February 22-24, 27-29; March 1-2, 2024
For over 25 years, the “Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature” Environmental Film Festival has brought compelling and important films to the Tampa Bay area and the Eckerd College community to raise awareness and promote discussion of matters relating to nature, place and the environment.
Film scholars as well as established and emerging filmmakers from around the world engage the audience in a lively dialogue about the environmental perspectives contained in documentary, animated, experimental and feature films.
2024 Environmental Films
Thursday, February 22, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Fungi: The Web of Life
Directed by Gisela Kaufmann, Joseph Nizeti, and Mike Slee (UK, 40m, 2023)
Presented by Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds, and Shape our Future, and narrated by Icelandic musician Björk, this film offers stunning imagery that brings the hidden mycelial networks of fungus to life. Fungi have important lessons to teach humanity about survival through cooperation. Indeed, these incredible lifeforms may hold the key to solving some of humanity’s most urgent problems. With millions more species to discover, our journey into the secret world of fungi has only just begun.
For this opening program, “Fungi: The Web of Life” will be followed by two films by former and current Eckerd College students about the remarkable creatures above us in the sky:
Black Skimmers: Under our Wing
Directed by Lia Nydes (USA, 12m, 2023)
Eckerd Alumnus Lia Nydes ‘15 examines the habits and habitat of this elegant but threatened local shorebird.
Feathered Perspectives: A Science Student’s Journey Into Avian Beauty
Directed by Amelia Swiecki ‘27 (US, 5m, 2023)
A lovely tribute to Eckerd College animal studies major and photographer Sam Cox and her quest to capture the beauty of the birds that inhabit our campus.
The three films will be introduced by Prof. Amy Rust, Associate Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, who will also lead a panel discussion with our filmmakers Lia Nydes and Amelia Swiecki.
Friday, February 23, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Directed by Thomas Cailley (French with English subtitles, 128m, 2023)
What does it mean to be human in a world where people have begun taking on animal characteristics? Animal Kingdom explores issues of empathy, prejudice, and tolerance through a science fiction lens that asks audiences to rethink the relationship between humans and their animal nature.
Saturday, February 24, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Directed by Kira Akerman (USA, 74m, 2022)
This probing documentary follows three teenagers coming of age in their sinking homeplace of Louisiana. For the first time, they notice the Mississippi River’s engineering, stumps of cypress trees, and polluting refineries. Their different perspectives — as Indigenous, white, and Angolan young women — shape their story of the climate crisis.
The film will feature an introduction and discussion with director Kira Akerman and participant Mekenzie Fanguy.
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 outside at the Community Farm (rain location: Miller Auditorium)
Directed by Mark Verkerk (Dutch with English subtitles, 80m, 2023)
A groundbreaking documentary that unveils the vital, yet often overlooked, world beneath our feet. With more living creatures in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on Earth, this ecosystem is essential for supporting all life on our planet. By showcasing the interconnectedness, immense potential and strength of soil organisms, the film inspires us to reimagine our relationship with nature. It offers tangible solutions to improve soil health, combat climate change, and enhance food security.
The introduction and discussion of the film will be led by Prof. Dave Himmelfarb, who teaches in Environmental Studies at Eckerd College and is the Director of the EC Community Farm. View map to the campus farm with parking and walking instructions–or get directions to the farm via Google Maps. Bring your own blankets or chairs for this outdoor screening.
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Arc of Oblivion
Directed by Ian Cheney (USA, 98m, 2023)
Director Ian Cheney, who came to the festival with his fantastic documentary A City Dark, excels at exploring complex ideas in very accessible and quirky ways. For this film he constructs a literal ark, as in Noah’s ark, in his parent’s Maine backyard, and invites scientists, librarians, historians, and filmmakers (including Werner Herzog), to discuss the importance of archives, through which we attempt to hold on to the past. While it is a very real human need to explore the past and hold on to memories, the film highlights the fact that the earth as a whole functions as a kind of archive through which we can examine the past and prepare for the future.
The introduction and discussion of the film will be led by Prof. Nick Corrao (Film Studies, Eckerd College), resident documentarian who teaches his students how to incorporate archival materials into their own works.
Thursday, February 29, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Directed by Alexandre Phillippe (USA, 77m, 2023)
Alexander O. Philippe has made some of the most thought-provoking films-about-films in recent years, including 78/52 and Lynch/Oz. The Taking is not about one filmmaker, but about a place: Monument Valley, and its representation in the popular imagination, primarily of course in westerns, and especially—obsessively—in the western movies of John Ford. The movies have made this landscape an emblem for America, but this in itself is an act of colonization, a myth that obscures land theft and worse.
The film will be introduced and discussed by Prof. Graig Uhlin, Associate Professor in English at Oklahoma State University, who has written extensively on the connection between cinema and the environment.
Friday, March 1, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Directed by Elaine Sheldon (USA, 80m, 2023)
A lyrical tapestry of a place and people, King Coal meditates on the complex history and future of the coal industry, the communities it has shaped, and the myths it has created. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon reshapes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking in a spectacularly beautiful and deeply moving immersion into Central Appalachia where coal is not just a resource, but a way of life.
While deeply situated in the communities under the reign of King Coal, where McMillion Sheldon has lived and worked her entire life, the film transcends time and place, emphasizing the ways in which all are connected through an immersive mosaic of belonging, ritual, and imagination. Emerging from the long shadows of the coal mines, King Coal untangles the pain from the beauty, and illuminates the innately human capacity for change.
The film’s director, Elaine Sheldon, will be with us virtually to introduce the film and discuss it with the audience after the screening.
Saturday, March 2, 2024 in Miller Auditorium
Razing Liberty Square
Directed by Katja Esson (USA, 86m, 2023)
Miami is ground-zero for sea-level-rise. When residents of the Liberty Square public-housing community learn about a $300 million revitalization project in 2015, they know that their neighborhood is located on the highest-and-driest ground in the city. Now they must prepare to fight a new form of racial injustice: Climate Gentrification.
The film will be introduced and discussed by its director, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Katja Esson, who is based in Miami.
The state-of-the-art Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium features:
- NEC 15,000 lumen projector
- BluRay and DCP Video projection capabilities
- 12′ x 26′ projection screen
- 16 surround speakers, 3 cinema stage speakers
- 374 upholstered, cushioned seats
- Assisted listening system available upon request