Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rio Fest Environmental Film Fest Makes Return

The RioFest Environmental Film Festival returns to Macey Center after last year’s hiatus to present an array of films on environmental issues.
The festival will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29-30.
Movies to be screened over the two days range from shorts to full length feature films, the festival’s executive director, Frances Deters said in a press release.
“This year’s theme is ‘Solutions,’ and we’re proud to offer a wide variety of films that can inspire people to seek solutions to the environmental problems we face,” Deters said. “Riofest seeks to empower its patrons by educating them and then providing them with opportunities to engage in sustainable practices.”
Among the 25 films scheduled, three have received critical acclaim by movie critics and the environmental movement; Food, Inc., The Music Tree and King Corn.
The two-day event takes place Jan. 29-30 at Macey Center on the New Mexico Tech campus, said Frances Deters, the film festival’s executive director.
Friday night’s feature will be Brazilian director Otavio Juliano’s The Music Tree, which had its world premiere earlier this year. The movie examines the plight of the Pernambuco tree in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. The wood from the Pernambuco is considered the finest for the manufacture of violin, viola and cello bows and has been used since Mozart was composing masterpieces 250 years ago. The film documents efforts to save the trees and the music that depends on it.
Saturday’s matinee will be King Corn, a 2007 documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm.
RioFest will screen Food, Inc as the featured film to close the festival Saturday night. The movie examines the current method of raw food production, which is largely a response to the growth of the fast food industry since the 1950s. The production of food overall has more drastically changed since that time than the several thousand years prior. Filmmaker Robert Kenner reveals shocking truths about the food we eat, where it came from and how some forward-thinking entrepreneurs are offering solutions to problems plaguing America’s food industry.
Deters said “cinema has the unique ability to engage emotions through communal relationships between individuals and communities.
“We want to expose people to those communities and healthy ways to get involved with their ideas” she said.
Other feature-length films to be shown during the weekend include Chaparri, the Seven Bears of the Sacred Mountain; The Greening of Southie; and Addicted to Plastic.
RioFest Environmental Film Festival will also be showing the hour-long 1997 movie Affluenza, and its sequel, Escape from Affluenza. The films deal with the social and environmental consequences of materialism and over-consumption, and profiles of people working for solutions to bring a better balance between people and the environment.
The festival will also include the Meatrix series of short animations. Spoofing The Matrix movies, The Meatrix is a creative and humorous approach to educating viewers about factory crop and dairy farming. The Meatrix II, Revolting and The Meatrix II ½, expand on the original’s theme, while promoting social action.
Other films focus on water, including Rio Grande, River of Connection, a documentary produced as an educational film for students by Alexis Rykken of San Antonio. Reviving a Watershed and Mixing: A Dialogue on Wastewater are two other films that focus on water-related issues.
“It’s important that we all recognize and understand the value of our limited resources and what we must do to preserve them,” Deters said.
RioFest Environmental Film Festival is a 501-3C non-profit entity established in 2007 under the fiscal sponsorship of Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Tickets for the event may be purchased by check or money order. Checks should be made to Friends of the Bosque and sent to RioFest Environmental Film Festival, Box 508, Socorro, 87801.
For more information on the RioFest Environmental Film Festival, visit the RioFest website:
Festival tickets are priced at $25 for a two-day pass and $15 for one day. Tickets for the Saturday night showing of Food Inc. are $5.

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