Hollywood walked the green carpet at second annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival

Earth Day was yesterday, so what better way to celebrate the environment than with the second annual EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL!  With the need for awareness of issues surrounding our environment, KCET public television in Los Angeles and independent satellite network Link TV nationwide brought back the second annual  Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival last Friday,  April 20 with a private “Green Carpet” event to celebrate LA’s only environmental film festival. I had the chance to chat with various attendees of the green carpet event and see how Hollywood celebrates the environment…


KCET and Link TV partnered with Deadline and Green Wish, a grassroots nonprofit that helps other local nonprofit green organizations fund projects for their
communities. As filmmakers, actors and actresses, musicians, and other Hollywood environmentalists made their way on the green carpet, I had the wonderful opportunity of chatting with Relynn Caster (Me Myself and I), Marianne Jean -Baptiste (Training Day, Blindspot), Sharon Lawrence (Shameless, Queen Sugar, NYPD Blue), Kat Kramer (Little Fockers), Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul), Sara Rue (A SEries of Unfortunate Events, Will and Grace), Sarain Fox (Viceland’s Rise), and musician Prince EA.  From supporting elephant conservation to recycling, each person had a common thread – preserve and the environment.

To kick off the festival, environmental activist and actress Maggie Q introduced the opening night film  “Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story” at Sony Studios’ Kim Novak Theatre.   The film follows a daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue a captive Asian elephant and set her free. A post-screening Q&A moderated by film expert Pete Hammond was done with  filmmakers Ashley Bell, Roddy Tabatabai and John Michael McCarthy, Executive Producer David Casselman, and  Sangdeaun Lek Chailert.  This presentation continued KCETLink’s commitment to educating audiences about the global elephant poaching crisis following its 2016 award-winning campaign for EARTH FOCUS: Illicit Ivory. KCET and Link TV have partnered with the Save Elephant Foundation.


On April 21, Saturday, the film festival was opened with Heal The Bay, River LA, Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climb Lobby, Project Save Our Surf.  The film screenings  went  from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica. The day kicked off with an environmental shorts screening from UCLA’s
Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) program followed by four acclaimed films and closing with a screening of two all-new, back-to-back episodes of KCET and Link TV’s EARTH FOCUS, the longest running environmental news magazine on
U.S. television. The series premieres later this month, created in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The films featured on the second day of the film festival are listed below:

UCLA LENS Environmental Shorts Screenings

In partnership with KCET, UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS)  launched a yearlong collaboration to create innovative forms of immersive environmental reporting and documentary storytelling. The project brought together UCLA
faculty and students from English, Film, Anthropology and Environmental Science and represented an original collaboration between LENS and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Films included Taylor Yard: A Change of Heart in Los


“March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step”

A decade after making his Academy Award® winning March of the Penguins, filmmaker Luc Jacquet spent two months shooting in the Antarctic winter using the new technology of 4K cameras, airborne drones, and under-ice diving to show the story of two penguins, a father and son, as they face and overcome the almost
unimaginable challenges of life in this hostile land.


“The Last Animals”

Conflict photographer Kate Brooks exposes the killing of African Elephants and Rhinos in the current epidemic of highly effective poaching and trafficking syndicates, drawing startling connections between the illegal wildlife trade, drug cartels,
international terrorism and border security. At the same time, Brooks documents the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these animals in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Chad – once home to thousands of elephants – now only has an estimated 1,000 spread across the country. Outside of Zakouma National Park that hosts 450, the other herds are scattered in pockets. The herd of elephants living around Lake Chad are unique to the Sahel; they inhabit the desert, moving between water sources on Lake Chad. There are an estimated 1,000 elephants remaining in the country.


“Evolution of Organic” + short film “The Soil Story”

Academy Award® nominated director Mark Kitchell (“Berkeley in the Sixties,” “A Fierce Green Fire”) brought  the story of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters rejecting chemical farming and setting out to explore organic alternatives.    The film is narrated by recent Oscar winner Frances McDormand. A motley

Prior to the film, the short film “The Soil Story” from
LA’s environmental non-profit Kiss the Ground, explored the first viable, low-cost way to reverse climate change through soil.



Oscar®- and Emmy®-nominated director Brett Morgen used never-before-seen 16 mm footage unearthed after 50 years from the National Geographic archives to shed fresh light on trailblazing conservationist Jane Goodall. Morgen told Goodall’s
story starting in 1960, when the 26-year-old British woman arrives in a remote area of northwestern Tanzania to study chimpanzees.

Gombe, Tanzania – Jane Goodall and infant chimpanzee Flint reach out to touch each other’s hands. Flint was the first infant born at Gombe after Jane arrived. With him she had a great opportunity to study chimp developmentóand to have physical contact, which is no longer deemed appropriate with chimps in the wild. The feature documentary JANE will be released in select theaters October 2017. (National Geographic Creative/ Hugo van Lawick)


“Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” & “Earth Focus: Climate Migration”

“Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” explored how Louisiana learned from Hurricane Katrina.  Forecasts are dire for Louisiana to experience the second-highest sea level rise in the world. “Earth Focus: Climate Migration” followed populations
that are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration.


I am a strong advocate for preserving the environment.  Despite some who say that “global warming is a hoax”, I beg to differ.  As we have seen over time, environmental factors directly affect the plant and wildlife, and ultimately human existence.  I was extremely happy to that this film festival exists to raise awareness.  Knowledge is power, and we have the power to save our planet.

For a peek at some of my interviews with talented filmmakers and actors and actress, stay tuned to the Eclipse Magazine youtube channel.

I end this article by a quote by one of my favorite comedians and environmentalists:

“If we’re destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there’s got to be a very powerful energy to fight that.  I think we need more love in the world.  We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter.  I definitely want to contribute to that.” – Ellen Degeneres

Website:   https://www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus


Courtesy of KCET and Link TV