Sustainability Hits the Silver Screen at Athens Athena
The recently renovated Athena Cinema kicked off a two-week “mini-festival” of films about sustainability beginning with “The Queen of Versailles,” running Sept. 7-20.
The film depicts an exceptionally wealthy family striving to build the largest house in America, only to fall in the hands of ill fortune as the film progresses.
“The Queen of Versailles,” hand-selected by Julie White, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, considers the “American Dream” in light of outrageous consumption, land use, entitlement and the nature of wealth, according to a news release.
Three more documentaries scheduled to screen in rotation will be thrown into the mix beginning today (Sept. 14). Before the feature presentations, short films produced by area filmmakers from the National Network of Forest Practitioners will be screening. Area filmmakers include Pradeep Edussuriya, Chad Bartlett, Josh Birnbaum and Kevin Riddell.
Riddell, a staff photographer for The Athens NEWS and a member of the National Network of Forest Practitioners, based his story out of Denver, Colo. He described his story as “complex,” and followed with an explanation about the fluctuating climate change in Denver yielding a lot of insects – pine beetles in particular – that have been destroying the forests in several western states.
“Millions of acres [of trees] have been killed and it sterilizes the soil after forest fires so nothing else can grow there,” Riddell explained. “Loose soil and debris gets washed down into reservoirs, so Denver is spending millions of dollars trying to clean up the reservoirs because 100 percent of Colorado’s drinking water comes from the ground.”
Riddell said he spent 10 days shooting the film and took a couple weeks after shooting to put it together. Additional films fixed on the issue of forestry conservation and bettering forestry practices, along with another film, “Queen,” will be screening in rotation through Sept. 20.
One of the documentaries, “Death By China,” is slated to be one of the most highly awaited films on the roster. The film, beginning Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., focuses on the shift in the labor and trade market from the United States to China.
Peter Navarro, director of “Death By China” and NPR frequent, will be at the screening to take part in a discussion with the audience about the issues witnessed in the film, namely the confrontation of the economic trade relationship between the U.S. and China, as well as the attendant labor, pollution and cultural ramifications.
“Last Call at the Oasis” and “The Island President” are the final two documentaries being featured. According to the release, “Last Call at the Oasis,” directed by Academy Award-winner Jessica Yu, presents a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issues facing our world this century.
“The Island President” takes place in the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world at a sea level of 4’11”, at risk of being wiped out by rising sea levels. In the film, the nation’s president, Mohamed Nasheed, recalls his personal story about drawing attention to his country’s quandary by bringing global warming to the forefront of global awareness.
“We’re really excited about this initial mini-festival of sustainability films,” Chris Iacofano, executive director of the Athena Cinema, said in a news release.
“These two weeks build on the prior success of our earlier film series ‘Let’s Talk About Water’ and points to some future programming we’ve got in the planning stages,” Iacofano continued. “The richness of the theme of sustainability is that it opens up a wide variety of topics, from environmentalism to economic and cultural vitality.”
The Athena Cinema is located in uptown Athens, at 20 S. Court Street. Ticket prices range from $4-$6.50, depending on time of screening. A complete schedule is online at www.athenacinema.com.Share