Adrian Sutherland

Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival Follows TIFF Hoopla

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a still from Revenge of the Electric Car, the opening night film at Planet In FocusA month after the hoopla of the Toronto International Film Festival has subsided, another Toronto film festival begins, this one entirely focused on films with an environmental angle. 

Kicking off with the gala film opening, Revenge of the Electric Car, and closing with the gala screening of The Whale, the 12th annual Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival runs from Oct. 12 to 16 and features screenings, panels, workshops and pitch sessions. There is also a free children’s film fest component.

Revenge of the Electric Car is director Chris Paine’s followup to his 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?, which exposed how thousands of electric cars were purposely destroyed in 2003 by the very manufacturer that built them. For the new film, narrated by actor/director/producer Tim Robbins, Paine goes behind closed doors of Nissan, GM, and Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the global resurgence of the electric car.  The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this year on Earth Day (April 22).

The Whale, directed by Suzanne Chisholm and David Parfit, tells the true-life story of Luna, a baby orca who gets separated from his family and starts to make friends with humans on the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island. The documentary was executive produced by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and his wife, actress Scarlett Johannson, and is narrated by Reynolds.

This year, Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival will also focus on a landscape theme. “We are excited to be presenting a diversity of films that examine how human-made and natural landscapes shape our identity and future,” explained Kathleen Mullen, director of programming, in a press statement.

The full program schedule will be announced Sept. 22.

a still from The Whale, the closing night film at Planet In FocusCanadian filmmakers with environmental story ideas are also eligible to enter The Green Pitch competition. Pitching to a panel of professionals, finalists will get immediate feedback and the chance to win $5,000 in development funding and in-kind services.

There is also a free school program for elementary and secondary school students with films designed to educate and inspire. There are animated and short films for children ages 3 to 6 and 7 to 13 and the Green Sprouts Youth Filmmakers Showcase presenting films made by 13 to 18 year olds.

Planet In Focus is a not-for-profit environmental media arts organization, producing year-round programming across Canada and around the world and fostering a new generation of environmental filmmakers.

Tickets range from $5 for 5 p.m. screenings on weekdays and first screenings on weekends (on sale after Sept. 23) to $130 for an all-access pass at regular price.  There are lower early-bird prices now until the 23rd.  

For more information: http://planetinfocus.org/film-festival/

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