Ecological films at the 33rd Durban International Film Festival 2012

The environment around us has never been so under threat by the impact of human exploitative activity on its own habitat. From climate change to the destruction of precious flora and fauna, the Eco Lens at Durban International Film Festival 2012 brings environmental issues under the microscope.

The Eco Lens comprises both factual documentary accounts and fictional stories dedicated to drawing our attention to some of the valuable cogs in the delicate machine that is this blue and green planet.

Consumption patterns, our eating habits and the impact of corporatized food production come under scrutiny in particular Bitter Seeds (winner of the Green Screen Prize at IDFA) looks at the issue of multinational GM corporations and their impact on the small farmers.  LoveMEATender is a brutal but illuminating and thorough look at the unsustainability of the meat industry, and Semisweet: Life in Chocolate delves into all the facets of the production of the world’s favourite confectionery, including its dark involvement in child slavery. Four Horsemen interlinks the faltering financial system, violence and conflict, poverty, and depletion of the earth’s natural resources. In the feature film . Now, Forager, love and a nostalgia for more traditional modes of food production are rendered in earthy tones.  Last Winter laments the loss of small scale farming as the agricultural world becomes increasingly industrialized.

The way we interact with some of our more majestic beasts are examined in the moving All the President’s Elephants, where a brave woman befriends and defends a royal herd of elephants in Zimbabwe, and the thrilling Dragon’s Feast 3D takes us underwater with crocodiles, in 3D. The South African feature, Snare, is a gritty exposé in fictional form of the networks behind the rhino poaching epidemic. Some more otherworldly beasts stride across our screens in the gorgeously vivid eco-fable Beasts of the Southern Wild. Set in Namibia, Taste of Rain  reminds us of the centrality of love and water in the lives of people, while the decline in the water quality of a precious lake in India evokes a sense of having been forsaken by our holy guardians in the quietly moving Valley of Saints.

Full Programme etc at



Eco -Lens at diff 2011

Shatter your complacency! Environmental threat and degradation needs to be identified so that remedial action can be taken before it’s too late. With the COP conference on climate change taking place in Durban later in the year, an exceptional range of conscientising environmental films is included in this year’s Eco-Lens focus, at the Durban International Film Festival, to sharpen understanding about a spectrum of urgent concerns.

With inside access to the protagonists – and there are some very strong characters who the necessity of, and challenges to, disarmament. Closely related, Into Eternity is a brilliantly-considered approach to the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility in rock strata deep underground in Finland. Eco-Pirate – the Story of Paul Watson is about this legendary figure who, for 30 years, has been a proactive defender of our oceans and its creatures. Paul Watson himself will attend the festival – don’t miss his public talk on 23rd July. Think Global, Act Rural critiques industrial food production methods, presents a cogent argument for organic food, and offers groundbreaking initiatives in different parts of the world for our consideration.

Would it trouble you to know that frightening mining conditions, and child abuse, in the Democratic Republic of Congo produce material for your cellphone? What does Nokia have to say about it? Check out Blood in the Mobile.

Human ecology is just as important as caring for the land and its creatures, and the impact of development, or lack thereof, on humanity demand urgent and integrated responses to create a better world. Dear Mandela, Benda Bilili, The Bay of Plenty, Position Among The Stars, The Dawn of a New Day, Prosecutor, and Inside Job, all speak to social or structural conditions that affect society and our environment at large.

More on the Festival at

environment sustainability

Eco-Lens at DIFF

You may be interested in Eco-Lens at the Durban International Film Festival (22 July to 1 August 2010):

Filmmakers are key agents in keeping a watchful eye on threats to human ecology and environmental balance in films such as Scientists Under Attack, and South African Carlos Franciso’s American Foulbrood.

When the water that comes out of your taps turns to flame you know something is wrong – Gasland explores the shocking consequences of massive natural gas drilling across the USA.