Thank you for joining the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment for our 2021 Virtual Film Fest! Our film lineup shared unique and powerful stories celebrating the power of grassroots activism and community resilience. Learn more about our amazing selection of short and long-form films below.
Do you have any great film recommendations?
We are always looking for fantastic films that speak to our values, and that highlight community resilience. Know of a film that’s a great fit? Send us an email with a short description and a link to the film.
2021 Film Lineup
Our virtual 2021 Film Fest brings films from the grassroots to your home screen! Our fantastic film lineup shares stories celebrating the power of grassroots activism and community resilience. These beautiful films give us a feeling of connection and community, as we enter another cycle of the pandemic.
Our film lineup is curated into five Themed Film Segments: “Who’s Land,” “Our Planet, Our Health,” “Water is Life,” “Youth Forward,” and “Resilient Climate, Resilient Communities.” We have chosen these themes in response to the past year of environmental, social, and political unrest. They embody the inspiring and resilient spirit of the communities and environments facing disproportionate challenges. Read about the films in each segment below.
– Themed Film Segment
3 films, 114 min
Sponsored by Mechanics Bank
Segment Description: Our public lands are essential to the preservation of biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change. Meet the activists leading the charge to protect our lands and every person’s right to freely experience them.
Midori Farm is a short film that features farmer Marko Colby of Quilcene, Washington describing Midori Farm, where he and his wife Hanako Myers raise organic vegetables. In the film, he explains the benefits of Jefferson Land Trust’s conservation easement program to preserve working farmland.
Our public lands and waters are under threat. As an extinction crisis looms and climate change continues to be one of the greatest threats our planet has ever faced, America’s 640 million acres of public lands support biodiversity and carbon sequestration. It’s essential that we fight for their protection by preventing the slashing of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, fighting the potential permanent destruction of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, and stopping the de facto sale of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—one of the last wild places in America. Public Trust is a film about the Fight for America’s Public Lands, from Executive Producers Robert Redford & Yvon Chouinard. This film is sponsored by Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP.
Venture Out is a story of overcoming odds the power of resilience, and ultimately, the everlasting effects of LGBTQ community building. The Venture Out Project, founded by Perry Cohen, is a nonprofit organization that brings LGBTQ folks together outdoors on wilderness trips. In sharing Perry’s story, and hearing from the other TVOP participants, we get a glimpse into the healing qualities of nature and life-saving community bonds that are being forged as a result of Perry’s work.
“Our Planet, Our Health”
– Themed Film Segment
7 films, 143 min
Sponsored by Community Bank of the Bay
Segment Description: Climate-related disasters, industrial pollution, toxic water and air: these are just a few of the environmental burdens faced by low-income and people of color communities. But local leaders across the country are pushing back against corporations, systems, and government to protect their families and neighbors and restore public health.
Fighting for Environmental Justice: the Health Crisis at the US-Mexico Border
The film documents how the San Ysidro border community is threatened by air pollution stemming from traffic at the US-Mexico border port of entry. The documentary highlights community efforts to mitigate this environmental injustice following a major federal expansion of the border crossing in 2019.
The Accidental Environmentalist: Catherine Flowers
A mosquito bite decades ago leads Catherine Coleman Flowers on her life’s journey. The second in the Southern Exposure series, this captivating film brings viewers into the world of Catherine Coleman Flowers, a Lowndes County, Alabama activist who became passionate about the environment when she found out that tropical diseases, like hookworm, were showing up in her community because of sewage treatment problems. Her journey to solve problems at the intersection of poverty, climate change, and politics has taken her from the Alabama Black Belt to Washington, D.C. to Switzerland and back. She shares her special connection to place and invites you into a day in her life in Accidental Environmentalist.
Mossville: When Great Trees Fall
Mossville, Louisiana: A once-thriving community founded by formerly enslaved and free people of color, and an economically flourishing safe haven for generations of African American families. Today it’s a breeding ground for petrochemical plants and their toxic black clouds. Many residents are forced from their homes, and those that stay suffer from prolonged exposure to contamination and pollution. Amid this chaos and injustice stands one man who refuses to abandon his family’s land – and his community. Watch the trailer for Mossville: When Great Trees Fall here.
Out to Pasture: The Future of Farming?
Out to Pasture profiles farmers who are raising food animals on pasture, and explains why this is better for public health, the environment, and the animals when compared to operations that confine animals indoors, which is currently the dominant method.
PFAS, by Clean Water Fund and Clean Water Action highlights the threat of PFAS chemicals to our environment and people, exploring the ways these “forever” chemicals invade our bodies — from our drinking water, workplaces, products, and food. The film calls for bold action by California to stop the use of these chemicals and address the existing contamination. This film is sponsored by Signature Bank.
Raptor Blues is a Claymation video by young filmmaker Ian Timothy that features a red-tailed hawk, barn owl, and turkey vulture singing about what happens when they are tempted by poisoned rodents.
This is the story of Lead to Life, where young activists come together to transform guns into shovels, which are then used to plant trees alongside victims of gun violence. Lead to Life is a Bay Area collective led by Black-diasporic and queer artists, healers, and ecologists. Bridging racial and environmental justice through ceremony and art practice, Lead to Life explores their commitment to decomposing systems of oppression through what they call applied alchemy – wielding alchemy to provoke radical imagination toward justice.
“Water is Life”
– Themed Film Segment
5 films, 199 min
Sponsored by Harrington Investments Inc.
Segment Description: Water is essential to all life on earth. Learn about the many ways our communities are fighting to conserve, protect, and honor this precious resource.
A Fisher’s Right to Know
Fishers throughout East Alabama depend on the mighty Coosa River for food, recreation, and a family pastime that goes back generations. But do fishermen and women — and their families — have a right to know which fish are safe to consume? Not currently in Alabama, the River State. Watch A Fisher’s Right to Know to learn how Coosa Riverkeeper and other advocates are working to give fishers across the entire state that right.
Big River, a film following up from the Peabody Award-winning documentary King Corn. Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to Iowa with a new mission: to investigate the environmental impact and ecological consequences of industrial agriculture on the people and places downstream. Check out the trailer here.
Return of the River
The camera soars over mountain headwaters, dives into schools of salmon, and captures turbines grinding to a halt; as the largest dam removal project in history begins. Return of the River is a story about people and the land they inhabit. The film captures the tenacity of individuals who would not give up on a river, mirroring the tenacity of salmon headed upstream to spawn. It is a narrative with global ramifications, exploring the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them. This film is sponsored by Lozeau Drury LLP.
River Killers in the California Drought
This year in California, it’s not a drought for everyone—industrial agriculture thrives, while rivers and salmon die.
Water Flows Together
Water Flows Together elevates the importance of acknowledging Indigenous land in outdoor recreation through the voice of Colleen Cooley, one of the few female Diné (Navajo) river guides on the San Juan River. In sharing Colleen’s perspective, we are given a glimpse into native views on issues of water resource management, which are often missing from the larger discussions of western water challenges.
Where There Once Was Water
Where There Once Was Water is a song for the sacred in all of us. An invitation to change our perspective, rewrite the story, and heal our relationship with water… one watershed, one meal, one raindrop at a time. Water is love, and if we write it together, this love story may indeed become one for the ages. Watch a clip here.
-Themed Film Segment
9 films, 149 min
Sponsored by Heritage Bank
Segment Description: Aware of the dire health, social, and environmental impacts of climate change and racial violence, our youngest generations are taking action. Meet the inspiring youth leading the movement for a just and sustainable future.
A boy realizes that he doesn’t need superpowers to save the Earth. Through everyday acts of service, we can have an outsized impact on our communities and the environment. Join Enviroman as he takes on the challenge to make the world a better place.
Environmental Justice Camp for Girls
Learn how Tacoma Urban League and Citizens for a Healthy Bay are raising the next generation of environmental stewards through their Environmental Justice Camp for Girls. These young activists learn how to reduce and eliminate pollution that contaminates their bay, while forging relationships with their environment.
Young people of color have historically been on the frontlines of struggle and social change. Now we are facing a Climate Emergency! All over the world, communities are devastated by the rising tides, storms, fires, horrors and miseries, provoked by climate change. The same powers and corporate interests that have devastated our people and polluted our lands, air and water for centuries, have also created the climate crisis. Once again, the youth are at the forefront of the climate justice movement, while ushering clean and just solutions to their communities. All the while fighting against the culprits of climate destruction in their communities, and winning.
The Heroes Among Us: Dez Rae Kai
The Heroes Among Us is about celebrating ordinary folks in the Sonoma County community doing extraordinary work to create transformative change. These heroes offer hope and inspiration, reminding us of the power we each hold to drive collective change. Dez Rae Kai is one of our amazing heroes, a high school senior who organized and led Black Lives Matter protests, vigils, and mural artwork in Sebastopol. She has collaborated with numerous other young people and is a huge inspiration to people of all ages, creating an inclusive movement for social and environmental justice. Our New Voices Are Rising youth had the opportunity to interview Dez Rae about her work in the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond. Watch the full interview here.
Mama Wanda’s Garden School: Right Tree, Right Place
Mama Wanda’s Garden School is a multi-platform educational project to build resilient communities through urban agriculture. West Oakland has some of the poorest air quality in the Bay Area due to multiple burdens of diesel truck routes, overlapping freeways, and heavy industry. In this “Right Tree, Right Place” video clip, Jada, New Voices Are Rising students, and other community members plant trees in West Oakland to improve air quality and bring more green spaces to communities of color. Watch the video here!
Siurave’s Garden Project
Siurave, a high school student in the Rose Foundation’s New Voices Are Rising Rose program, created this video to present at New Voices’ 2021 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy. In it, she details how the food industry negatively impacts low-income and people of color communities, and how we can all benefit from growing our own food.
Stories From the Blue: Ocean Guardians
The NOAA Ocean Guardian School Program provides opportunities for kids to get out in their environment to do hands-on, stewardship-based projects. Come along as we meet those who have fostered the growth of this important program and the children who are the future guardians of our planet.
Think Like a Scientist: Renewal
Featuring an emerging scientist from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Think Like a Scientist: Renewal is a heart-warming story of transformation and restoration. To Cameron, the Elwha River is home. But as she grew up alongside its waters and trees and wildlife, she began to realize how much the habitat has been altered by humans. After the historic removal of two hydroelectric dams, Cameron has witnessed and been an active part of the restoration of her river home.
YOUTH v GOV
YOUTH v GOV is the story of America’s youth taking on the world’s most powerful government. Armed with a wealth of evidence, twenty-one courageous leaders file a ground-breaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. If these young people are successful, they will not only make history, they will change the future.
“Resilient Climate, Resilient Communities”
– Themed Film Segment
3 films, 57 min
Segment Description: Impacts of climate change are felt all over the world, threatening our livelihoods, health, and safety. Hear from the communities most intimately familiar with their changing environment, the ramifications of which affect them every day.
Other Side of the Hill
Other Side of the Hill explores the impacts of a changing climate in rural Oregon — as seen through the eyes of local leaders on the ground. From innovative timber operations to large-scale solar, the film amplifies the voices of rural communities often left unheard, and shines a light on stories of progress and hope. In a time of perceived cultural divide between rural and urban, left and right, young and old, the community discovers common ground in an urgency to address a changing landscape. Get a sneak peek here.
Climate change is quickly altering the shape of the Northwest — its ecosystems, its coastlines, and the ways of life of the humans who live on it. This is perhaps felt most acutely by several tribes on the Pacific Coast, where declining salmon stocks and an ocean in revolt are forcing them to confront the reality of moving from the place they’ve inhabited since time immemorial. As the Quinault spread their message of climate resiliency, they also continue to paddle the canoes of their ancestors into the sea that both sustains and threatens them.
This California Tribe is Fighting Fires with Fire
For over 100 years, it has been illegal for Indigenous tribes in California to practice traditional burning to prevent catastrophic wildfires. Now, the Karuk Tribe in Humboldt and Siskiyou counties is working with the Forest Service and other local organizations to bring them back.
Aguugum Tanaa or Our Sacred Place, is the final of three short videos that take place in the municipality of St. George, Alaska. The film explores the future of St George’s awe-inspiring, marine sanctuary (home to the Northern Fur Seal, Steller Sea Lion, and millions of seabirds), and the cultural heritage of the Unangan people who live there.
Learn more and take action!
Head to our Resources & Action Page to find more information about the films and the issues highlighted, useful links, and ways to act in support of the efforts shown in each work. These films are not just stories that exist on screen; they are a call for all of us to learn more, plug in, and take action.
Thank you for celebrating with us! We’ll see you next year.