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D.C. Environmental Film Fest Starts Today

Everything from escargot to Everest is on the agenda for the 13th annual D.C. Environmental Film Festival, which begins today and runs through March 20.

The festival will present 108 films, nearly half of which are premieres. The festival will take place in a variety of locations in the D.C. area, including libraries, embassies, the National Geographic Society, and even the Capitol Hill Starbucks.

The festival grew out of the Earth Watch film awards, founded by Flo Stone, according to D.C. Environmental Film Festival Executive Director Megan Newell. Newell said that Stone found the D.C. area a great venue to bring environmental films to the public and “encourage the public’s attention” toward these films and environmental issues.

Newell said the festival works with 60 organizations, including environmental groups and institutions such as the Smithsonian, embassies and libraries, to choose which films have an environmental tilt.

“This is a collaborative festival, so selecting the films is a collaborative effort,” Newell said.

The films tackle a diverse range of environmental issues from the documentary “Thirsty Planet,” which explores shortages of clean drinking water, to “The Future of Food,” which looks at the vulnerabilities of the American food supply.

Filming wildlife is a central theme in this year’s festival. Among the guests expected to appear are wildlife filmmaker Chris Palmer and director Tristan Bayer, who co-directed the film “Earthling.”

Yet several of the films feature more unconventional topics that one may not think of as an “environmental” film. For example, the Capitol Hill Starbucks will feature a two-minute collage highlighting how coffee gets from crops to the cup.

In addition, the National Museum of Natural History will feature “Iraq Under Fire: A Photographer at War” on March 13. The film chronicles the life of a photographer in the Iraqi war zone.

The festival will also present several films for families and children, including the March 14 screening of “Roar: Lions of the Kalahari,” a real-life version of “The Lion King” with a duel between African lions, which will be shown at the National Museum of Natural History, and the March 15 presentation of “Brighty of the Grand Canyon,” based on the book by Marguerite Henry. It will be shown at the Library of Congress.

The festival will also show many international films through various embassies. On March 14, the Embassy of Austria will screen “Darwin’s Nightmare,” which is billed as a “scathing commentary” on poverty in Tanzania as a result of globalization. The Embassy of the Czech Republic will also feature four Czech films.

While many of the films are free and open to the public, some have a nominal fee or require a reservation. For more information, visit www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.

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