FILM – Memoirs of a Plague

Plane flying over a field through a swarm of locustsMemoirs of a Plague
Category: Environmental Ethics
Release Date: 2010
Duration: 75 minutes
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The plague of grasshoppers that infested Australia in September 2010 was the most massive in that country’s history—and filmmaker Robert Nugent was there, turning his camera on the farmers, residents, and crops affected by the insects. While desperate towns tried to combat the grasshoppers, Nugent used it as an opportunity to frame the story in a more expansive context; the finished product, the 2011 “Memoirs of a Plague,” is about “the tension between ecology, fate, civilization, and science.” The film was selected for IDFA’s Green Screen competition for its focus on the interaction between humanity and its environment.

See the complete listing of Environmental Films.

FILM – Queen of the Sun

Logo with bee and sunflowerQueen of the Sun
Category: Ecosystem Services
Release Date: 2010
Duration: 83 minutes

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In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. His prediction has come true with Colony Collapse Disorder, where bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. In an alarming inquiry into the insights behind Steiner’s prediction QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? examines the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and philosophers. On a pilgrimage around the world, the film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, highlighting how our historic and sacred relationship with bees has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. Featuring Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Gunther Hauk and beekeepers from around the world, this engaging, alarming and ultimately uplifting film weaves together a dramatic story that uncovers the problems and solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature. 2010 nominee at the Seattle International Film Festival; Official Selection International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

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FILM – Cane Toads: The Conquest

Two Cane Toads on a log staring at the cameraCane Toads: The Conquest
Category: Invasive Species
Release Date: 2009
Duration: 85 min.

The trailer for “Cane Toads: The Conquest” seems like a lighthearted take on classic horror films—but the move is anything but.  Sure, northern Australia wasn’t attacked by the Blob or the 50-Foot Woman, but for residents, the cane toads have been just as life-changing.  Director Mark Lewis follows the toads as they make their way across the country, using 3D film technology and custom equipment to put together a comic—and powerful—look at the problems of invasive species. The 2010 film was an award nominee at Sundance, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Seattle International Film Festival.

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For a complete listing of environmental films see: Environmental Films.

FILM – The New Frontier: Sustainable Ranching in the American West

Rugged looking cowboy with a herd of cows behind himThe New Frontier: Sustainable Ranching in the American West

Category: Agricultural Ethics
Release Date: 2010
Duration: 27 Minutes

The documentary is co-directed and co-produced by UNT faculty members, Irene Klaver and Melinda Levin, and has been officially selected by the US Department of State for the American Documentary Showcase.
In the face of growing population and increasing development and residential sub-divisions, three ranchers—from Texas, Colorado and New Mexico—demonstrate how they are integrating their ranching into their respective ecosystems, taking care to sustain and maintain the watershed, wildlife migration and the land, while supporting their respective livelihoods.  This film depicts a classic American conceit—the American West and the cowboys and ranchers who settled there—and brings it into 21st century thinking, in which the characters evince an environmentalist’s passion for sustainability and conservation.

For a complete listing of environmental films see: Environmental Films (2006)

FILM – Earth Days

Environmental buttons in the shape of the earth

Earth Days

Category: Environmental History
Release Date: 2009
Duration: 109 minutes

This documentary movie explores the origins of the modern environmental movement in the United States through nine Americans who helped propel the beginnings of the movement through the first Earth Day in 1970 and beyond: Stewart Brand, Paul Ehrlich, Dennis Hayes, Hunter Lovins, Pete McCloskey, Dennis Meadows, Stephanie Mills, Rusty Schweickart, and Stewart Udall. The movie focuses on the revolutionary achievements of ground-breaking environmental activism, as well as missed environmental opportunities. Supplementary website includes teacher’s guide, in-depth interviews, and additional resources.

For a complete listing of environmental films see: Environmental Films (2006)