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The Green Life: New Eco-Films Debut at Sundance 2010

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January 26, 2010

New Eco-Films Debut at Sundance 2010

Green film The Sundance Film Festival truly has something for everyone: famous directors, snowboarding photo ops, hefty swag bags, Robert Redford. . . and some interesting new films exploring themes of climate change and environmental conservation. Here are a few of the promising green films debuting at this year's festival.

Waste Land: This documentary chronicles the work of Vic Muniz, an artist who uses found materials to create startling photographic images. Filmmaker Lucy Walker follows Muniz to a large landfill outside Rio de Janeiro, where he works with a team of catadores, self-proclaimed garbage-pickers, to create a new photographic masterpiece.

Obselidia: In this indie drama by Diane Bell, a young man who believes he is the last door-to-door salesman on Earth sets out to create his own encyclopedia of all things obsolete. After interviewing a scientist who predicts that climate change will destroy 80 percent of the world by 2100, he begins to grapple with questions about how to live in a world facing extinction.

Climate Refugees: More than 25 million “climate refugees” have had to leave their homes due to the effects of climate change, often when a loss of natural resources leaves their homelands untenable. For this moving documentary, filmmaker Michael Nash traveled for two years documenting the devastation in highly affected areas including Sudan, Bangladesh, and China.

GasLand: Since Halliburton developed “fracking," a method for natural-gas retrieval, many rural landowners have been offered big money from energy companies for use of their properties. Filmmaker Josh Fox traversed 32 states to investigate some of the harmful effects of this drilling boom, such as toxic waste, chronic illness, and gas explosions.  

Cane Toads: The Conquest: Cane toads were imported into Australia in 1935 to save the sugar-cane crop, and have since multiplied to become one of the continent’s biggest environmental problems. In this 3-D follow-up to his 1988 eco-doc, Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, filmmaker Mark Lewis presents an irreverent look at the indestructible nature of one of Australia’s most notorious pests.

--Jessi Phillips

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