NY WILD Film Festival – Animated, Green, Musical

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by Green Diva Sandy

Still from "Green" CREDIT: Patrick Rouxel

Still from "Green" CREDIT: Patrick Rouxel

I had the pleasure of attending the preview event of the New York WILD Film Festival which will officially debut next year. 

The New York WILD Film Festival(NYWFF) is NYC’s first ever documentary festival featuring films on exploration, adventure, wildlife and the environment. An interesting mix of subjects in equally interesting films was featured.

The festival is designed to appeal to a broad range of filmgoers, adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers and environmentalists. The festival’s ultimate purpose is to energize audiences to explore, discover and protect our WILD and to serve as a catalyst for action in critical environmental issues. And unfortunately the list of environmental issues is a long one.

Nancy Rosenthal is the Founder of NYWFF.  “More than ever people are fascinated with all things connected to our planet and are increasingly aware of the urgency to save it, and documentary film has become an enormously powerful and popular medium for that kind of research.” Rosenthal should know. She was an award-winning documentary filmmaker for National Geographic Television for 15 years.  The NYWFF was created to show New Yorkers’ exceptional, diverse, international films by talented newcomers who are unavailable in commercial theaters or on TV, or new films by renowned documentary filmmakers.

Four films, of varying length were shown:

The Krill is Gone (4  minutes) an animated comedy short which got the point across creatively while entertaining. It featured SpongeBob’s Tom Kenny and other equally gifted voice overs and used humor to demonstrate the dangers our oceans are in.

Alone On the Wall (24 minutes) about world-renowned free solo climber Alex Honnold who was at the screening and participated in a Q&A after the film.  For those of you who never heard of free solo climbing, it’s climbing sheer rock walls without any equipment except chalk.

GREEN (48 minutes) also had a Q&A with scientist Eric Dinerstein and Richard Zimmerman from Orangutan Outreach.  This film was about the systematic deforestation of Indonesia (it, along with Brazil, are the two largest and endangered rain forests in the world). The film shows how logging (paper and hardwoods) and the palm oil businesses are destroying the biodiversity of the rain forest. Green is a female orangutan and the film sadly records her last days in a world that can no longer sustain her nor has a place for her and other orangutans. 

The film had no voice track but, rather, juxtaposed the sounds of the forest with the sounds of industry as it systematically destroyed the forest. The sounds were jarring and most viewers could relate to dying Green hearing these unfamiliar sounds and how it must have disoriented and upset her. GREEN reminded me of a 1982 film which also featured only a soundtrack and no voice track — Koyaanisqatsi, which is the Indian word for life out of balance, crazy world, life disintegrating. Directed by Godfrey Reggio with music by Philip Glass it showed dramatic scenes from around the world of how man is adversely affected by “modernization”. GREEN also reminded me of the 1974 film Launcelot du Lacby Robert Bresson, in which the exaggerated sounds of armor clanking made it virtually impossible for warriors to do anything like hold lovers’ trysts in secret. In all films the sounds emphasized life where no dialogue or soundtrack was needed, making each film that much more dramatic.

GREEN ended with a long list of “credits” — those logging and palm oil companies and their supply chains of corporations which keep the deforestation going strong.  Many Fortune 500 companies can be read in that list and it is an excellent reference for just how insidious these practices are. Very creative.

Plastic State of Mind (3 minutes) was an eco-music video parodying Jay Z’ and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind video.  The tag line was convenience will kill you.

Led by Rosenthal, NYWFF has assembled a knowledgeable and distinguished Board of Advisors including Eric Dinerstein (scientist with the World Wildlife Fund), Richard Weise(Adventurer, outdoorsman, field scientist, journalist and the youngest president ever of The Explorers Club), David Breashears (renowned filmmaker and adventurer), Rebecca Martin(National Georgraphic Society’s Expeditions Council Director), Flo Stone (Environmental Film Festival Founder), and Chris Palmer(Director of American University’s Center for Environmental Film making).

The festival is drawing support from companies who engage in sustainable practices and environmental organizations with educational outreach resources looking to help encourage better stewardship of the planet.

Partners include Open Space Institute, CLIF BAR, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic Society, and the Earth Institute’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

There are two other similar festivals in the US – both on the West Coast.

This festival is unique and a welcome addition to the NY Film and conservation scene.

HOLTZGreen Diva Sandy: GD Correspondent (New York, NY)
(aka Sandra Holtzman) As the author of, “Lies Start-Ups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing” and President of Holtzman Communications, Sandy is a recognized leading marketing professional in several industries including emerging clean technologies. Sandy was a founder of Clean Tech New York and the Clean Tech Corridor. As a lifetime New Yorker, Sandy has a natural propensity for urban sustainability and a fabulous sense of humor to add flair to her green style.

About the author / 

Green Diva Meg

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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