2016 Tahoe Film Fest: Environmental Selections

When Worlds Collide

Environmental Section

When Two Worlds Collide

(Peru, USA, UK, 2016, 103 min.)

Director: Heidi Brandenburg Sierralta, Matthew Orzel

Producer: Taira Akbar

Telling an epic story filmed over eight years, this Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize Award winner reveals the battle waged between indigenous Amazonian leaders, resolute in protecting their land, and Peru’s president, eager to develop his nation through the exploitation of its natural resources – no matter the cost. Once President Alan Garica modifies laws that had previously safeguarded Peru’s Amazon rainforests, the stage is set for foreign companies to invest in logging and mineral exploration. The indigenous community, led by Alberto Pizango, responds in a protest that escalates to take on national and, eventually, global significance.

Village Cinema #1 – Northstar California – Saturday, December 3 – 6:00pm


Environmental Section

Antarctica: Ice and the Sky

(France, 2016, 89 min.)

Director: Luc Jacquet

Producer: Richard Grandpierre

Narrator: Michel Papineschi

With: Claude Lorius, Jacques-Yves Cousteau (archive footage)

Claude Lorius discovered his destiny at the age of 23 when he joined an expedition to the world’s most southernmost continent in 1955, land essentially untouched by scientific experiment. Lorius would go on to participate in twenty-two polar expeditions, facing unforgiving conditions and brutal personal challenges in an effort to discover the planet’s secrets held in small bubbles of air beneath the surface. Through remarkable archival footage and stunning drone cinematography, Lorius revisits the part of the world he knows best and recounts his story, from his first tentative steps as a young glaciologist to the crowning achievement of his career, receiving the Blue Planet Prize in 2008. Equal parts contemplative memoir and ardent call to action Antarctica: Ice and the Sky is the culmination of sixty years of discovery an epic tale where science and adventure meet.

Official Selection Cannes Film Festival

Village Cinema #1 – Northstar California – Saturday, December 3 – 8:00pm


Environmental Section


(France, Germany, 97 min.)

Directors: Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud

Producers: Jacques Perrin, Nicolas Elghozi, Olli Barbe

After traveling the world alongside migrating birds (Winged Migration) and diving the ocean with whales and manta rays (Oceans), Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud return to more familiar ground: the lush green forests and megafauna that emerged across Europe following the last Ice Age.

Winter had gone on for 80,000 years when – in a relatively short period of time – the ice retreated, the landscape metamorphosed, the cycle of the seasons was established, and the beasts occupied their new kingdom. It was only later than man arrived to share this habitat, first tentatively as migratory hunters/gatherers, then making inroads in the forest as settled agriculturalists, and later more dramatically via industry and warfare.

With its exceptional footage of animals in the wild, Seasons is the awe-inspiring and thought-provoking tale of the long and tumultuous shared history that inextricably binds humankind with the natural world.

Village Cinema #1 – Northstar California – Friday, December 2 – 8:00pm

The Sherpa

Environmental Section


(Australia/UK, 2016, 96 min.)                  

Director: Jennifer Peedom

Producers: Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

Filmmaker Jennifer Peedom was following the legendary Phurba Tashi Sherpa as he prepared for his record-breaking 22nd ascent of Mount Everest when the unthinkable happened: a deadly avalanche killed 16 Sherpas, and their community united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain from the adventure industry that hires them to risk their lives. Through the voices of the guides themselves, their families, and the climbers poised to summit when the disaster struck, Sherpa chronicles a historic moment of tragedy and resistance in which the Sherpas and their families reconsider the spiritual, economic, and personal implications of climbing – or not climbing – Everest.

Village Cinema #2 – Northstar California – Thursday, December 1 – 7:30pm


Environmental Section

Sonic Sea

(USA, 2016, 56 min.)

Directed and Produced by:  Michelle Dougherty, Daniel Hinerfeld

Narrated by Rachel McAdams and featuring Sting

Throughout the ocean, whales depend on sound to mate, find food, migrate, and defend against predators. A century ago the seas were silent, but now humans fill them with an unbearable cacophony – the sonic “bombs” of oil prospectors, the whirr of freight ships, the shrieks of military sonar – driving whales to disorientation and death. Sonic Sea, narrated by Rachel McAdams and featuring Sting, tells the story of Ken Balcomb, a former Navy officer who solved the tragic mystery of a mass stranding, and the global network of scientists working to limit our deadly clamor.

Village Cinema #2 – Northstar California – Friday, December 2 – 5:30pm

Before the Flood

Environmental Section

Before the Flood

(USA, 2016, 96 min.)

Director: Fisher Stevens

Producers: Trevor Davidoski, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, James Packer, Brett Ratner

With: Leonardo DiCaprio, Elon Musk, Pope Francis, Ban Ki-Moon, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Scott Robertson

If you could know the truth about the threat of climate change – would you want to know? Before the Flood, presented by National Geographic, features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change first hand. He goes on expeditions with scientists uncovering the reality of climate change and meets with political leaders fighting against inaction. He also discovers a calculated disinformation campaign orchestrated by powerful special interests working to confuse the public about the urgency of the growing climate crisis. With unprecedented access to thought leaders around the world, DiCaprio searches for hope in a rising tide of catastrophic news.

Village Cinema #1 & #2 – Northstar California – Sunday, December 4 – 4:00pm

Landfill Harmonic

Environmental Section

Landfill Harmonic

(Paraguay, Norway, Brazil, USA, 2015, 84 min.)

Directors: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

Producer: Juliana Penaranda-Loftus

Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group based next to one of South America’s largest landfills. The orchestra plays music from instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, they are catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of their music director, they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. But when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra becomes a source of hope for the town. The film is a portrait about the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit. It also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

Incline Village Cinema – Thursday, December 1 – 8:15pm

Unlocking the Cage

Environmental Section

Unlocking the Cage

(USA, 2016, 91 min.)

Directors: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker

Producers: Chris Hegedus, Frazer Pennebaker, Rosadel Varela

With: Steve Wise, Natalie Prosin, Liddy Stein and Justice Barbara Jaffe

In this heartwarming and intelligent film, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise argues that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for fundamental personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse. UNLOCKING THE CAGE follows a dedicated and impassioned man in his unprecedented efforts to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans.

Village Cinema #2 – Northstar California – Thursday, December 1 – 5:30pm