Now in our 20th year, Planet in Focus is an environmental media arts organization with year-round programming. Our mandate is to produce cultural events that showcase engaging and artistic films that question, explore, and tell stories about the world in which we live. We use film as a catalyst for public awareness, discussion and engagement on a broad range of environmental issues.
Highlights including Brett Story ’s The Hottest August , recently awarded the Green Dox award at the 2019 Kosovo Dokufest. Story’s acclaimed observation documentary offers a cumulative portrait of New Yorkers shot over August 2017, will screen as part of PIF’s Opening Night Gala at The Royal Cinema on October 15th. The Hottest August is one of several Canadian highlights in the program, which also includes Mirjam Leuze 's The Whale and the Raven , which traces the work of marine researchers Janie Wray and Hermann Meuter in British Columbia’s Hartley Bay and it’s fragile marine corridor; Shahab Mihandoust and Ariane Lorrain ’s poetic, award-winning Zagros , which traces the production of artistinal rugs in western Iran; and Naomi Mark's How to Bee , a touching exploration of a father-daughter relationship seen through an intergenerational beekeeping; and Thierry Loa 's experimental 20-22 OMEGA , a kaleidoscopic collage of modern life shot all around the world.
A number of features directly confront the urgency of our current climate crisis in a variety of artistic approaches, including Tom Burke 's Losing Alaska , an intimate portrait of the Yup’ik community in Newtok, Alaska, who face existential threat by disappearing land; Nicolas Geyrhalter ’s Earth , a precise and cinematic documentary examination of our insatiable addition to resource extraction; and Judith Helfand 's Cooked: Survival by Zip Code , a fiery indictment of racism and the booming ‘disaster preparedness’ industry.
Wildlife remains an important topic for filmmakers, and several highlights explore stories of animals and insects, including Floor Van Der Meulen 's The Last Male on Earth , a sly documentary about the final years of Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino; Ivan Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut ’s Los Reyes , a deceptively rich portrayal of canine companionship seen through the teens who frequent a Chilean skatepark; and Flavio Marchetti 's Animals and Other People, a Frederick Wiseman-esque institutional portrait, with the filmmakers’ cameras trained on the humans and creatures that populate and pass through the Vienna Animal Shelter. Several of this year’s films focus on the perennially-relevant issues of food and agriculture, including Josh Murphy ’s Artifishal , an urgent investigation in fish hatcheries and their relationship to declining wild salmon stocks; Tim Shephard ’s Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story , genre-bending examination of the sourcing and production of craft chocolate; and Enrico Parenti and Stefano Liberti 's Soyalism , which reveals the unexpectedly global impact of soybean production.
As ever, the program includes a number of equally dynamic short films, with this year’s highlights including The Flaming Rage of the Sea by Rosanna Greaves , which looks at the shifting landscapes of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands, which exist below sea level; Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush 's A Meeting of Young Minds , in which a group of young Inuus exchange ideas big and small, discussing their lives and issues related to their community's environment; and Xin Liu 's A World Without , a meditative, speculative short shot in Alberta that images a world free of human presence.
Previously announced programming includes the Festival launch presentation of Jasmin Herold and Michael Beamish ’s Dark Eden on Tuesday 1 October at The Royal Cinema, which will also honour the 2019 Canadian Eco-Hero Melina Laboucan-Massimo . Also announced is the Closing Night Gala, where Academy Award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos will be awarded the 2019 International Eco-Hero Award before a 10th anniversary screening of his landmark documentary The Cove.