Cedar Rapids Environmental Film Fest | Second Annual Event Offers 12 Free Films Oct 4-26, 2008

It’s fall, and everywhere the leaves are taking on gold and scarlet hues, but Cedar Rapids will staying green for a bit longer as the second annual Environmental Film Festival takes center stage October 4-26. Twelve films will be screened at various venues throughout the greater Cedar Rapids area, and all are free to the public!

This year’s festival opens at Prairiewoods on Saturday, October 4, with the award-winning, solutions-oriented film Kilowatt Ours, an exploration of energy use, one of our most pressing enviromental challenges.  Emy Sautter, Prairiewood’s Eco-Spirituality Coordinator, is optimistic that this year’s films will see increased attendance over last year.  “We also have speakers at many of the films," she says, "including some of the film makers themselves, as well as council members and local architects.” 

All of the films have an environmental theme, but there is a wide variety of subject matter.  “We would like all of these showings to be interactive.  We want to hear people’s thoughts and feelings, and not just have them passively watch the films,” Sautter says.

Among the esteemed organizations involved in this year’s festival are Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Indian Creek Nature Center, Christ Episcopal Church, Sierra Club, Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center(Linn County Conservation), Coe College, S.E.E.D.(Sustainable Economic and Environmental Development), and United Nations Association-Linn County Chapter.

Environmental Film Festival 2008 Schedule

Date: Saturday October 4th 2008 (Opening Event) 1:30 – 3pm (120 E. Boyson Rd Hiawatha, IA)
Host: Prairiewoods and Mercy Medical Center
Film: Kilowatt Ours
This down-to-earth film brings home the impact of our energy use and asks the question, “Do you know where your electricity comes from?”  Take a journey with writer and director Jeff Barrie from the coalmines of West Virginia to solar panel fields in Florida. Learn about the practical ways in which we can reduce our energy use, burn less coal AND save money!  Great for the whole family.  A panel discussion including members of the Kilowatt Hours team will follow. 


Date: Sunday October 5th 2008, 1-3pm (410 Third Ave SE Cedar Rapids, IA)
Host: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Auditorium
Film: Edens Lost and Found: Chicago
This film highlights practical solutions and models for urban transformation that go beyond pollution prevention to tackle the challenge of improving the quality of life in cities for ourselves and future generations.  The documentary explores City Hall and grass roots groups in Chicago who are working on open space, green buildings, and an educated citizenry to create a sustainable city.
The Cedar Rapids screening will be followed by a panel discussion by city council members Brian Fagan and Tom Podzimek, and OPN architect Bruce Hamous.

Date: Tuesdays – October 7, 14, 21st 2008, 7pm (6665 Otis Road SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52403)
Host: Indian Creek Nature Center
Film: The Silence of the Bees – Oct.7
This PBS Nature documentary covers the natural history of honeybees and addresses the recent die-offs of colonies.  In 2006 80% of the honeybees in the US vanished.   Join our beekeeper for a discussion of the programs honeybees are having and learn ways you can help our pollinators.

Film: Winged Migration – Oct.14
An awe-inspiring documentary that takes you soaring with the migratory birds as they make their incredible journey. " Open your eyes to the wonders of the natural wold as you fly along with the woth the world’s most gorgeous birds . . ."   Discuss local issues that affect Iowa’s migratory birds and learn ways to help our neotropical migrants.
Film: Protecting our Water:  Who’s Got the Power? – Oct. 21
Our streams are in danger . . . putting our drinking water supply at serious risk.  Explore the world of the stream and find out what you can do in your own backyard to help.

Date: Thursday October 9th 2008, 7pm (220 40th St. NE
Host: Christ Episcopal Church
Film: King Corn
Description:  King Corn is a feature 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, best friends from college on the east coast, 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.
Following the screening, Ian Cheney and film-maker Aaron Woolf will answer questions related to the film and new perspectives they have developed since the film first aired.

Date: Saturday October 11th 2008, 1-3pm (2250 A St. SW)
Host: Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency (Compost Facility)
Film: The Lorax
Come watch a Dr. Suess favorite that chronicles the plight of the environment through the Lorax (a "mossy, bossy" man-like creature), who speaks for the trees.  Once the film is over a short tour of the compost facility will be provided.


Date: Thursday October 16th 2008, 6:30pm (Hickok Hall at Coe College 1220 First Avenue N.E.)
Host: Sierra Club
Film: Everything’s Cool
Everything’s Cool is a timely film about America finally "getting" that global warming is real.  Follow this incredible story of a handful of global warming messengers speaking out against the industry sponsored disinformation from hired guns.  The goal of this film is to offer a fun, factually accurate and passionate true story that will move you to political action and a new clean energy future!


Date: Sunday October 19th 2008, 2pm (Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center 10260 Morris Hills Rd Toddville, IA)
Host: Iowa Conservation Education Coalition
Film: My Father’s Garden
An emotionally charged documentary about the use and misuse of technology on the American farm. This film tells the story of two farmers, different in all details, yet united by their common goal of producing healthy food. Herbert Smith was a hero of his age: dedicated, innovative, a champion of the new miracle sprays of the 50s. His fate is the heart of this film.  Fred Kirschenmann of North Dakota (and former Leopold Project Director at ISU) proves that sustainable agriculture is a viable alternative on any sized farm and that we can bring health and beauty back to the Garden.

Date: Monday October 20th 2008, 7pm (Hickok Hall at Coe College 1220 First Avenue N.E.)
Host: Coe College
Film: The Lord God Bird
Description: This film presents tantalizing evidence that populations of the ivory-billed woodpecker, listed as extinct for 60 years, might still exist.  A discussion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Plan follows the film

Date: Friday October 24th 2008, 7pm (Cedar Rapids Peace Center/Matyk Building 1029 Third St. SE)
Host: SEED
Film: Keeping the Lights On
Most people don’t know how the electricity they use is produced. In Wisconsin, more than 70% of electricity is produced by burning coal. Coal is abundant, and coal is cheap.  But it is cheap only if the environmental and societal impacts are disregarded. ‘Keeping the Lights On’ begins its look at the impacts of coal burning on the day that representatives from Dairyland Power Cooperative in Genoa, Wisconsin knocked on farmers’ doors and told them, "Your farm has been chosen as a landfill site."

Date: Sunday October 26th 2008, 7pm (Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist 600 3rd Ave. SE)
Host:  United Nations (Linn County Chapter)
Film:  The Refugees of the Blue Planet
This 2006 Canadian Film sheds light on the plight of individuals who are suffering the repercussions of global warming and the exploitation of natural resources resulting in degrading the environments of rural populations from the Maldives in Brazil to Canada.

Visit the index for more articles on green living.