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Environmental Film in the District

My Village, My LobsterWe're about mid-way through the 20th annual DC Environmental Film Festival, which features an astounding 180 films, and not just documentary -- narrative, animated, experimental and more. What's impressive is not just the breadth of films involved, but that this festival takes advantage of the kind of experiences unique to our nation's capital.

Saving the world is unfortunately a booming business, said Steve Michelson of The Video Project. He was part of the crowd at today's DC Enviornmental Film Festival Filmmaker luncheon, sponsored by the Center for Social Media and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking here at AU. Fortunately for Washingtonians, this means one of the richest selections of films and cultural experiences anywhere.Radioactive Wolves

Last week "Radioactive Wolves" screened at the Austrian Embassy, who sponsored filmmaker Klaus Feichtenberger to talk about the forgotten radioactive world of Chernobyl and its haphazard transformation into a flourishing wilderness. Today I can trek all the way across the street to see Gary Marcuse's "Waking the Green Tiger," screening at AU's School of International Service, or hope on the train down to Dupont to discover "the world's most bizarre creature" through "Platypus in the Tropics" at the Embassy of Austrailia.

Other films look at the meaning of organic ("In Organic We Trust," screening March 23 at THEARC), Swiss mountain dwellers who predict weather the ancient way ("Weather Gazers," also screening today at the Swiss embassy), the future of California State Parks ("California Forever" screening March 21 at the U.S. Dept. of the Interior), and Mohawk iron In Organic We Trustworkers ("Skydancer" screening March 23 at NMAI). Want more? You can also find films on lobsters, cars, public health, disappearing islands, and space junk.

The index of these singular venues is a who's who of the District's cultural riches from big to small. Almost every Smithsonian museum is included, also the Carnegie institute for Science, and not least, the Petworth Neighborhood Library. The DC Enviornmental Festival showcases the best of what's global and local about life in the Washington.

It also became appartent at today's luncheon that one of the great joys of this festival is the range of filmmaker perspectives from first timers to old timers. Marissa Miller Wolfson is screening her first film "Vegecated" at Georgetown Day School this evening (March 19). Also this evening look for Katie Carpenter from Bahati Productions who will be screening "Bones of Turkana" at the National Geographic Society. Carpenter has been making award-winning films for decades including pioneering work at the National Audubon Society and PBS.

Combine all of the above with the fact that most of these film screenings are FREE and you have the recipe for a premier showcase of media that matters. Washingtonians are acutely aware and fill most screenings to capacity. For everyone else, I couldn't think of a better way to explore the city.