2017 Festival Highlights

A sneak peek at what’s to come for the 25th Anniversary Festival, March 14-26.

Excited for the 25th Anniversary Festival? So are we!

DCEFF 2017 (March 14-26) promises to bring the best of the best in environmental film. This year we are celebrating 25 years of films for the planet, as we focus our lens on a planet in transition, exploring what has happened to the global environment over the past 25 years and what lies ahead.

Now, as the countdown to March kicks off, take a look at some of the outstanding programs we have lined up.

And, be sure to check back in mid-February, when we will be releasing our full Festival schedule.



Showing at National Geographic:


March 14, 2017




* Open Night / DC Premiere *

Water & Power: A California Heist 

(USA, 2017, 86 min.)

Water & Power: A California Heist uncovers the alarming exploits of California’s most notorious water barons, who profit off of the state’s resource while everyday citizens, unincorporated towns, and small farmers endure debilitating water crises. The film peels back the layers of a manipulative, backroom rewrite of California’s water contracts in the 1990s, and investigates today’s rise of luxury crops and illicit water transfers, all in the face of record drought. As the divide between water haves and have-nots grows, we face a humbling reality: water is the new oil, and as it becomes less accessible, it is rapidly growing more valuable.


March 15, 2017




Unbranded (clips)

Conversation Series with Ben Masters

Ben Masters is the “mastermind” behind Unbranded, which screened at DCEFF 2016. The film featured four recent college graduates, Masters among them, who set off on an epic wild horse ride from Mexico to Canada through some of our nation’s most jaw-dropping – and unforgiving – landscapes. During the ride, Masters was charged with the mapping and logistics for sixteen horses, four Aggies, and three alternating cameramen traveling through unpredictable terrain with changing landowners, agencies, and restrictions.

A native Texan, Masters graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in wildlife biology. He is the CEO of Fin & Fur Films, LLC, is an accomplished photographer, an experienced horse trainer and packer, a dedicated conservationist, and main author of the book Unbranded. In addition to this discussion series around the Unbranded project mission, Masters will be also be screening his short film Pronghorn Revival at the the 2017 Festival.


March 20, 2017




* DC Premiere *

Kokota: The Islet of Hope 

(Canada/Tanzania, 2016, 29 min.)

Mbarouk Mussa Omar is from a small East African Island called Pemba. Nearly ten years ago he visited a tiny neighboring islet called Kokota and was shocked by what he saw. Kokota was teetering towards collapse, and Mbarouk knew climate change and deforestation were the culprits. He desperately wanted to help Kokota, but what could one poor man from Pemba possibly do? Kokota: The Islet of Hope tells the story of Mbarouk’s quest to help Kokota. This short introduces viewers to resilient people living on the front lines of climate change and tells the story of how these unlikely heroes have managed to innovatively adapt to a warming climate and reforest their island. This inspirational film promises to leave audiences around the world believing that simple solutions really can have huge impacts.

Directed by Craig Norris. Produced by Craig Norris and Manuel Harchies.





* DC Premiere *

One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts

(USA, 2016, 15 min.)

A pioneering farmer in rural Georgia shares his journey from industrialized beef production to sustainable, humane agricultural and environmental stewardship.

Directed by Peter Byck


March 22, 2017


PRISTINE SEAS: GALAPAGOS PERMITTED USE: These images may be downloaded or are otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of National Geographic Pristine Seas. No copying, distribution or archiving permitted. Sublicensing, sale or resale is prohibited. REQUIRED CREDIT: All image uses must be credited to the photographer and reference National Geographic Pristine Seas. Any uses in which the image appears without proper photographer credit and reference to National Geographic Pristine Seas are subject to paid licensing. You MUST follow these requirements if using the images:1. Include mandatory photo credit with each image: Photo by Enric Sala/National Geographic 2: Provide a prominent link for online use to: pristineseas.org3. Mention that the images are "from National Geographic Pristine Seas.” A Galapagos sea lion chases a large school of Salema fish off Isabela Island

Photo by Enric Sala/National Geographic/Pristine Seas.


Pristine Seas: Wild Galapagos

(USA, 2016, 47 min.)

The Galápagos Islands are simply legendary, home to a collection of strange, beautiful, and wild creatures that you can’t find anywhere else on the planet. While these islands have been well studied, there is a whole other world underwater, a shark-filled paradise that Charles Darwin never saw. In 2015 National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, an international collection of marine scientists and filmmakers, got an opportunity to explore the islands like never before. Led by Dr. Enric Sala, they dive in a marvelous subaquatic world, filled with sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas…and massive schools of hammerhead sharks. And they’ll deploy a manned submarine to explore over a thousand feet below the surface, to areas few, if any, have ever seen. But the waters around the Galapagos are not immune to pressures from the outside world. Overfishing, climate change, and warming events like El Niño are threatening this pristine ecosystem. Take an adventure with the Pristine Seas team, as they explore one of the most exciting, complex, and unique places on our planet, in an effort to help protect it…before it’s too late.




Showing at the National Museum of Women in the Arts:


March 19, 2017



* DC Premiere *


(USA, 2016, 64 min.)

Kivalina is a candid portrait of life 130 miles above the Arctic Circle of an Inupiaq Eskimo tribe living on an island disappearing into the ocean. Once a nomadic people, the film begins its telling a century after their ancestors were settled on the tiny island made of silt, sand, and permafrost. With no resources to move and only a precarious sea wall to protect them, the film poetically explores the community’s struggle to maintain their way of life within a landscape and a system that is failing them. Weaving together observational storytelling and cinematic imagery Kivalina is an evocative and rare portrait of one of the last surviving Arctic cultures.

Directed by Gina Abatemarco. Produced by Gina Abatemarco and Anne Takahashi.


March 22, 2017




* DC Premiere *

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful

(Canada, 2016, 96 min.)

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful is a cinematic celebration of northwestern British Columbia, and all the dreamers who move across it. Some hunt on the land. Some mine it. They all love it. An art film with politics, drama, and humor, Koneline reveals the stunning landscape of the Canadian north as it undergoes irrevocable change.

Directed by Nettie Wild. Produced by Betsy Carson.



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