The Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, which takes place next month in Toronto, is to present Ric O’Barry (pictured), who is featured in Oscar-winning doc The Cove, with the International Eco Hero Award.
Unveiling the news at a press conference held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto today, the festival said that O’Barry, who devoted his career to protecting dolphins and marine animals after serving as an animal trainer on television show Flipper, will be in attendance at the closing night gala on October 16.
He can currently be seen in Animal Planet’s series Blood Dolphin$, which picks up where The Cove left off, following O’Barry and his son Lincoln’s quest to stop the slaughter of dolphins. A short doc produced by CineFocus Canada, Beyond the Cove, will introduce O’Barry at the festival.
The Canadian Eco Hero Award recipient, meanwhile, is Kevin McMahon, director of documentaries In the Reign of Twilight, Waterlife and Standing Wave, which was part of the 26-part multimedia series National Parks Project.
McMahon will receive his award at the opening night gala on October 12 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In conjunction with the award presentation, his film Standing Wave will screen. Speaking at today’s conference, McMahon said of being honored: “I certainly don’t feel like a hero, I’m a reporter.”
The festival’s line-up was also revealed, which includes 75 films from filmmakers and environmentalists from all over the world.
Some of the highlights include Brick by Brick: The Story of Evergreen Brick Works, from directors Catherine Annau and Geoff Cape, about the Brick Works renewal and ecosystem rehabilitation project in Toronto; and White Water Black Gold: Keepers of the Water, narrated by actor Peter Coyote and focusing on the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands and its effect on Canada’s water supply.
Films that focus on international environmental problems include Up in Smoke, from director Adam Wakeling, about tropical ecologist Mike Hands’ quest to persuade Honduran farmers to adopt sustainable methods; and Waking the Green Tiger, following the new environmental movement in China.
Other titles include Frank Wolf’s On the Line, Simon Plouffe’s The Gold of Others, Roz Owen’s Portrait of Resistance: The Art & Activism of Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge, Bernice Notenboom’s Niger River: A River Under Seige and Aube Giroux’ From Chernobyl to Fukushima: A Campaigner’s Journey.
In addition, Grant Baldwin’s The Clean Bin Project, Mark Terry’s The Polar Explorer, Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez Abramson’s Carbon for Water will screen during the fest, as will Last Stand on the Island, Spoil, Darwin, Future of Hope and Urban Roots.
As previously reported, the opening night film will be Revenge of the Electric Car and the closing film will be The Whale, narrated by Ryan Reynolds. The fest runs from October 12-16 in Toronto.