Sundance Earth Day Selections: 2013 Edition

Louie Psihoyos’ The Cove

Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator

In this eco-conscious age of hybrid vehicles, carbon-cutting cleaning products, and urban composting, Earth Day appears to have ascended the holiday hierarchy—to heights that perhaps even the crunchiest of its 1970’s creators couldn’t have envisioned. This Monday, April 22, marks the 43rd Earth Day, and Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program is currently offering some special documentaries for home viewing that confront vastly different (but equally alarming) stories addressing urgent threats to the environment. To observe Earth Day this year, we’re offering hand-picked selection of sustainability-themed Sundance favorites for you to enjoy.

Don’t have time to watch them all now? No problem. You can queue them up for later using GoWatchIt and you’ll never miss a beat.

Atomic States of America
Currently available through #ArtistServices. Watch Now

In 2010, the United States approved the first new nuclear power plant in 32 years, heralding a “Nuclear Renaissance”. But that was before the Fukushima accident in Japan renewed a fierce public debate over the safety and viability of nuclear power.

The Atomic States of America journeys to nuclear reactor communities around the country to provide a comprehensive exploration of the history and impact to date of nuclear power, and to investigate the truths and myths about nuclear energy.

Ecological Design
Currently available through #ArtistServices. Watch Now

Ecological Design: Inventing the Future is a educational documentary film which illuminates the emergence of ecological design in the 20th Century. The film features the ideas and prototypes of pioneering designers who have trail-blazed the development of sustainable architecture, cities, energy systems, transport, and industry. Beginning in the 1920’s with the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, moving through the 1960’s and the Counter-Culture and ending on the doorstep of the 21st Century: the film follows the evolution of Ecological Design from the Visions of a few independent thinkers to the powerful movement it is becoming.

An Inconvenient Truth
Arguably the most influential environmental documentary of our time, Davis Guggenheim’s 2006 Sundance Film Festival selection and Academy Award winner is credited with educating the public about climate change and spawning the larger global warming movement.

Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon
Director Peter Richardson has crafted a seamless portrait of a clash of differing values. The film explores the story of the Clemens, a logging family in Oregon, while serving as a microcosm for the vast ideological divisions within our country.

Chasing Ice
Director Jeff Orlowski tracks photographer James Balog’s efforts to gather visual evidence of the Earth’s melting glaciers with time-lapse photography in this breathtaking documentary.

The story behind the world’s largest oil-related environmental lawsuit comes to the screen as award-winning documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger investigates the facts in the case of the so-called “Amazon Chernobyl,” a disaster that occurred deep in the rain forests of Ecuador.

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Filmmaker Marshall Curry explores the inner workings of the Earth Liberation Front, a revolutionary movement devoted to crippling facilities involved in deforestation, while simultaneously offering a profile of Oregon ELF member Daniel McGowan, who was brought up on terrorism charges for his involvement with the radical group.

Semper Fi: Always Faithful
In this Academy Award nominated documentary from Rachel Libert shows the two retired Marines that lead the fight for justice for U.S. soldiers exposed to dangerous toxic chemicals while stationed at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina.

The Cove
Louie Psihoyos’ 2010 Academy Award winning documentary analyzes and questions Japan’s dolphin hunting culture. The final result is a heart-wrenching, but inspirational story that shows the true power of film in the hands of people who aren’t afraid to risk everything for a vital cause.

The Island President
Documentary filmmaker Jon Shenk follows President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives during his first year in office, as he wages a valiant campaign to raise awareness of global climate change in order to save his beloved island country, which is slowly being swallowed up by the ocean due to rising sea levels.

Trouble the Water 
Tia Lessin and Carl Deal’s Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary expertly weaves home video, news broadcasts, and original footage to rewrite the coverage of Hurricane Katrina through the experiences of a New Orleans couple.

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