Virtual Eco-Film Showcase
Throughout the month of August, some of our favorite cultural, learning, retail, and film institutions around the city will be hosting screenings with environmental and sustainability themes for our Eco Film Showcase, presented by Carmeuse.
But what about actual Earth Day? While we are quarantining and flattening the curve, we can learn and be entertained from the comfort of our own living room (and really, who are we kidding – the comfort of our own bed?!).
We present our Virtual Eco Film Showcase featuring a variety of films for you to check out – some are fun, some are serious and thought provoking. Many of the films are free or readily available on mainstream streaming networks (many of which are offering 20 days free right now.) Some of the films may have a small fee to watch (like our innovative friends from Rowhouse Cinema – still figuring out ways to bring first run films to us, during the pandemic). And there’s a whole section of films just for families (Disney+ is getting an extra Christmas Card this year – amiright?).
A variety of films to inspire, provide a call to action, or educate you on the history of the environmental movements:
- The Environmental Film Festival is held annually in March in the nation’s capital. This year, the entire festival went virtual. On their website you can watch 60 films from this year’s festival featuring the most up-to-date calls to action, education about specific issues such as food policy, ecosystems, wildlife, and much, much more. There are more than 300 total films available to watch, you can search by topic and even streaming providers.
- From our friends in Lawrenceville, Row House Cinema has launched a way to view first run movies through their on-line platform. Through April 23, check out The Dog Doc (and help to sustain a local, independent theater). Called a maverick, a miracle-worker, and a quack, Dr. Marty Goldstein is a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine. By holistically treating animals after other vets have given up, Goldstein provides a last hope for pet owners with nothing left to lose.
- For one day only - Earth Day, April 22 - Row House Cinema will be showing a new documentary "Earth." Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans - with shovels, excavators or dynamite. Filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people in mines, quarries, large construction sites in a constant struggle to appropriate the planet. Watch through Row House's online portal, wherever you are quarantined. 50% of net proceeds from each purchase go to Row House, helping them through the temporary closure due to COVID-19.
- Continue supporting your local theaters while taking part in the Virtual Film Festival by visiting Harris Theater’s at Home Virtual Cinema. A portion of your ticket purchase goes directly to Harris Theater in the Cultural District, who is offering an exclusive viewing of Earth. This documentary by Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people in mines, quarries, and at large construction sites who are engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.
- Phipps' Environmental Film Series is an exciting monthly event inviting community members to come together to view environmental films and documentaries. Join them virtually on Friday, April 17 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. for a screening of Plastic Wars. With the plastic industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics in this awesome new documentary which is free to watch online. Click here for full details on how to participate.
- Paris to Pittsburgh celebrates how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of climate change. Available to stream for free with subscription on Disney+.
- Spent many a pretty summer day walking across the Rachel Carson bridge, without ever really knowing who this transformative Pittsburgh woman really was? For $2.99 you can rent PBS’s American Experience: Rachel Carson and learn how she jumpstarted the modern-day environmental movement, was a pivotal suffragette, and is still highly relevant today.
- The vanishing bee population has been big news in recent years. More than Honey, tackles the vexing issue of why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. This film is available to stream for free through several services including the Roku Channel.
- How did Earth Day get started 50 years ago? It was through the hard work and dedication of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. Check out this free documentary, “Earth Day and Beyond: Gaylord Nelson’s Good Fight” produced by Wisconsin PBS.
- Chasing Coral is about the bleaching corals around the world and why they are so important for our ecosystems. And it’s available right now, on Netflix.
- Also on Netflix, the movie that is credited for the movement to ban plastic straws, A Plastic Ocean.
- Sustainable is a virtual investigation of economic and environmental instability of America’s food system and is available to rent of $2.99 on Amazon.
- Not necessarily movies, but the National Geographic channel has an incredible amount of free online movies, documentaries and series. There is truly something for everyone, including a whole section that is just celebrating Earth Day.
- Pluto TV is celebrating Earth Week with 24/7 programming on their chanels Pluto TV Animals, Pluto TV Science and Pluto TV Voyager. Check out their variety of documentaries, movies, and TV shows.
Maybe you need a little break from reality. If so, check out these films for some entertainment with an environmental message. Some are very recent award winners, along with a few classic films thrown in:
- Parasite – that’s right, this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture centers around class and inequality, the film also portrays the unequal impacts of climate change. Parasite is available on many on-demand and streaming services where it can be rented for as little as $4.
- Inspired by a true story, Dark Waters follows a corporate lawyer-turned-environmental crusader who seeks justice for a small West Virginia town experiencing a growing number of unexplained deaths and rare illnesses. It can be found for rent on many on-demand and streaming services for around $5.99
- The space thriller Ad Astra portrays a bleak near-future where we’ve colonized the Moon and Mars. The film is a visual masterpiece that warns us of man’s influence on the environment and what to expect if we simply colonize other planets without examining how we treat our own. It can be found for rent on many on-demand and streaming services for $5.99.
- Do you need a rom-com right about now? Believe it or not, we even have one for you with an environmental twist - Long Shot stars Seth Rogan as hapless investigative journalist Fred Flarsky and Charlize Theron as the sophisticated secretary of state Charlotte Field. Field, a presidential hopeful, aims to spearhead an international environmental initiative on the scale of the Paris Agreement and hires Flarsky as her speech writer. Available now for free with a Hulu or HBO Subscription and available to rent on several streaming and on-demand services.
- The China Syndrome is a 1979 Jane Fonda film where a modern nightmare nearly becomes reality in this tension-filled story about an “incident” at a nuclear power plant. This film is available for free on several streaming and on-demand services (Crackle, Xfinity) and available to rent for as little as $2.99 on others.
- Although a sci-fi film, Avatar has many themes that can be easily translated to current environmental issues such as the destruction of rain forests, indigenous rights, and mountaintop mining. Available to stream for free with a Disney+ subscription, and to rent on many streaming platforms for as little as $2.99.
- In Erin Brockovich Julia Roberts stars in this legal drama based on the story of a woman who helped win the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit, for contaminated water. Available to stream for free with a subscription to the Roku Channel or Starz, available to rent on many streaming platforms for as little as $2.99.
Family Friendly Films
Films for the whole family to enjoy:
- Disney+ really hits a home run here. First, on the home screen, there is an entire section of films already pulled together for Earth Month and they span all of the Disney entities. Next, the National Geographic content that is available is truly first rate. Featuring gorgeously shot documentaries, television series and special topics like Science and Innovation and Exploring our World, young environmentalists will be mesmerized for hours. Then hop over to the Pixar section for thought provoking, funny, lovable classics like Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and Finding Dory, and even lovely little shorts like La Luna and Piper. Lastly – the Disney section is full of films that have ties to environmental messages including early films like Bambi and The Jungle Book, to modern films like the live action version of The Lion King. Disney+ is offering a free trial currently, and if that’s not up your alley, many of the films mentioned are available to rent on streaming platforms.
- If we say School House Rock, does that get you a little excited? Well the people who taught us how a bill becomes law in the 1970’s are back with School House Rock: Earth with a whole new series of shorts on the Ocean, Energy Blues, and Tiny Urban Zoo. Don’t miss the full set of new songs for free here on You Tube.
- Here’s one for the older kids at home, Princess Mononoke, one of the highest grossing films, ever, in Japan, is also one of the first anime films to catch the interest of Americans and it focuses on a war over limited resources. It is available for purchase from many online streaming platforms
- If Ferngully was a favorite for you as a child, there’s no better time than Earth Day to introduce this environmental classic to your young watchers. Available for free with Hulu or Sling TV subscription and to rent on many streaming services.
- We saved the very best for last. The Lorax - chronicles the plight of the environment and the titular character, who "speaks for the trees" and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. The original 1972 version is available to stream for free on YouTube and the 2012, updated version of The Lorax is available for rent on many streaming platforms for $3.99.