This years Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival (PiF) is comprised of 26 feature-length films, and 25 shorts. The World Premiere of Chanda Chevannes’ Unfractured opens the Festival on October 19, the latest by the Toronto-based, award-winning documentarian. This uplifting doc follows biologist, mother and activist Dr. Sandra Steingraber as she throws herself into an arduous environmental battle many believe is unwinnable. Closing the Festival on October 22 is Delila Vallot’s Can You Dig This? a charismatic doc on the emerging urban gardening movement in South Los Angeles —featuring self-described “gangsta gardener” Ron Finley, and executive produced by John Legend.

Titles that explore our relationship with food and agriculture will be a prominent part of the 2017 lineup, among them: Laura Dunn’s Look and See, executive produced by Robert Redford and Terrence Malick, and a powerful portrait of iconic academic-turned farmer and activist Wendell Berry; Anna Chai and Nari Kye’s Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, a slick, solution-oriented doc featuring Anthony Bourdain, as well as renowned chefs Mario Batali, and Massimo Bottura; Aube Giroux’s Modified, which weaves the director’s involvement in citizen-led movements around GMO labelling with her personal relationship to food; Thomas Boothe’s Food Coop, a charming and often humorous look at a wildly successful socialist supermarket in
ever-gentrifying Brooklyn; and Emmy-winner Allison Argo’s The Last Pig, which follows ethical pig farmer Bob Comis, as he transitions out of raising animals for slaughter.

Urban planning and human ecology will also take centre stage at the 18th PiF with Bart Simpson’s Brasilia: Life After Design, a look at the past and future of Brazil’s utopian capital, originally created by visionary architect Oscar Niemeyer; and David Borenstein’s Dream Empire, which gives a fascinating human dimension to China’s gargantuan—and mostly unsustainable—development bubble. Along the same lines, Sue Williams’s Death by Design is a powerful and provocative look at the hidden human and ecological costs of smartphone production.

Other highlights in the Festival’s feature film lineup include: Joakim Demmer’s Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas, an exposé on how famine-stricken Ethiopia continues to export food to Europe while struggling to feed its population; Tal Skloot’s 4 Wheel Bob, a compelling portrait of passionate athlete Bob Coomber, determined to be the first wheelchair hiker to cross the famed Kearsage Pass trail; Timothy Wheeler’s Poached, a fascinating look at the UK’s rare bird egg obsession; and Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Homo Sapiens, an austere and subtly apocalyptic look at abandoned spaces.

PiF will also be presenting two short film programmes as part of its 18th edition: PiF Wildlife Programme, which will showcase three wildlife-focused exceptional titles; and Canadian Eco-Shorts Programme which will feature 4 Canadian short films.

Films with an LGBT theme include Denial and El Remolino

DENIAL Derek Hallquist, USA, 2016, 74 min

Dave Hallquist, the CEO of a Vermont electric utility company, is trying to make it more environmentally friendly and efficient. Like his company, Hallquist is going through a transition, as he reveals to his filmmaker son that he is transgender.  Trailer for DENIAL here.

Saturday 21 October, 12:30pm – The Al Green Theatre at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre

Screens with THE SNOW GUARDIAN (Morgan Heim)

EL REMOLINO Laura Herrero Garvín, Mexico, 2016, 73 min

Family dramas play out against the backdrop of environmental degradation in this film about a flood-prone riverside community in Mexico. Pedro, a trans farmer, struggles with identity while Esther, their sister, documents her own family life and aspirations on a camcorder.

Saturday 21 October, 7:30pm – Innis Deluxe Screening Room

Screens with EL BUZO/THE DIVER (Esteban Arrangolz)

The 18th Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival takes place October 19 to 22, 2017. Tickets and the full lineup of films here

About Planet in Focus

Planet in Focus is a charitable organization whose mission is to use film as a catalyst for change by raising awareness of critical environmental issues through a variety of media-based initiatives including; the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival, the Green School Tours, Eco-Film Lab, the PiF Student Film Festival and year-round screenings that showcase the best environmental films from Canada and around the world.


Twitter and Instagram: @PlanetinFocus


About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors, and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats. Reach out -