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Environmental Film Festival May 1-31

The Environmental Film Festival Reel Earth is New Zealand’s only film festival to focus specifically on nature and the environment. Hosted in the magnificent Manawatū region, with a thriving riverside community, committed to sustainability and with a vibrant science and education realm.

The 2017 Festival, May 1-31, will focus its lens on local environmental solutions exploring what is happening around the world. The Festival presents 13 featured international films (8 of which will be shown in NZ for the first time), as well as short films from here and overseas, including 2 premieres. Most screenings are complemented by a discussion with environmental experts, community leaders and filmmakers and many are free. The complete Festival schedule is at .

The Festival kicks off on Opening Night (May 1st) with a 2015 Hot Docs selection, documentary filmmaker Su Rynard’s The Messenger, exploring our deep-seated connection to birds and warning us that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. Closing the Festival, the film River Blue, winner of the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry, directed by David McIlvride and Roger Williams.

Several festival films explore the effects of climate change on various aspects of our lives.

Among them, director Jared P. Scott’s new film, The Age of Consequences, investigates climate change impacts on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox’s How to let go of the World and Love all the things Climate can’t Change, concludes that courage, resilience, innovation, democracy and community are among the ideals that must thrive in order for us to weather the coming challenges. The premiere of the film Making Waves: Stories of Courage and Hope, by Inspirational Pasifika Films, tells stories of six Pasifika Massey University students reflecting on the effects of climate change on their lives and loved ones. The film will be followed by a discussion and several workshops.

The problem of e-waste is explored in two Festival films. In Death by Design, award-winning filmmaker Sue Williams explores the underbelly of the international electronics industry and reveals how even the tiniest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. In The EWaste Tragedy, Cosima Dannoritzer reveals that illegal recycling and waste dumping is a multimillion- dollar business.

Multiple award winner, Baobabs Between Land and Sea, shows baobabs and stunning landscapes that had mostly never been filmed or even photographed. A part of the global campaign to bring an end to the predator breeding and canned hunting industries, film Blood Lions, follows internationally acclaimed environmental journalist and safari operator, Ian Michler, onto the breeding farms to witness the results of battery farmed lions – a stark contrast to their wild cousins. In the film Oceans Monopoly, directors Max Mönch & Alexander Lahl bring a scandal to our attention that is connected to the world's oceans: the question of ownership of the sea.

Peter Svatek’s Theatre of Life will feed your imagination by showing how food waste may be transformed into a masterpiece in order to feed those who are often ignored. Dennis Raetzel’s film, Undune, will show you our unsustainable and irrational world from a Martian perspective.

Special Jury Award winner at Sundance 2016, When Two Worlds Collide, brings audiences directly into the line of fire between Peruvian government and the indigenous people living in the Amazon, protecting their land from oil and gas extraction. Another fight, this time between the bike activists and car business, is shown in director Fredrik Gertten’s film Bikes vs Cars.

Watch as several organisations move towards a more cooperative future by experimenting with open and non-traditional business models in director Trevor Meier’s film, A New Economy.

New Zealand filmmakers are visiting Palmerston North on May 14th. They will discuss their short films and ideas at the Watch&Talk event. Other shorts will be shown outside in the Square, weather dependent.

We are delighted to invite young people to our special events: a Movie & pizza night to watch The Messenger and discuss the bird crisis with Dr. Phil Battley; a filmmaking workshop at Massey; a screenwriting workshop at the PN City Library; and our Young Filmmakers Award Night at Youth Space.

Films and events are being held at 10 venues throughout the Manawatu region, including Te Manawa museum, PNCC Library, universities, and local theatres across the city and in nearby towns Ashhurst and Feilding. Over 60 percent of screenings and events are free. For reservations and ticket information, visit the Reel Earth website, and find us @reelearthfilmfest on Facebook, and Twitter.

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