Planet in Focus fest reveals line-up, honors Kunuk

Filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change) has been named an Eco-Hero by the annual environmental film fest, and a slew of docs, including Sand Wars (pictured), will be part of the November event's roster.
October 16, 2013

Filmmaker and activist Zacharias Kunuk and Col. Chris Hadfield are the recipients of this year’s Planet in Focus (PIF) Eco-Heroes awards, part of this year’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, happening Nov. 21 to 24.

“Planet in Focus selected these individuals as the 2013 Eco-Heroes because  through their creative works, activism and their dedication to documenting traditional ways of life and practices, Colonel Hadfield and Zacharias Kunuk inspire individuals to act and demonstrate that each of us can positively  contribute to the preservation of our planet,” said PIF exec director Dawn  Kuisma in a statement.

Inuit filmmaker and activist Kunuk is behind the acclaimed films Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, The Journals of Knud  Rasmussen and the documentary Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change. With the award, Kunuk is recognized for documenting first-hand accounts from Inuit elders about  the impact of climate change on Inuit culture and the northern environment.

Hadfield is the former commander of the International Space Station. From his incomparable perspective and viewpoint during his tenure, he put the Earth into focus through writing, photography and music, PIF organizers said,  adding, “Through his photography, he has provided visual proof of the destructive impact we have had on our planet.”

Hadfield will also be appearing at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers in Montreal in early December.

Elsewhere, PIF also announced its festival lineup, which will be bookended by two documentaries – opening film Arctic  Defenders, a snapshot of Canada’s High Arctic landscape directed by  John Walker, and closing night film Last Call, from Italian filmmaker Enrico Cerasuolo.

Other docs screening at the festival include Jason Young’s Bad Coyote; Kalyanee Mam’s A River Changes Course; Charlotte Engel’s Carpe Diem: A Fishy Tale; Denis Delestrac’s Sand Wars (a realscreen MIPCOM Pick, pictured); and Joan Prowse’s Green Family: Back to  Nature, featuring artist Robert Bateman and singer-songwriter Ta’Kaiya Blaney.

Also screening at the festival are Peter Gilbert’s Burning Ice, and Imre Azem’s Ekumenopolis. The full lineup is available online.

Festival organizers have also announced the Planet in Focus Green Screen and Green Pitch award finalists.

The $5,000 Green Screen Award recognizes a TV series or film that highlights the positive role the film and TV industry plays in creating solutions for a  healthier planet. The runner up receives $1,000 cash.

This year’s finalists are: documentary Bike City, Great City by David Chernushenko; Dareen Hassan’s doc Bread and Iron; April Mullen’s zombie feature Dead Before Dawn 3D; Becca Williams’ Dog Vlog –  Episode 1: The Dog Days of Our Environment; and Liz Marshall’s documentary  The  Ghost in Our Machine.

And the Green Pitch finalists will present their projects, which explore ecological environmental issues, to a live audience on Nov. 22. This year’s finalists are: Lance Carlson with A Million MacGyvers; Emily Hunter with Activism 2.0; Jessica Jennings with Ready to Vert; Annette Mangaard with Alberta Beauty; Geoff Morrision with Mackenzie’s Tributaries; and Claire Sanford for Hwang Sa, the Fifth  Season.

Past winners include Amanda Strong’s Honey For Sale, Caroline Bacle’s Lost Rivers, and Oscar-nominated feature Up the Yangtze,  directed by Yung Chang.

(From Playback Daily. With files from Barry Walsh)

About The Author