2020 Award Winners

Shared Earth Foundation Award for Advocacy

Established for the 2014 Festival, this award recognizes a film that inspires advocacy in response to a compelling environmental challenge. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize.

 

Winner: OKAVANGO: RIVER OF DREAMS

The Okavango in Southern Africa’s Botswana is one of the greatest rivers on Earth. It starts in the mountains of Angola, but unlike normal rivers, its waters don’t run toward the ocean. Instead, the Okavango flows inland through Angola and into Botswana — only to vanish completely in the Kalahari desert, after a journey of 1,500 kilometers. Lions and leopards, elephants and hippos, warthogs and crocodiles, painted dogs, bush babies, and many more, all thrive and survive here. Filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert have created an utterly breathtaking example of visual storytelling with rich clarity. Each dazzling closeup of the exotic flora and fauna is truly remarkable, as is the narration by Dereck Joubert himself, accompanying the stunning images.

 

DIRECTOR: Dereck and Beverly Joubert

(Botswana, 2020, 94 min.)

 

Read more about this award here.

 


 

William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award

Established by the Warner/Kaempfer family for the 2015 Festival in memory of William W. Warner, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Beautiful Swimmers,” a study of the crabs and watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, this award recognizes a film that reflects a spirit of reverence for the natural world. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize.

 

Winner: THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS

Winner of the Best Documentary award at the Cannes Film Festival, master filmmaker Patricio Guzmán’s The Cordillera of Dreams completes his trilogy (with Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button) investigating the relationship between historical memory, political trauma, and geography in his native country of Chile. This film centers on the imposing landscape of the Andes that run the length of the country’s eastern border. At once protective and isolating, magisterial and indifferent, the Cordillera serves as an enigmatic focal point around which Guzmán contemplates the enduring legacy of the 1973 military coup d’état.

 

DIRECTOR: Patricio Guzmán

(Chile/France, 2019, 85 min.)

 

Read more about this award here.

 


 

Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability

Founded in 2013 by Julia and Richard Moe in memory of their son, Eric, to honor his strong interest in film and commitment to sustainability, this award recognizes a short film that best captures efforts to balance the needs of humans and nature. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

 

Winner: UNIONTOWN

This film weaves together the unheard individual narratives of grassroots organizers in Uniontown, Alabama, as they fight to take the town back from the hands of industrial polluters and complacent politicians in the midst of a high-stakes local election.

 

DIRECTOR: Fraser Jones

(USA, 2019, 16 min.)

 

Read more about this award here.

 

 


Hausman Foundation for the Environment Award for Best International Film

This newly established award from the Hausman Foundation for the Environment highlights an internationally produced film that focuses on an environmental issue relevant to our times. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

 

Winner: SEA OF SHADOWS

A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise. Sea of Shadows follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists, and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice. This riveting new documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films won the Sundance audience award.

 

DIRECTOR: Richard Ladkani

(Austria, 2019, 104 min.)

 

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