THE FESTIVAL | 2021
The official selection is going online this year due to COVID-19, but we won't let that stop us from spreading the word!
The selection will be live to watch from the 7th through the 14th of May. Nominations are coming soon!
DATES & TIMES
KISS THE GROUND
Directors: Josh Tickell & Rebecca Tickell
Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle.
This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species future.
MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY
Directors: Lisa Molomot & Jeff Bemiss
Two families search for their loved ones who went missing in the vast ranch lands of Brooks County, Texas, the site of more migrant deaths than anywhere else in the country. On their journey, they meet vigilante ranchers, humanitarian activists, Border Patrol search and rescue teams, and others locked in a proxy version of the national immigration debate.
(BIGGEST AND BADDEST)
Director: Peter von Puttkamer
Churchill, a town in the Canadian Sub-Arctic deals with increasing bear attacks due to (global) warming seas- and a late freeze up of the predator’s hunting grounds. Biologist Niall McCann investigates attack stories and the town’s Polar Bear jail. Each year people here face hundreds of Polar Bears migrating across their town from the nearby river to the sea- hoping to hunt seals on the frozen oceans. Now bears are left waiting without food to sustain them: Global warming is creating a deadly situation for people living with the world’s largest land predator.
THE EDGE OF EXISTENCE
Directors: James Suter & Charlie Luckock
The Edge of Existence is a long-format documentary, set in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti, that sets out to uncover and document the untold story of human-wildlife conflict in Africa. Human-wildlife conflict is a global issue that has reached crisis levels, threatening the survival of both humans and wild animals. There are communities living alongside wildlife in some of the last remaining wilderness areas on earth. These wilderness areas have started disappearing because of expanding human development, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources, which has left humans and wildlife living in closer proximity than ever before. The conflict arises as a result of the competition for limited space and resources between communities and wildlife. The situation is dire, and if it is not addressed urgently, it will have a catastrophic effect on the environment and on communities that live alongside wild animals daily.
RACE TO ALASKA
Director: Zach Carver
The Race to Alaska is an adrenaline-fueled, 750-mile boat race through the dangerous and spectacular wilderness of the Inside Passage to Alaska.
Described as “the Iditarod, on a boat, with a chance of drowning or being eaten by a grizzly bear,” it’s amazing anyone enters at all. There are no motors and no support – and nobody finishes without a story.
We follow the visceral experience of racers as they compete in one of the most difficult endurance challenges in the world. This race pushes people to find new depths, and discover new layers of themselves. The film is a raw and often times hilarious account of pulling through, again and again – a window into what collective stamina looks like.
A SIMPLE HAIRCUT
Director: Dorothea Sterian
An old Romanian lady sits down for a routine haircut and recounts a traumatic, life-changing event. A visual exploration of grief, loneliness and resilience.
A personal homage to the incredible strength of the filmmaker's only grandparent left alive.
Director: Kieran Baxter
Glaciers reflect our past and reveal our future. Historical aerial photographs of Iceland’s glaciers can now be reconstructed in three dimensions and overlaid with current day images to shed light on the impacts of recent anthropogenic climate change. Four years in the making, this short film brings imagery from the archives of the National Land Survey of Iceland together with intimate footage of six outlet glaciers in the Hornafjörður region of Southeast Iceland to tell the breathtaking story of a rapidly disappearing frozen world.
AGUILUCHO: DANCE OF THE HARPY EAGLE
Director: Daniel Byers
In the remote Darién Gap rainforest, indigenous communities face the advance of loggers and cattle ranchers, an existential threat to their way of life and the ecosystem upon which they rely. When a rare Harpy Eagle nest is discovered near their community, the Emberá tribe of Playa Muerto find an unlikely ally. By protecting their lands and the Eagle's habitat, they can benefit from the ecotourism she attracts, and reconnect with their own traditional heritage.
Aguilucho: Dance of the Harpy Eagle is an exploration of a renewed relationship between the tribe and the great raptor. From the development of collaborative science and monitoring practices to the revival of an ancient Eagle Dance, it shows an inspiring model for conserving both a culture and a rainforest.
Director: John Summerson
A group of twenty-somethings, coping with the sudden loss of a close friend, do the only thing that makes sense to them in their time of grief: they put on a play.
Director: Kaia Rose
"We had to live the American Dream twice."
An intimate portrait of a sweet shop that has been an anchor for the Japanese-American community in Little Tokyo since 1903. The ingredients of the brightly-colored pieces of mochi-gashi that line Fugetsu-Do's wood-paneled cases include so much more than rice flour and sweet bean paste. Mixed inside are stories of joy and pain, tradition and racism, legacy and loss. Survival is never easy; it’s complicated and messy, full of contradictions and surprises. In the three generations that the Kito Family has been running Fugetsu-Do, the store has become a memory bank for the community and the stories that line its walls could not be more relevant in today's America.
ILLUMINATING THE DARK FLEET
Director: Ryan Ffrench
Rampant Illegal Fishing Exposed in North Korean Waters.
Groundbreaking analysis from Global Fishing Watch, published in Science Advances, marks the beginning of a new era in satellite monitoring of global fishing activity and reinforces the importance of greater transparency to fight illegal fishing.
LIFE OF SKYE
MAKE ART WYOMING
Director: Chris Hewitt
Life of Skye is a short documentary on the fascinating life of SKYE the rapper. A Christian who, for a brief while, lost his way and ended up behind bars. This is a heart-warming story of his reform, being accepted into Cambridge University and his continuing youth work.
Director: Laura Lardeux
Looking Forward ("Avenir" in French) is the charming and uplifting portrait of a collective in search of meaning, in the shadow of global warming. This 26-minute documentary tells the story of a group of people who get politically involved for the first time. In an attempt to get elected to the town council, they tackle the issues of climate crisis and democracy, which threaten their Alpine ski-resort, La Clusaz.
Director: Anthony Stengel
A story of small town artists, the art culture in Wyoming, and how 5 local artists manage making a living creating art in small town Wyoming.
MORE THAN TIME
Director: Carl Hunter
During Lockdown in Liverpool, anonymous messages about 'missing and memory' were left on an answer machine. These ghostly messages float above still photographs of an empty Liverpool UK. The film is a place where memory populates the streets of a once vibrant city, instead of its people.
A poetic response to the COVID pandemic.
MYCELIUM: AN URBAN FOOD UPRISING
Directors: Christine Schindler & Nathan Gibson
When bushfires and a pandemic hit Australia in 2020, fresh produce skyrocketed in price, and supermarket shelves emptied. Tired of relying on fragile food systems, an inner-city Brisbane community, with the support of their local councillor, Jonathan Sri, planted an urban food uprising. A group of activists transformed abandoned plots into urban farms and orchards, gardening enthusiasts sprouted seedling swaps in their backyard, and neighbourhood residents planted sidewalk verges with shared edibles. This is a film about resilience in the face of crisis, how a community challenges state ownership of land, and how growing and giving away fresh food is an act of resistance.
MYRTLE SIMPSON: A LIFE ON ICE
Director: Leigh Anne Sides
Myrtle Simpson - trailblazer, pioneer, adventurer, mountain climber, polar explorer, writer, and mother. In 2017, over fifty years after she became the first woman to cross the polar ice cap covering Greenland, she was awarded the Polar Medal - a gift from Queen Elizabeth II as thanks for services in the Arctic. Myrtle's life has taken her around the globe, journeys on which she insisted on taking her four children while she and her husband Hugh pursued their work and passion. Myrtle faced harsh criticism for 'putting her children in harm's way but defiantly persisted, telling the newspapers, tv and radio that these experiences enriched her children's lives far beyond their typical everyday experiences in Glasgow. From Spitzbergen to Greenland, from the North Pole to the Highlands of Scotland, from New Zealand to Peru, Myrtle has blazed her own trail. She has experienced places most people only dream about, all while writing 13 books, collecting specimens for museum botanical collections and raising four children. Today, at the age of 89 she still competes in downhill ski races, hikes, bikes and swims and believes there are more adventures to be had at any age.
Director: T.C. Johnstone
A group of young pilots attempt to carry on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen while struggling to overcome racism and prejudice in today's world.
STAYING SANE (DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC)
Director: Dorothea Sterian
Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, a young filmmaker recounts her struggle to cope with life in lockdown - and make a documentary about it.
THAI COUNTRY LIVING
Directors: Ben Tubby & Dan Tubby
'Thai Country Living' follows the life of Suman - a craftsman and farmer from Thailand's north-east Isaan region. Suman spends his days surrounded by cows and chickens pondering the importance of family tradition, community, and country life.
THE BEST AND WORST OF US
Director: Jasyn Howes
A short documentary film about Armand Hough, a photojournalist from Cape Town South Africa, who documented lockdown for the local newspapers whilst simultaneously exposing the realities of what was going on during this time via his Instagram. Made from a combination of footage shot with him over the course of two days as well as his own visual material captured on his mobile phone throughout lockdown and stills he took with his camera, as well as footage sent to him via WhatsApp groups.
THE INVISIBLE MONSTER
THE LAST VAQUITA
Directors: Guillermo Fesser Perez de Petinto & Javier Fesser Perez de Petinto
Aminodin's father always smiles because he says "happy people live longer". That's why, at eight years old, Aminodin puts his best smile while working at the Papandayan dump, where he lives with his family. Her cousin Aliman, on the other hand, lost his when bombs started falling from the sky in the city of Marawi.
Director: Ed Harrison
With the Vaquita Porpoise on the brink of extinction, two brothers who collaborate as wildlife artists leave their studio behind and head to a small fishing town in Mexico. They board the M/V Farley Mowat to experience the front-line fight between ocean conservationists Sea Shepherd and the poachers, backed by the Mexican cartel, who are devastating countless marine species.
Caught up in a tale of greed and corruption, they witness a battle that seems all but lost and find themselves questioning their place in the world. Can they use their craft to take action amidst today’s Sixth Mass Extinction?
THE NEGOTIATORS: EP. 1 - PIRATE HIJACK
Director: Indra Nienhaus
A pro bono team of hostage negotiators take on a near impossible case: to free 29 fishermen who have been held hostage by Somali pirates for over two years - with almost no money to bargain with.
THOSE IN GRASS HOUSES
TIME AND TIDE
Director: Christian Lawes
Sociable Weavers engineer the biggest nest built by any bird. Within these enormous structures they live a fascinating social life, but can their family bonds protect them from the dangers of life in the savannah.
Director: Caleb Yule
The beaches of Hartlepool, in the North East of England, are where seacoalers have worked and prospered for centuries. Steve and Keith are the last two seacoalers working today, and despite the government phasing out coal in under two years’ time, they remain proud of their craft and the life it has given them.
WAITING FOR JEAN PAUL
Rocafort Castle was built in the heart of the French Alps in 1090 and destroyed in 1305. For seven centuries, no one looked after it, and the ruins of the building were eventually buried and forgotten.
Until the year 2000…
700 years waiting for Jean Paul.
Director: Nicholas Rodd
Across the eastern coast of the Black Sea, through the foothills of the Southern Caucasus Mountains one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles takes place. Over a million birds of prey pass through a narrow bottleneck in Georgia. Below them, scientists and birders eagerly watch and record the skies whilst at the same time local traditions send showers of bullets and nets snapping in their direction.
A clash of ideals and beliefs, this film will take you into the heart of an evolving story. A story which explores a clash of western ideals with local customs, a shared love and excitement for the magic that is migration, a world apart in how they enjoy the spectacle. A conflict waiting to happen or an opportunity to show a new way in which conservationists can work together with local communities to avoid a deep and bitter battle, safeguarding the future of migration in Georgia.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD
THE WILD ANIMAL AWARD
THE HERITAGE AWARD
BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT
BEST BRITISH SHORT
BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY
*WINNERS WILL BE DENOTED WITH ASTEREKS*