nationalistic boxes. Father Time projects twenty years of horror. Mother Earth and Father Time discuss the foolish choices humans have made in the past. The humans realize their plight and begin to imagine their preferred worlds. One of several films by John and Faith Hubley shown as part of a retrospective celebration of their work. (Screened with Yes Men Fix the World)

Waste Land (2010)

Lucy Walker (98 min., color, Blu-Ray, US, In English and Portuguese with English Subtitles)

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 8 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Waste Land screenshotBrazilian-born artist Vik Muniz has won international acclaim for his artwork made from recycled materials. But his work took on deeper resonance when he returned to Rio de Janerio and visited the pickers working Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world. Making portraits of the pickers using materials from the landfill itself, Muniz helps to raise funds for new equipment, training, a library, and community improvement. A heart-warming and critically-acclaimed portrait of the power of art to make social change, this film is a reminder that we have more means available to us than we may think to create change for causes close to our hearts. Academy Award nominee and winner of awards at the Sundance, Berlin, Seattle, and Sao Paulo Film Festivals. (Screened with Automania 2000)
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The Weather War (2013)

Lars Bergström, Mats Bigert (58 min., color, Sweden, Blu-Ray, In English and Swedish with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Weather War screenshotLars Bergström and Mats Bigert are interested in humans' obsession with control -- specifically, what drives people to try to control nature and bend it to their purposes. In Weather War, these zany Swedish visionaries travel to the United States' tornado belt with a special machine-sculpture to explore whether this could possibly help control the weather by deflecting tornadoes. As they journey with stormchasers and meterologists amid heart-stopping thunderstorms and tornadoes touching down, they also take us on a larger journey through the global history of efforts to control the weather, whether for military ends or to try to avert calamity in the face of climate change. What is the future of such endeavors in a world where climate issues and people becoming refugees from weather events are increasingly a reality? A fascinating film profiling individuals with an offbeat style, this one is well worth checking out! Official selection of the Docville International, Planete Doc International and CinemAbiente Environmental Film Festivals. (Screened with Promised Land)
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What's on Your Plate? (2009)

Catherine Gund (73 min., color, DVD, US)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 10:00 am

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

What's on Your PlateFrom books - such as Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma - to films - such as Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me and Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney's King Corn - the American public has received numerous warnings in the last 10 years about the changing global food system and its consequences for public health and the environment. But Catherine Gund raises the question of whether these messages are reaching our most vulnerable food consumers - America's children. In this rollicking film, Gund follows two New York City pre-teens, Sadie and Safiyah, as they take their own journey across the systems that provide them with food and take charge of their health against the onslaught of unhealthy food choices bombarding them. An official selection of the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, What's On Your Plate? is a film your whole family should experience together. Filmmakers were in attendance.
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Whither Weather (1977)

Faith Hubley (10 min., color, 35mm, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 2:00 pm

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Whither WeatherWhither Weather explores the interplay between Earth life and Earth climate. We see how weather affects food; how food, or lack of it, affects people, and how people, in turn, affect weather. We experience the current eco-catastrophe and wonder whether our tampering will result in a new ice age or in an equally dangerous global heating. Part of a retrospective of the award-winning animation of John and Faith Hubley. (Screened with Second Chance: Sea and Children of the Sun)

Wild New York (2009)

Adam Welz (24 min., color, PAL DVD, South Africa)

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 11:00 am

UW Cinematheque

Wild New YorkIn the past two decades, many jaded New Yorkers have come to realize that nature truly is everywhere, even in a place as seemingly human-dominated and artificial as New York City. Sightings of coyotes and celebrity critters, such as the red-tailed hawks Pale Male and Lola, have given the human fauna of the city a renewed sense of kinship with their non-human cousins. Adam Welz's engaging Wild New York offers a lively profile of some of the people who have become dedicated urban wildlife watchers and the hawks, kestrels, and peregrine falcons that have provided them with company in the midst of the United States' most urbanized landscape. Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Milking the Rhino) (Photo credit: © Francois Portmann)

A Will For the Woods (2013)

Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale, Brian Wilson (93 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Sons of the Land screenshotWhat happens to us when we die -- not our souls, but our earthly remains? For the majority of Americans today, we will be buried, cremated, or entombed in a method that releases toxic chemicals into the environment and prevents our bodies from decaying. When Duke University psychiatrist Clark Wang found out that he had terminal leukemia, he decided he wanted a different fate. Tapping into the burgeoning "green burial" movement, Wang helped convince cemetaries and other land owners in North Carolina to create natural spaces where bodies can be laid to rest as simply as possible in beautiful environments. Moreover, he discovered that in so doing he might help to preserve land even after his death. A beautiful, uplifting film with amazing access to Wang and his family as they face the last five years of his life, this film will leave you with a sense of hope about our ability to find peace in meeting everyone's inescapable fate. Official selection of the Full Frame and AFI Docs Film Festivals. Film was followed by a discussion of green burials led by the coordinator of the Natural Step Sanctuary, Dane County's first green cemetery.
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The Winged Scourge (1943)

Bill Justice and Bill Roberts (10 min., color, DVD, US)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

The Winged Scourge screenshotThere's a menace on the loose and it could be coming to a window screen near you -- the anopheles mosquito, carrier of the dreaded malaria! In 1943, as part of the war effort, the U.S. government enlisted Disney to spread the word about how to deal with this deadly and tiny threat. In turn, Disney turned to seven of its most bankable stars (you may know them as Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Dopey, and Doc)! Some of the dwarves' techniques for malaria control -- filling wetlands and spraying oil on the surface of ponds -- no longer enjoy favor among environmentalists, whereas others, namely spraying chemicals, continue to provoke unresolved debates among environmental and public health advocates. One of the earliest films to promote chemical control of mosquitoes and a classic example of wartime propaganda. (Screened with DDT -- Weapon Against Disease and CBS Reports: The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson)

Yes Men Fix the World (2009)

Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, and Kurt Engfehr (90 min., color, Digibeta, US)

Sunday, November 8, 2009, 7:30 pm

Wisconsin Union Theater

Yes Men Fix the WorldFollowing up on their smash success from 2003, The Yes Men, professional rabble-rousers Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are back in a sequel, Yes Men Fix the World. The mission of The Yes Men is to produce razor-edged satire that exposes corporate hypocrisy and the institutions of power around the globe that lock us into unsustainable lifestyles without our knowledge or consent. In their first film, the target was the World Trade Organization. This time around, they are taking on a variety of corporate targets - Dow Chemical Company and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility in the Bhopal disaster, Exxon-Mobil, contractors cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina, and more. The only film at our festivals that opened with a rousing water ballet and that managed to knock $2 billion off the stock value of a single corporation - almost 400 people joined us for a rousing end to the 2009 festival weekend! A selection of the 2009 Sundance, Berlin, and Hot Docs Film Festivals and winner of the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival! (Screened with Voyage to Next)
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