DCEFF Climate Strike Film Guide

2019 Festival Programs Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

2019 may well be remembered as the year we reached a tipping point in recognizing the climate crisis. With the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning us how little time we have to limit global warming—just 11 years—there is heightened demand for climate action now. We have seen the start of a discussion of a Green New Deal in the U.S. and encouraging, but still insufficient, efforts in countries, communities, and companies worldwide to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals.


Young people seeing their own futures at risk are raising their voices. On March 15th, the Youth Climate Strike promises to be one of the largest environmental protests in history. Students from over 70 countries are expected to walk out of their classrooms to demand climate action. In the U.S., strikes are planned in over 100 cities, including Washington, D.C.


The Environmental Film Festival has assembled this Climate Strike Film Guide to some 20-plus outstanding films and programs in our 2019 Festival that explore varied dimensions of the climate crisis. We welcome the Strikers and everyone else to come see these films and join the conversation on how we can accelerate the “revolutions” we need in clean energy, transportation, and other sectors that affect every part of our lives.


Here’s an abbreviated and printable version of the guide


Friday, March 15


Hostile Planet (U.K., 2019, 48 min.)

Animal survival takes on new urgency in the face of intensified wildfires, blizzards, droughts, downpours, and other extreme weather conditions wrought by climate change.     

7 p.m. | National Geographic Society | $12




Reboot (U.S.A., 2018, 4 min.) – D.C. Premiere; Part of the Shorts Program: Visionary Green

In this post-apocalyptic animated short, humans decamp to Mars after destroying the planet—and the resilience of our planet springs into action.    

 9:30 p.m. | E Street Cinema | Free (w/promo code CSFG19)




Saturday, March 16


This is Climate Change (U.S.A, 2018, 29 min.) – Part of our Virtual-Reality Selections

In this expansive virtual reality docu-series from Participant Media and Condition One, journey to the far corners of the earth to discover the people and places being hit hardest by climate change.


* Virtual-Reality Selections are available to view for free on March 16, March 17, and March 23, from 11:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  in the Carnegie Institution for Science ballroom


The Blessing (U.S.A., 2018, 74 min.) – D.C. Premiere

This intimate portrait of a Navajo Nation family shows coal miner Lawrence struggling with his role in destroying a sacred mountain at the hands of America’s biggest coal producer.    

 2:00 p.m. | National Museum of the American Indian | Free, reservations required 




Wildland (U.S.A., 2018, 77 min.) – D.C. Premiere

Shot over one fire season, this film chronicles the lives of a working-class crew battling wildfires. 

7:00 p.m. | E Street Cinema | Free (w/promo code CSFG19)




Wild Relatives (Lebanon, 2018, 66 min.) – D.C. Premiere

In the wake of the Syrian War, this film captures the 2012 relocation of an international agricultural research center from Aleppo to Lebanon and its laborious process of saving seeds.     

9:30 p.m. | E Street Cinema | Free (w/promo code CSFG19)




Sunday, March 17


Shorts Program: Climate Connections 

These shorts show the effects of climate change on Alaska (Permafrost Now), the human body in extremis (Becoming Ocean), Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles (Lowland Kids), the world’s northernmost city (Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen), and British Columbia (Beyond Climate).     

12:00 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free (w/promo code CSFG19) 




Blowout (U.S.A., 2019, 80 min.) – World Premiere

From oil fields in Texas to tanker traffic in the Panama Canal to an energy revolution in Asia, this documentary delves into the global impacts and fallout of a new American fossil fuel boom.     

2:00 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free (w/promo code CSFG19)




Revolution (Canada, 2007, 89 min.)

In this award-winning full-length feature film, the late Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart suggests that past evolutions can help solve some of our current and future environmental problems.     

7:00 p.m. | Eaton DC | Free, reservations required




COOKED: Survival by Zip Code (U.S.A., 2018, 78 min.) – D.C. Premiere

With the touchstone of the deadly 1995 Chicago heat wave, Cooked radically reframes the long-term impacts of structural racism, systemic inequity, and climate change as an official disaster.     

7:00 p.m. | E Street Cinema | Free (w/promo code CSFG19) 



*Encore presentation: Thursday, March 21 | 7:00 pm | Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) | Free, reservations required




LOBSTER WAR: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds

Co-presented by the American Conservation Film Festival

With ocean warming leading to a surge in lobster populations, this film explores a climate-fueled conflict between the U.S. and Canada over waters long fished by denizens of both countries. 

7:00 pm | National Museum of Natural History | Free, Reservations Required



The Human Element (U.S.A., 2018, 76 min.)

Presented by the Hollomon Price Foundation

This documentary spotlights the work of photographer James Balog, who captures images of melting glaciers, wildfires, hurricanes, and sea level rise to show that the impacts of climate change are already taking place. Humans have fundamentally changed our planet but still have the capacity to save our world.  

7:00 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free, reservations required 



*Post-screening discussion with James Balog (producer and film subject), Matthew Testa (director), Rafe Pomerance (chairman, Arctic 21), Jesse Meisenhelter (New Green Deal Campaign Director, Sunrise Movement) | Reception to follow



Monday, March 18


Shorts Program: Climate Change – Telling the Human Story

Co-presented with the Pulitzer Center

These shorts show climate change impacts in the Amazon (Amazon Forest Guardians Fight to Prevent Catastrophic Tipping Point), Borneo (Borneo’s Vanishing Tribes), and Alaska (Cold Comfort: Arctic Communities), as well as the world at large (Losing Earth: From the Air).     

6:30 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free, reservations required




World at War (U.S.A., 2019, 87 min.)

A teenage fisherman joins forces with marine conservationist Sylvia Earle to save a dying ocean.     

7:00 p.m. | Eaton DC | Free, registration required 




Tuesday, March 19


The Green Lie (Austria, 2018, 97 min.) – D.C. Premiere

Co-presented with the Embassy of Austria and the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington

This documentary includes greenwashing interventions by environmental expert Kathrin Hartmann and suggests the limits of sustainability as a consumer marketing ploy.    

7:00 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free, reservations required




Paris to Pittsburgh (U.S.A., 2018, 78 min.)

This Bloomberg Philanthropies–produced documentary looks at the local impact of climate change on U.S. cities, large and small, and the implications of exiting the Paris Climate Accord.     

7:00 p.m. | National Geographic Society | $12 




Wednesday, March 20


Shorts Program: Earth in Frame

These documentary shorts (A Year along the Geostationary Orbit, How the World Looks Now, Earthrise) train their cameras on Earth as observed from outer space.     

7:00 p.m. | E Street Cinema | $10  



*Encore presentation: Sunday, March 24 |  12:00 pm | National Geographic | $10




Friday, March 22


Diversity and Impact Workshop 

Co-presented by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University

This workshop joins film/mediamkers and community advocates to explore how communities can tell their eco-stories.      

4:00 p.m. | American University | Free, reservations required



Featuring Kalyanee Mam (director, Lost World), Roshan Patel (director, Field in Focus shorts), Sirjaut Kaur Dhariwal (co-director, Healing Baltimore’s Harbor: A Pipe Dream?), Laura Waters Hinson (founder, Image Bearer Pictures), Leah Mahan (documentary director/producer), Lynne Cherry (originator/producer/director of Young Voices for the Planet films) & Fred Tutman (Patuxent Riverkeeper/educator).


Diversity and Impact Panel

This panel features filmmakers associated with DCEFF and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking who share work that explores the intersections of humanity and the environment.     

7:00 p.m. | American University | Free, reservations required



Featuring Kalyanee Mam (director, Lost World), Vanina Harel (National Geographic Explorer and filmmaker), Mireya Mayor (National Geographic Explorer), Byron Hurt (filmmaker, writer, speaker and activist), and Leah Mahan (documentary director/producer).


Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Canada, 2018, 87 min.) – D.C. Premiere

This meditation on humanity’s devastating impact on nature looks at concrete seawalls in China, potash mines in Russia, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and other sites around the world.     

7:00 p.m. | National Geographic Society | $12



*Encore presentation: Saturday, March 23| 5:30 p.m. | AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center | $13




Saturday, March 23


Current Revolution (U.S.A., 2018, 37 min.) – D.C. Premiere

This new film by the American Resilience Project tackles the challenge of modernizing the power grid. Whether the utilities industry fails, prevails, or adapts, the outcome will affect us all.     

4:00 p.m. | Carnegie Institution for Science | Free (w/promo code CSFG19)



*Post-screening discussion featuring film subject, race car driver, and environmental activist Leilani Munter.