Cutting-Edge Environmental Film Festival

By Robbyn Hopewell
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Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature
Celebrates 25 Years with 8-Film Lineup

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Februrary 23-March 4
Eckerd College
Details here

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Audiences should prepare to be challenged and entertained at the 25th Annual Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival on February 23–25, February 28 and March 1–4 at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg.

At 7 p.m. each day, this free and open-to-the-public festival will feature films from around the world grappling with people’s relationship to the planet through cinematic-storytelling, visually interesting photography or unique presentations, says Festival Co-Director Nathan Andersen PhD, an Eckerd professor of philosophy.

“We avoid conventional documentaries that have information but don’t have anything interesting cinematically,” he explains. “That’s where the ‘Visions and Voices’ name comes from. We’ve always tried to display something visually interesting and articulate about the subject.”
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Andersen and his co-director, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Joanna Huxster PhD selected eight movies through word of mouth and well-known festivals such as Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes to be screened at Eckerd College with introductions and talkbacks hosted by Eckerd faculty or the filmmakers themselves.

“One of the most charged discussions will be about How to Blow Up a Pipeline, which is a heist movie about a group of people with different motivations who come together to commit an act of private-property destruction to bring attention to climate change,” Andersen says. “It’s an exciting work of fiction, effectively a thriller.” Yet the film is adapted from a theoretical treatise by environmental activist Andreas Malm about the ethical implications of eco-sabotage – the destruction of property in the name of protecting the environment.

Director Daniel Goldhaber will appear at the February 24 screening to introduce the film and answer audience questions before he leaves to continue work on another project in Germany.
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“We’ll also be screening All That Breathes, which I believe is the front-runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars this year,” Andersen says.

Bringing high-caliber environmental films to the region was a passion of the festival’s founder, Catherine Griggs PhD, professor emerita of American Studies who passed away in September 2022. Andersen worked with Griggs on the annual event from 2006 to 2018, when she retired. This year’s festival is dedicated to her memory.

“One of the amazing things about films is that you can teach someone about a range of ideas in a short time and get them to care about those things, such as the environment and issues of humans’ relationship to the natural world,” Andersen explains.

“This festival offers the local community exposure to a number of these films that can intensify interest and engagement on these issues. Having the discussion — not just watching a movie, but thinking and talking about them with others — is different from streaming a documentary at home. This is about having an experience.”
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You can find the complete festival schedule

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Originally published in About Eckerd

Film still from A Common Sequence, examining whether anything still belongs to all of us in a world of patents and privatization

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