2019 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: SHARKWATER EXTINCTION

This thrilling, inspiring, and action-packed journey follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it — a conspiracy that is leading to the extinction of sharks. From West Africa, Spain, Panama, Costa Rica, France, and even in our own backyard, Stewart’s third film dives into the often-violent underworld of the pirate fishing trade to expose a multi-billion dollar industry. Shark finning is still rampant; shark fin soup is still being consumed on an enormous scale; and endangered sharks are being used to make products for human consumption. Stewart’s mission is to save the sharks and oceans before it’s too late. But exposing illegal activities isn’t easy; protecting sharks has earned him some powerful enemies.

 

DIRECTOR: Rob Stewart

(USA, 2018, 87 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: WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS

In a Kenyan town bordering wildlife conservation land, a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he turns to his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn’t been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. For the poachers, conservationists are not only winning their campaign to value elephant life over its ivory, but over human life as well. Who are these hunters who will risk death, arrest, and the moral outrage of the world to provide for their families? Director Jon Kasbe followed the film’s subjects over a three-year period, gaining an extraordinary level of access and trust as he became part of their everyday lives. The result is a rare and visually arresting look through the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicenter of the conservation divide.

 

DIRECTOR: Jon Kasbe

(USA, 2018, 76 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: LOST WORLD

As Singapore dredges sand out from beneath Cambodia’s mangrove forests, the threat of erasure looms over an ecosystem, a communal way of life, and one woman’s relationship to her beloved home.

 

DIRECTOR: Kalyanee Mam

(USA, 2018, 16 min.)

 

Read more about this award here.

 


 

The Polly Krakora Award For Artistry in Film

Established in 2010 by Joseph Krakora in memory of his wife Polly Krakora, a member of the DCEFF Advisory Council, the Polly Krakora Award for Artistry in Film recognizes artistic achievement, craftsmanship, and cinematography in an environmental film. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

 

Winner: ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH

The filmmakers take us on a worldwide tour encompassing concrete seawalls in China, which now cover 60 percent of the mainland coast; the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany; potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains; a heavy metal festival in the closed city of Norilsk, Siberia; the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia; and lithium evaporation ponds in South America’s Atacama Desert. High-end production values and state-of-the-art camera techniques capture evidence of human planetary domination. At the intersection of art and science, this film bears witness to a critical moment in geological history.

 

DIRECTOR: Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal & Nicholas de Pencier

(Canada, 2018, 87 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: A MODERN SHEPHERDESS

A few years ago, Stéphanie left her Parisian life for the vast salt meadows of the Cherbourg Peninsula. The former graphic designer discovered a deep connection with this land by the sea where she now raises sheep. Here, she has reinvented herself. In pursuing her new calling, the single mother became the manager of a farm. It needs to be profitable, as this is a reality that even small farmers cannot escape. She must also face up to neighbors who are hostile to the stranger that she still remains in their eyes. Through her courage, creativity, and strength of character, Stéphanie aims to evade the birds of ill omen and win her freedom. This is the story of a shepherdess that invites us to question our own desire to lead a life in keeping with who we really are.

 

DIRECTOR: Delphine Détrie

(France, 2019, 89 min.)

 

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