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UPDATED! SPEAKER BIOS for the 5th Annual Environmental Youth Forum



The 5th Annual Environmental Youth Forum is a two-day event for school groups grades 1-12, incorporating film screenings, individual and panel discussions and Q & A’s with filmmakers and representatives from leading local and national environmental organizations. The EYF was created to address the growing need for an active and engaging approach to teaching environmental awareness and activism to a diverse youth population. The Environmental Youth Forum will give students a window into many environmental issues of our time and they will leave with the question, “What Can I Do?” answered many times over.

Watch us build this program with more speakers and films. Keep checking in with our blog daily for updates.


The Films for MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 from 8:30 AM – 10:50 AM
for Grades 1-5

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

5The Shark Riddle – Brother and sister Robert and Laura Sams are The Riddle Solvers. The film is designed to help children develop empathy and positive feelings towards sharks, learn about the diversity of shark species and learn how sharks are necessary for a healthy ocean. The Shark Riddle was named 2012 Best Children’s Program at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, MT, 2012 Best Educational Short at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood, CA and 2011 Best Children’s Program of the Year at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (just to name a few)! Robert and Laura will sing songs and tell tales on stage after the film while you look at the 23 foot long inflatable Basking Shark!

With special guest appearances by “The Riddle Solvers” Robert and Laura Sams.

DentistsInSharkJaw_HighResolutionLaura and Robert Sams are a sister/brother duo who own Sisbro Studios, which creates high-quality wildlife films, books, music and educational media that help children of all ages learn about nature (and laugh along the way).
Laura and Robert also enjoy sharing their talents in live shows, performing in venues like the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to the Chicago Field Museum to hundreds of schools and libraries across the United States (and even in Dubai, UAE). Laura has a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Education and degrees in Zoology and Parks and Recreation. Robert has degrees in Zoology and Communication.

9:40 AM – 10:50 AM
3aA Simple Question: The Story of STRAW – Starting as a fourth grade class project and one child’s question, “What can we do to save an endangered species?”, a remarkable program evolved that has restored over 20 miles of habitat, galvanized the local community, and led to significant educational innovation.
With special guest appearance by Laurette Rogers, leader of The STRAW Project.

LauretteLaurette is the STRAW Program Director at PRBO Conservation Science, collaborating to provide a restoration science education program for K-12 students and teachers. In 1992, she was teaching fourth grade at Brookside School in San Anselmo, CA, when her students began the Shrimp Project, a project designed to help save an endangered species through restoration and public outreach. The Shrimp Project has now evolved into the STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) Project, a project of PRBO Conservation Science. Laurette is also the author of The California Freshwater Shrimp Project: An Example of Environmental Project-Based Learning. She received her B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. in Education and Teaching Credential from Dominican University.

4Deep Dive: The Langs – Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have, for years, been picking up plastic detritus from Kehoe Beach in Northern California and using these found objects to create art. This short documentary is a fascinating primer on the couple’s philosophy and work.


The Films for MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 from 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM for Grades 6-8

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

The Shark Riddle – Brother and sister Robert and Laura Sams are The Riddle Solvers. The film is designed to help children develop empathy and positive feelings towards sharks, learn about the diversity of shark species and learn how sharks are necessary for a healthy ocean.
With special guest appearances by “The Riddle Solvers” Robert and Laura Sams.

1:10 PM – 2:30 PM Program of Short Films

6Gimme Green – A humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life.

Deep Dive: The Langs – Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have, for years, been picking up plastic detritus from Kehoe Beach in Northern California and using these found objects to create art. This short documentary is a fascinating primer on the couple’s philosophy and work.
Discussion and Q & A following with Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang.

PrintRichard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting plastic debris off one beach in Northern California for over ten years. Each piece of plastic Richard and Judith pick up comes back to their house, where it gets cleaned, categorized and stored before being used for their art. The couple make sculptures, prints, jewelry and installations with the plastic they find washed up, raising a deeper concern with the problem of plastic pollution in our seas.


The Films for TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 from 8:15 AM – 2:30 PM for Grades 9-12

8Among Giants – In the midst of California’s coastal redwood region, Green Diamond Resource Company continues to clearcut redwood forests, devastating habitats and leaving scars across the land. Farmer, a direct action environmental activist in his late 20s, decides to tree-sit in the McKay Tract — a 60-acre grove of ancient redwoods that is home to spotted owls, deer, flying squirrels, and countless other life forms.

10Bidder 70 – The story of Tim DeChristopher, a young man who disrupted a controversial Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas leasing auction in 2008. He posed as a bidder (#70) and bid $1.7 million to win 22,000 acres of land he had no intention of paying for (or drilling on). He is in jail today for his beliefs, being released the day before Earth Day 2013.

11Bitter Seeds – Beautifully told and deeply disturbing, Bitter Seeds explores the way farming is changing all over the world. Following an US complaint to the World Trade Organization, India had to open its doors to foreign seed companies. Within a few years multinational corporations have taken over India’s seed market replacing the local disease-resistant strains, with dire consequences for local farming and increasing the suicide rate for farmers who have been forced into growing GM crops.
With special guest appearance from director Micha Peled.

horizontal-bestMicha Peled produced and directed videos for the U.S. peace movement in the 1980’s. He made his first television documentary in 1992, while working as the executive director of Media Alliance, a San Francisco media watchdog group. When his mother sent him the manuscript of her life story he was motivated to make his first professional film. Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin was a first-person family story, produced for German television (WDR and BR). Winning awards on both sides of the Atlantic, Peled left his job to become a full-time filmmaker and never looked back. Bitter Seeds is the final film in Micha X. Peled’s Globalization Trilogy, following Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town and China Blue. The films won 18 international awards, aired on over 30 television channels and screened in more than 100 film festivals. They also connected viewers to NGO action campaigns and encouraged Western consumers to understand their impact on the rest of the world.

Kev_LadynskiCane Toads: The Conquest – Cane Toads: The Conquest is a provocative account of Australia’s most notorious environmental blunder. It’s an often comic always tongue-in-cheek documentary horror film about the environmental devastation left in the wake of the giant toads’ unstoppable march across Australia.

13Chasing Ice – The story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. With a band of young adventurers in tow, award-winning photographer James Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multiyear record of the world’s changing glaciers.

With a special guest appearance by Mary K. Miller.


Mary K. Miller a science writer, producer and director for the Exploratorium’s partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her academic background is in marine biology and science communication and one of her roles at the Exploratorium is to help introduce the audiences to research scientists and the ways in which they investigate and understand the natural world. She has been lucky to spend time with fascinating minds in some of the most interesting places in the world: Antarctica, Greenland, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, aboard NOAA’s exploration ship, the Okeanos Explorer, NASA’s AMES, Goddard and Johnson Space Flight Centers, and the Exploratorium. We have a number of exciting projects with NOAA, spanning our fluid planet with labs across the country that focus on ocean, climate, weather and atmospheric research.

14The Eyes Of Thailand – The inspirational and powerful story of one woman’s quest to help two elephant land-mine survivors—Motala and Baby Mosha—walk on their own four legs. Treating their wounds was only part of the journey; building elephant-sized prostheses was another. While cluster bombs in Laos and other countries are harming thousands of people each year and can harm elephants, Mosha and Motala stepped on landmines along the Thai-Myanmar (Burma) border.
With special guest appearance from director and producer Windy Borman.

windy bormanWindy Borman, the Founder and CEO of D.V.A. Productions, has over a decade of professional experience in film, video, event planning, theatre, and the non-profit sector. She is a multi-award-winning Director and Producer, as well as an experienced Researcher, Screenwriter and Social Media Marketing Strategist, with field and studio experience on large- and small-scale productions in the United States, England, Ghana, Thailand and Laos. Most recently she produced “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”, which premiered at Sundance 2012 and on HBO in October 2012.
As an independent filmmaker, Windy has produced and directed films, videos, PSAs, and documentaries. Other credits include developing the grassroots screening campaign for “Little Town of Bethlehem” (2010), the social media strategy for “The River Why” (2010), “TEST” (2012) and “Suspended Belief” (in development), and writing for IndieWire: Women and Hollywood.


A Fierce Green Fire – This epic film is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change.
With special guest appearance from director Mark Kitchell.

Mark-Kitchell-1Mark Kitchell is best known for Berkeley in the Sixties, which won the Audience Award at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award, and won other top honors. The film has become a well-loved classic, one of the defining documentaries about the protest movements that shook America during the 1960s. In the twenty years since that film he has worked in non-fiction television, made films for hire, taught at UC Santa Cruz, done freelance production and developed A Fierce Green Fire. He went to NYU film school, where he made The Godfather Comes to Sixth St., a cinema verite look at his neighborhood caught up in filming The Godfather II – for which he received another (student) Academy Award nomination.

Gimme Green – A humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life.

In_the_binsGreen Streets: Turning Trash Into Cash in an American Inner City – This is a remarkable story about 27-year-old entrepreneur Tyrone Mullins and his peers as they turn trash into cash in the distressed San Francisco housing projects where they live, confronting barriers to employment and conservation in a distressed urban community.
With special guest appearances from director Sophie Constantinou and documentary subject Tyrone Mullins.

 Sophie ConstantinouSophie Constantinou has earned international acclaim for tackling difficult subjects with artistry and sensitivity. Her directing credits include Divided Loyalties (Golden Gate Award, 1998 SF International Film Festival), a personal exploration of the conflict in Cyprus and Between the Lines, a lyrical documentary about women who cut themselves. Her cinematography credits include PBS’s award-winning Maquilapolis, about the movement to change labor practices in US-Mexican border factories; HBO’s Unchained Memories, which tells the stories of former slaves, using their testimony from the WPA archives; PBS’ Presumed Guilty, a portrait of a Public Defender’s office; and KQED’s Emmy-winning Home Front, about evictions in San Francisco’s Mission District.

smiles_binTyrone Mullins is a founder of Green Streets, a community owned and operated green business that manages recycling and composting, educates our neighbors on how to reduce waste and provides integrated janitorial services.

The New Environmentalists – Robert Redford narrates the stories of six environmental activists and Goldman Prize winners who each seek to protect Earth’s natural resources, combat pollution and fight for environmental justice.

f_rebels copyRebels With a Cause – Tells the story of a handful of politically savvy Marin County activists, who awakened their neighbors, local farmers, and officials to the threat of sprawl and overdevelopment. Their efforts set new precedents for protecting open space and shaped the environmental movement as we know it today.
With special guest appearances from writer, producer, and director Nancy Kelly and editor and producer Kenji Yamamoto.

Kenji Yamamoto and Nancy KellyFor more than twenty-five years, independent filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto have been making critically acclaimed documentary and narrative films, including: an award-winning documentary trilogy about the transformative power of art: TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives, SMITTEN, and DOWNSIDE UP.  They also made the narrative feature THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD, starring Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper.

terrablightTerra Blight – Terra Blight is a 55-minute documentary exploring America’s consumption of computers and the hazardous waste we create in pursuit of the latest technology.  Where does the waste go? The answers are shocking.
With special guest appearance from Kathy Wall, an e-hazard expert from Marin Sanitary Service.

kathyKathy Wall was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, where, through her studies and extra-curricular activities, she engaged in efforts dealing with human rights and the environment. Through personal and professional commitments, she has traveled to multiple countries including Mexico, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the US. Kathy always remains vigilant when it comes to problems revolving around poor waste disposal handling and inadequate sanitation facilities. These shortcomings can rapidly pose a significant health risk, oftentimes disproportionately affecting lower-income population.

WATERSHED: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West – WATERSHED tells the story of the threats to the once-mighty Colorado River and offers solutions for the future of the American West.
With special guest appearance with producer James Redford.

james-redford-1 James Redford writes, produces and directs for film and television. His latest directorial project, Toxic Hot Seat, is a documentary film that examines the possible health dangers of chemical flame retardants currently used in upholstered furniture made in the USA. He is also working again with Karen Pritzker on a new documentary that explores the emerging link between childhood trauma and life-long health problems – and what can be done about it. He produced the film Watershed about the Colorado River and the acclaimed HBO documentary Mann V. Ford.  Additionally, James wrote and directed Quality Time, an award-winning short comedy starring Jason Patric. He recently combined his passion for music and directing in Andain’s new music video, Much Too Much.


With support from




For information about CFI Education call 415.383.5256 x 113, email education@cafilm.org or visit www.cafilm.org