The SA Eco Film Festival, which opened on Thursday night with the invitation-only screening of Jane, is presenting its longest list of international feature films in its five year history. The festival’s content-rich and diverse programme covers sustainability, fashion, ecology and social justice activists, with heartwarming stories from across the globe included in the line-up. (FYI Jane is a film about the the life and work of the renowned primatology scientist, Jane Goodall.) Some of the screenings are followed by a Q&A with a speaker, linking the film to our day-to-day experiences of the issues we’re facing. On Thursday night there is an exciting screening of short South African films at the BO OP in Cape Town. The film festival is running in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.  See below the films we don’t want to miss:

A PLASTIC OCEAN (102 MINS, USA, 2016)

A Plastic Ocean is a documentary film directed by the Australian journalist Craig Leeson. It dives into and investigates the devastating impacts that plastic has caused to our environment, especially our marine life. What starts off as an adventure to film the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, leads to the shocking discovery of a thick layer of plastic debris floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Craig, alongside Tanya Streeter, a world record-breaking free diver and environmental activist, then travel across the globe to report on the havoc caused by decades of plastic use.”  Gary Truong, The Conversation

BUGS – THE FILM (73 MINS, USA 2016) 

“Andreas Johnsen’s Bugs, a documentary about eating insects, begins as a gleeful deadpan comedy and ends up as an exasperated cri de cœur against our current system of industrialized food production and distribution. The film follows Ben Reade and Josh Evans, a couple of researchers affiliated with the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen, as they travel the world, from Mexico to Uganda to the Netherlands, studying local entomophagic practices. You’re likely to watch in fascinated disgust as these hipster versions of Andrew Zimmern pull larvae out of tree roots in the Australian Outback and slurp down ant honey in Africa.” Keith Watson, Slant Magazine

CHASING CORAL (93 MINS, USA 2017) WATCH TRAILER

“Chasing Coral culminates in a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, the veritable continent of coral that borders the north of Australia, and once there, we learn that 22 percent of this spectacular, 2,300-kilometer formation died in 2016. One-fifth of the Great Barrier Reef died. In 2016. That is so wrong, in every way, that you walk out of Chasing Coral feeling that Richard Vevers is correct: The more that people see, and understand, the death of our coral, the more they’ll realize that climate change isn’t just about wrecking the planet, it’s about humanity destroying itself.” Owen Glieberman, Variety

RIVERBLUE (95 MINS, CANADA/USA 2016)

RiverBlue documents the global environmental impact of the fashion industry. Their goal for this film is to open people’s eyes so as to encourage consumers to demand more ethical and sustainable industry practices. During the film we follow Mark Angelo, a river conservationist awarded the Order of Canada, as he takes us through India, Indonesia, and China. By following the impact of one item, blue jeans, we see the negative impact of the chemicals used, but also the greener, cleaner options available. RiverBlue is real and raw, but also hopeful. Viewers end the film with a call to action. The choice is ours.” Discorder Magazine

THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN (90 MINS, NORWAY/UK 2017, watch trailer below)

“An impoverished climate change crusader resides in Kenya in Thank You for the Rain, a familiar though intimately affecting story about the planet’s dire present and uncertain future. Kisilu Musya is a dedicated husband, father, and farmer who has witnessed the disastrous effects of climate change first hand. He and his fellow farmers eagerly await rainfall as a drought ravages the land; then, seemingly out of nowhere, rains return but with a vengeance, and now floods are the villain. Kisilu is followed by Norwegian filmmaker Julia Dahr, who narrates a years long saga of farming, family, and activism with adoration and curiosity. In allowing his story to be told, Kisilu himself takes a hand held camera, offering his perspective in a more personal way.” Anthony Marcusa, In the Seats

  • Tickets are R50, of which R5 is donated towards tree planting through Greenpop. Full programme here.