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RECAP: Planet in Focus Film Festival

RECAP: Planet in Focus Film Festival

The Planet in Focus International Film Festival is a yearly event held by Planet in Focus, an environmental media arts organization which strives to enlighten, engage, and entertain audiences of all backgrounds. They promote the use of film and video that explores perspectives of the world we live in; enhancing public awareness and discussions on a multitude of environmental issues. 

The team at FBI STYLE was graciously given the chance to screen select films featured at the festival and we’re giving our readers an overview of them below!    

1.0 The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

Radical. Unbelievable. Empowering. It’s time for the dirty truth about corporations to be unveiled. 

Following the 2003 documentary The Corporation, this film is it’s unfortunately necessary sequel. Revealing the true intentions of corporations that advertise they are helping the planet when they are in fact the ones destroying it, we also see how people have the power to stand up to them. Amongst social injustice issues, global greenhouse gas emissions, and the like that corporations are feeding into, The New Corporation also highlights new beliefs and movements that are causing people to wake up and hope and dream again. 

Does the media control us or do we control the media? One thing is for sure, “media silence is violence.” 

2.0 Meat The Future

Tackling social and environmental issues, this film follows the processing of the first lab-grown meat by a leading tech startup in Silicon Valley. Revolutionizing the concept of sustainability in food, the new “clean meat” was discovered by stem-cell engineering, and the team at Memphis Meats has been working to make it more accessible for consumers. 

In this film, we learn that greenhouse gases are being caused by factory farming and animal agriculture along with the global overconsumption of meat, which is leading us to the sixth mass extinction on earth. Their revolutionary goal is to separate the animal from meat-making entirely, and instead use samples of live muscle and tissue cells found throughout the animal, thereby not requiring the death of a single animal. 

3.0 Environmental Racism Shorts 

These films create awareness for multiple issues we face in our communities. From the need for healthy food provisions in the Black Creek Community to renewable energy powering a low-income Highland Park community, and diverse perspectives regarding land and clean air in marginalized communities, these enlightening films were easy to watch and understand. They inspire us to think about being change-makers and be a part of the solution to today’s environmental problems. 

3.1 Healing Our Community: Black Creek Community Farms

This film raises awareness about the Black Creek, Jane and Finch community, and in particular the Black Creek Community Farm. Relying mainly on government grants, this community farm provides fresh, organic produce to low-income families and hosts free activities for all ages. They promote health and well-being in a community where it’s otherwise not supported. 

3.2 How to Power a City: Highland Park

When renewable energy is brought to low-income communities it is usually disregarded as a place that can benefit from it. The City of Highland Park instead, comes together to create a smart eco-village that is highlighted in this short film. 

3.3 On The Fenceline: A Fight for Clean Air 

“Change happens from the bottom up. So you have to mobilize people in order to make that change.” This film features Philly Thrive, a marginalized community group in Philadelphia that protests against the pollution from a 150-year-old refinery in their city, fighting for the right to clean air. 

3.4 This Land

Featuring the life of a local Oregon advocate and runner, this engaging and cinematically breath-taking short film is about public land access from a different perspective. Highlighting the roots of segregation in Oregon, this story is told through a journey of inclusion and empowerment.  

4.0 We Don’t Deserve Dogs

We Don’t Deserve Dogs depicts stories of local dogs and their owners in 11 different countries. From herd dogs in Romania,and truffle-sniffing dogs in Italy, to therapy dogs in Uganda, and its Kukur Tihar dog festival, this documentary shows us bonds and relationships between humans and dogs from different cultural perspectives. 

Through Matthew Salleh’s camera lens, viewers are taken through every step of the journey and every inspiring, sad and heartwarming testimony. Each story, as different as they are from each other, are linked by the protective, loyal, forgiving and non-judgemental qualities of man’s best friend. 

5.0 Makongo

In Makongo, Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino takes us to the village of Mongoumba in the Central African Republic, where the pygmy community faces numerous challenges of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to education. 

Two friends, André and Albert, regularly harvest and sell in Makongo in order to raise enough money to send village children to school. The pair embark on long journeys from deep tropical forests near their native village to the big city markets where they face mockery and hardships. Through this documentary-style film, Ngaïbino shows us how two young entrepreneurs go against all odds and work hard to break down barriers, to achieve a common goal of helping their community. 

Inspiring and poignant, Makongo is a tale of courage and tenacity that reminds usf how trivial our first world issues can be when compared to the bigger picture. 

The festival has wrapped for this year but keep your eyes peeled for when the films come out for public viewing in the near future.

Contributed by: Nicole Macina & Rim Chigr

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