Environmentalists from all spans of life gathered in The Hippodrome for the 8th Annual Cinema Verde.
Cinema Verde is an international environmental film and arts festival with 45 films coming from 14 different countries. The festival aims to inform and shed light on the various facets of environmental degradation, conservation and sustainability. The directors and producers of these films are environmental journalists and their goal is to show people that every aspect of their lives impacts the environment.
Vendors and clubs gather together in a small fair adjacent to The Hippodrome. These are businesses and organizations that fully support the cause of environmental sustainability.
This intimate fair was put together by Marketing Director Penny Niemann. The fair is an opportunity for the movie-goers to directly get involved with environmental issues in their community and show recognize businesses that take sustainability seriously.
Trish Riley is the director of the festival and has been for all eight years. Since she was a child, Riley has understood the importance and magnificence of nature.
Growing up in the midwest, Riley had a large forest she played in every day. She went on to pursue a college education and when she came home, her childhood forest was gone. Developers had removed it to build houses.
“I immediately knew that they (the developers) did not understand what they were trashing,” said Riley. “I understood that and I went on to learn that it’s (the planet) not just amazing, it’s a system and we depend on it.”
Many of the directors and producers at the festival expressed similar sentiments. Scott Schimmel, the director of Waste Not Want Not, speaks to the enormous amount of waste that this country produces and how this not sustainable. Waste Not Want Not focuses specifically on the enormous waste in Alabama. His goal is “to shed light on an environmental issue that would resonate with non-environmentalists.”
Jamie Pratt, producer of Sustainable Me – Food For Thought, wants people, especially in large cities, to understand “we are apart of the ecosystem, not separate from it.”
Pratt came to this festival from Alberta, Canada. Sustainable Me is a six-part series, showing the plethora of ways people can live sustainably without major sacrifices of comfort or convenience.
This festival is an opportunity for people to come together and educate themselves on issues that are impacting the Earth. Members of the audience can stay for the “talk-back” after the film and ask the directors and producers of the movies questions. Audience-members may be farmers, environmental researches or even just film enthusiasts.
Diane Clark has been coming to this festival for four years now from Chautauqua, New York. She is the director of Greystone Nature Preserve where she teaches classes that give people the ability to earn an “experiential environmental education.” Clark continues to come to this film festival every year because, “Trish does a good job selecting these films.”
Cinema Verde is a place to learn, discuss and be entertained. Though environmental issues may be daunting to discuss, Cinema Verde embraces the challenge and has seen a lot of support from the Gainesville community for doing so.