The Toronto-based Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival has wrapped for its 14th edition, and honored Liz Marshall’s The Ghosts In Our Machine and Sebastien Mez’s Metamorphosen in its awards ceremony over the weekend.
Mez’s Metamorphosen follows people living in the south Ural region of Russia, which has been repeatedly irradiated by different accidents at the Mayak nuclear facility, making it one of the most radioactive contaminated spots on Earth.
Jury members for the category include filmmaker/activists Velcrow Ripper and Andrew Nisker, and journalist Geoff Pevere.
Marshall’s Ghosts, which follows the work and mission of animal photographer and activist Jo-Anne McArthur, was named best Canadian feature by jurors including filmmakers Anne Pick and Peter Lynch, John Dippong of Telefilm and Anne Wordsworth of Planet in Focus.
The award for best Canadian short went to Tar, directed by Greg Francis and produced by Kristy Neville. The film juxtaposes Western Canadian landscapes that stand to be impacted by the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.
The Mark Haslam Award, named in honor of the festival’s founder, went to Have You Seen The Arana?, which looks at a region in southern India transformed by industrial development.
Elsewhere , the fest’s Green Pitch Award went to Mackenzie’s Tributaries, a feature doc from Geoff Morrison and Sean Wainsteim following acclaimed photographer Donald Weber, with honorable mention going to Claire Sanford’s Hwang Sa, The Fifth Season.
The festival also bestowed its International Eco-Hero award to astronaut Chris Hadfield, who accepted via live teleconference, and its Canadian Eco-hero award to filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk.
Lastly, the Green Screen Award, which grants CDN$5,000 to productions that demonstrate the best methods and procedures to “green” the process and reduce their environmental footprint, went to narrative feature Dead Before Dawn 3D from April Mullen, with Liz Marshall’s Ghosts In Our Machine as runner-up, winning $1,000.
The Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival screened a total of 21 feature films and 11 shorts from November 21-24.