Turning the Theater into a Classroom

Archive for January, 2011

2011 Environmental Youth Film Summaries and Speakers

EYF 2011 Keynote Speaker: Adarsha Shivakumar, Project Jatropha, Brower Youth Award Winner, 2009

Adarsha Shivakumar is  a 17 year old high school senior who attends the College Preparatory School in Oakland CA.  He is an environmental enthusiast who recognized the complex relationship between the environment and rural Indian economy and cofounded Project Jatropha when he was 14 years old. Project Jatropha is an international nonprofit collaboration dedicated to promoting the plant Jatropha curcas as an ecologically friendly and economically sustainable source of biofuel beginning in rural India and eventually in other developing countries where the project can be applied.

Under Adarsha and his sister Apoorva’s co -leadership the team has planted close to 40,000 Jatropha, Teak, Silver Oak, Pongamia and other useful forestry saplings . The project involves youth from 33 rural schools and farmer leaders from 14  villages in Karnataka.   He has won several national and international awards such as Gloria Barron Prize, Brower Youth Award, International Young Eco Hero Award, and Outstanding Youth Achiever recognition. Under his leadership the team also has won a Presidential Environmental Youth Award and T4PE Gold Service Award etc (www.projectjatropha.com).

Adarsha serves on the ACE Youth Advisory Board in order to motivate youth across the globe about the importance of Climate Change.  He hopes that environmentally conscious youth across the globe can spearhead a movement that will eventually mitigate climate change from CO2 emission and decrease the dependence on fossil fuels.

The annual Brower Youth Awards honor six young people across North America for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. Earth Island Institute established the Brower Youth Awards in 2000 to honor founder and legendary environmental activist, David R. Brower.

EYF 2011 Film Summaries

(ending times are approximate)


Directed By: CARL-A. FECHNER



Running Time – 83 min.

The Fourth Revolution: Energy Autonomy describes the possibility to switch to 100% renewables within the next 30 years . It demonstrates the opportunities which will be provided by the energy revolution regarding sustainable economic development and social and economic fairness. A visionary film, arguing that through energy autonomy we can positively influence the balance of power and distribute capital more equitably -we need only do it. This is not a distant dream anymore, but rapidly becoming reality, as Fechner demonstrates presenting practical examples, exemplary projects and the daily work of “green” champions around the globe.





Running Time – 73 min.

American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. INGREDIENTS explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. Discovering better flavor and nutrition, INGREDIENTS is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.





Running Time – 95 min.

Plastic Planet presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. The film takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environmental and human health.

Speaker: Charles McGlashan was elected to the Marin County Board of Supervisors in 2004, was re-elected to a second term in 2008 and served as President in 2008.  From 2003-2005 Charles served as a Director for the Marin Municipal Water District. In his 8 years of public service, Charles has accomplished significant reduction in automobile traffic with leadership in Safe Routes to School and non-motorized program efforts, as well as in development of new shuttle services; increased the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency; and has led development of community clinics and community justice programs. His work is focused on sustainability in all facets of public policy: energy efficiency and renewable power, water conservation, affordable housing, local non-car transportation systems, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, smart community design, zero waste, green building, justice, public health, and habitat protection. Prior to elected office, Mr. McGlashan worked for twenty-one years in environmental consulting, corporate finance and strategic planning.  He holds a BA from Yale and MBA from Stanford, both awarded with honors.





Running Time – 90 min.

Vanishing of the Bees takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee. The film examines our current agricultural landscape and celebrates the ancient and sacred connection between man and the honeybee. The story highlights the positive changes that have resulted due to the tragic phenomenon known as “Colony Collapse Disorder.” To empower the audience, the documentary provides viewers with tangible solutions they can apply to their everyday lives. Vanishing of the Bees unfolds as a dramatic tale of science and mystery, illuminating this extraordinary crisis and its greater meaning about the relationship between humankind and Mother Earth. The bees have a message – but will we listen?

Speaker: Mea McNeil

Mea McNeil has an organic farm in San Anselmo with her husband Jerry Draper. They have kept bees for some 30 years and somewhere along the way became bee geeks — fair warning to you.

They are involved with the Marin Beekeepers Survivor Stock project to raise bees without chemical treatments.

Mea is a journalist, writing regularly for The American Bee Journal, and is a Master Beekeeper.


With co-producer Will Parrinello. and editor Quinn  Costello



Running Time – 30 min.

Can wildlife conservation efforts go too far? Two white families. Two African stories. Two vastly different approaches: one ruthless, one collaborative. Two startlingly different outcomes. The story of Hammer Simwinga, who protects the wildlife of northern Zambia. Through great personal effort – and risk — he is turning poachers into ex-poachers by teaching them sustainable, more responsible ways to make a living, such as beekeeping and sunflower oil production.  Thuli Makama is representing villagers against Big Game Parks, and she’s trying to get the immunity provision struck from the Game Act as unconstitutional. She and her staff continue their work year after year despite threats to their safety.

Will and Quinn  will also show excerpts from the Mill Valley Group films on shark –finning  (warning to the squeamish), Factory Farms and on  Maria Gunoe, the Virginia activist against mountain-topping coal mining.

Speaker: Will Parrinello’s producing and directing credits include Mustang – Journey of TransformationNarrated by Richard Gere, it tells the remarkable story of a Tibetan culture pulled back from the brink of extinction through the restoration of its most sacred sites. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nationally broadcast on PBS; Emile Norman – By His Own Design, a profile of the California artist, who, at age 91, is still working with the same passion for life, art, nature and freedom that inspired him through seven decades of a changing art scene and of turbulent times for a gay man. The film aired nationally on PBS; Dreaming of Tibet, an intimate portrait of three Tibetan exiles; Global Focus – The New Environmentalists, an Emmy Award winning series of half-hour programs about grassroots environmental activists, hosted by Robert Redford; and Little Italy, an affectionate exploration of Italian American identity.

Speaker: Quinn Costello is a freelance editor from the Bay Area.  He has worked on a variety of documentaries with an emphasis on social change.  He is currently working on projects involving issues amongst indigenous communities, environmentally sustainable architecture and the next episode of Global Focus: The New Environmentalists.

Speaker: Lani Alo is a program officer with the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest prize program recognizing grassroots environmental leaders. She has been with the Prize for 11 years. Lani’s work at the Prize focuses on researching and supporting Prize recipients from the world’s islands, the US and Canada. She previously worked at the San Francisco Foundation where she managed the foundation’s environmental education and environmental justice grantmaking. Lani is the advisory board president of KIDS for the BAY, a nonprofit organization based in Berkeley that provides environmental science and outdoor education to thousands of students of diverse backgrounds each year. She studied international relations in graduate school.

Youth Made Films

Conscious Youth Media Crew and Mandela High



Running Time -30 min

Speakers: Rob Kershaw, Center for Digital Storytelling; Sandy Sohcot, the Rex Foundation

and student filmmakers from Mandela High School, Oakland

The Center for Digital Storytelling, the Rex Foundation and the California Film Institute
collaborated with Mandela High School in East Oakland to explore issues of human rights
and the environment through the art of digital storytelling.

During free periods and designated class time a group of Mandela High School seniors
worked with Robert Kershaw from the Center for Digital Storytelling to produce short
personal digital narratives. Students were challenged to bring the global issues they were
researching for their individual senior class projects such as climate change, environmental
racism, poverty, food security and human rights down to street‐level and to reflect upon
their own personal experiences and insights related to these issues as they unfold in their   
East Oakland community.

The digital story project was inspired by the school’s The World As It Could Be© culminating performance on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010.  This presentation was part of the school’s use of The World As It Could Be© Human Rights Education Project curriculum developed by the Rex Foundation.   With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as its guide, the Rex Foundation, through The World As It Could Be©,  collaborates with community arts programs and schools to use creative arts-based learning models and youth-led original dramatizations to inspire youth and adults to value the importance of human rights for all people, as well as to be engaged members of their local and global communities to help make the words of the UDHR a reality for everyone.  (Similar culminating presentations were performed at both Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, CA and Balboa High School in San Francisco in 2009.)






Running Time – 55 min.

Dive! follows a group of friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of Los Angeles supermarkets.In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars worth of good food and uncover a disturbing truth about waste in America. The goal quickly becomes to find out why so much edible food is thrown away instead of being delivered to those who need it.

Speaker: Paul Ash is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Food Bank which distributes millions pounds of food throughout San Francisco and Marin County.  His commitment to ending hunger in San Francisco and Marin has resulted in the steady growth of the programs, distributing just under 4 million pounds of food when he started in 1989 to the 43.5 million pounds that will be distributed this year.   Paul’s background is particularly well-suited to helping the Food Bank distribute more fresh produce per person in poverty than any food bank in the United States:  he attended the University of California at Davis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and worked for several years in agriculture including time spent abroad in agricultural development, before earning his MBA from San Francisco State University.  He’s also brought this expertise to helping other Food Banks thrive, through his service on the Feeding America’s Board of Directors, their National Affiliates Council and the California Association of Food Banks.  Paul lives in Oakland with his wife and two children.





Running Time – 60 min.

16 Decisions follows the women in Bangladesh that are participants in the innovative micro loan programs of the Grameen Bank, led by Nobel Prize Winner, Muhammad Yunus. One of the many goals of Grameen Bank is to help impoverished women escape from the clutches of abject poverty by providing them with low-interest, micro-credit loans. When provided with the loans, the women are requested to make sixteen decisions, which many women take very seriously and which change their lives. Director Gayle Ferraro has just finished a new film on Yunus’s and Grameen’s move into the US to areas of poverty.

Speaker: Jenny Yancey

Jenny and Dan Siegel each bring more than 20 years of experience creating and managing nonprofit organizations and working as consultants, researchers, trainers and writers promoting effective philanthropy and innovation in the nonprofit sector. Their combined history of envisioning and building new infrastructure support models in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, convening leaders across organizations and sectors, sparking collaborative ventures, advising donors, engaging and working with youth and learning daily as parents makes them well-suited to launch and lead YouthGive.

Yancey and Siegel co-founded New Visions PRD in 1989, an international philanthropic research and development organization that has consulted to major foundations and individual donors, and undertaken cutting edge research to advance philanthropy. In 2003 they co-authored a two-year national study of the donor education field, Philanthropy’s Forgotten Resource? Engaging the Individual Donor, in partnership with the Ford, Hewlett, Kellogg and Packard foundations. Siegel and Yancey have worked with numerous financial advisors on philanthropic giving with clients of wealth, and have personally advised individual donors and families in the creation & development of their strategic giving plans. They live in Mill Valley, CA with their two children, Weezie 14 and Satchel 11, who serve as Youth Marketing consultants to YouthGive.





Running Time – 93 min.

Despite the valuable crude oil that flows from the ground beneath their feet, the impoverished villagers of the Niger Delta wage a daily struggle to survive. Their land and water is polluted and the central government has for decades consistently refused  to have some of the billions of dollars derived from oil drilling benefit the people and villageswhere the drilling takes place. This documentary journeys to the region to examine the complex powder keg situation that could have drastic local and global effects.

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