The 9th Annual Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival

Published: Wed 5 Jun 2013 03:51 PM
The 9th Annual Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
takes to the Streets
PREVIEW EVENTS Wed 5th Fri 7 June
MAIN FESTIVAL Fri 14th – Sun 23 June 2013
Palmerston North, NZ (4 May 2013) The Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival is proud to announce its 2013 programme of the best of new environmental films from around the globe. Now in its 9th year, Reel Earth has a history of bringing together filmmakers, scientists, environmentalists and film enthusiasts to view, reflect on, debate and enjoy a diverse range of films with an environmental message.
This year, REEL EARTH spreads throughout a number of city locations, and literally takes to the streets as of Palmerston North with a series of indoor and outdoor Pop Up Cinemas and outdoor projections onto city buildings and structures. The innovative screenings are part of an ongoing strategy of challenging perceptions of film, what an environmental film festival delivers, and a desire to reach new audiences.
The screening innovations are supported by high quality film selections, creative programming like $5 Lunchtime Sessions based on themed topics, a New Zealand film Sci-Fi Sunday extravaganza and a weekend of film and environmental forums. Each forum day finishes with something special; a PechaKucha pitching of new film ideas, and a visual presentation by renowned New Zealand landscape photographer, Craig Potton.
Festival Director Victoria Jakobs says that the two key drivers for the 2013 were to continue to raise the quality of films screened and to reach new audiences.
“As a competitive film festival, our focus is on new films – those less than two years old – and I thought that this would make getting higher quality films a challenge. It actually was remarkably easy, with the main constraint being the time I had to operate in. Filmmakers make films to be seen, and Reel Earth provides audiences.” Says Ms Jakobs
This year, Reel Earth received over 300 film submissions (up 150% on last year) from 40+ countries. Submissions included Academy Award nominees, Sundance and other festival winning films, and a strong contingent of New Zealand films.
“Having to turn away really good films was hard, but it was particularly difficult when they were films by New Zealand filmmakers, but the standard was really high. We’ve actually got 18 New Zealand films screening, which is the largest number ever, and is about a quarter of all films in the festival.”
“Reaching new audiences was a particular goal of mine” she goes on to say “and my approach has been to put films wherever people are – in their faces you could say. So, if someone is driving home from work during festival week, there will be a film on the building in front of them as they sit at the lights, or if they are on their lunch break or out to dinner, films are screening in highly visible, accessible places.”
The 2013 REEL EARTH Environmental Film Festival officially starts on Friday, 14 June with the Reel Big Night Out Gala Awards at the Globe Theatre, Palmerston North and runs through to Sunday, 23 June. The Globe serves as festival HQ with the main programme of feature films screening in the evenings and weekends at The Globe. Weekday $5 Lunchtime sessions of 45-60 minutes also screen at The Globe from Monday, 17 June to Friday 21 June.
The Reel Big Night Out recognises and awards the best of festival and new environmental films. Categories this year have been brought into line with international standards and include Best Feature (69min+), Best Mid-Length Film (16-69min), Best Short Film (up to 15min), as well as three awards specific to Reel Earth; Best Science Communication, Best Film about Environmental Sustainability and Best New Zealand Environmental Film.
A departure from last year is that the awards night is at the beginning of the festival, so audiences will know which films have won, and may make their viewing choices based on that.
The MC for the evening is local boy turned funny man Nick Gibb, a Billy T Award winning comedian, and the highly talented local singer-songwriter Kelsey Lawn brings her unique sounds to the event.
Filmmaking forums are held at Te Manawa Art Gallery on Saturday, 15 June, environmental forums on Sunday, 16 June are at Sound & Vision, Palmerston North City Libraray, and then the festival returns to The Globe for Craig Potton Presents Water at 4pm on Sunday, 16 June.
Outreach film screenings include four environmental art related films on Saturdays in June at Te Manawa Art Gallery, two film screenings for 13-18 year olds at Palmerston North’s Youth Space, as well as one off screenings at IPC (International Pacific College) and Manawatu Prison amongst others.
Young people are a key target group for the festival again in 2013, with a number of events developed specifically for children and young people. Reel Earth offers two formal programmes for schools, once again partnering with Te Manawa to deliver a programme for schools at Te Manawa between Monday 3, June and Friday 14, June. From Monday 17, June to Friday, 21 June Reel Earth takes visiting filmmakers into schools.
“We’ve also continued the partnership developed with Inspiring Stories Trust last year and are providing their 1-Day Filmmaking workshop free to 25 young people age 14-19.” Says Ms Jakobs
“Another exciting development is the rolling out of the EF(Environmental Film)-Factor, the youth enviro-short film competition, nationwide thanks to the support of Massey University.” She goes on to say “We keep the topic simple. This year, it’s something beginning with ‘w’, and it closes at the end of Term 2 holidays on Friday 26 July”
Entries will be posted onto the EF-Factor YouTube channel, our website and Facebook page and will be judged on qualities such as if the film conveys a clear environmental message, inspires the audience to think or act, has a good narrative or story and holds the audience’s attention. The judges will also consider if it is well-shot and edited and if the visual images support the story.
“The two film sessions developed for young people are about people like themselves, and screens in a space that is their own, which we believe is really important” says Ms Jakobs.
It seems that no age group is missed, with pre-school groups having enjoyed book readings and films at Te Manawa Art Gallery in late May, related to and in amongst photographs of the southern ocean environment and inhabitants from the Gareth Morgan led Our Far South expedition.
“And that is probably where Reel Earth truly started this year.” says Ms Jakobs “A film festival, starting with a photograph exhibition!”
“However it is relevant – because we also have amongst the films, Our Far South by Hunter Abbey and featuring Te Radar, both of whom were also on the voyage. The whole voyage was a fantastic idea – taking 50 New Zealanders to the Southern Ocean, then asking them to be ambassadors upon their return. And it’s certainly worked; we’ve included work by a filmmaker, a photographer and a writer from voyage in Reel Earth 2013”
Ms Jakobs points out that whilst there is a lot happening, films remain central to the festival.
What she enjoys most about the festival is the range of style and techniques used in the filmmaking, and this is what she hopes the public will cotton on to.
“One of our most challenging ventures this year was the Te Awa Outdoor Project(ion)s. These are films made from scratch by local filmmakers from locally supplied images and footage, and made to a simple brief, as part of the Manawatu River Accord Project. We received funding from Horizons Regional Council and the Ministry for the Environment Freshwater fund to virtually bring the Manawatu river into the Palmerston North CBD.”
Ten locals from diverse backgrounds, including photography, filmmaking, advertising, graphic and web design, science and education, all with an interest in filmmaking have contributed to the process.
“This is the icing, for me” say Ms Jakobs “To be able to involve local, Palmerston North filmmakers in an international film event, here in our home.”
The first Te Awa Outdoor Project(ion) precedes the festival on Friday 7th June – an intentional move to raise awareness of the festival locally.
“People may think of environmental films as documentaries, and probably a bit ‘doom and gloom’, but that’s just not the case. This year we have a range of films including science fiction, animation, comedy and, yes, documentary.”
“What Reel Earth does is provide a fantastic opportunity for New Zealanders to view to thought-provoking and entertaining films about the environment,” says Jakobs. “Some of the films screening have already won prestigious awards, including Irish Folk Furniture, Winner of Best Short Film at Sundance 2013.
Jakobs points to Sci-Fi Sunday on 16 June which features two New Zealand films; Abiogenesis, a short animation by Richard Mans about the galactic implications of a mechanical device landing on a desolate planet and EXISTENCE, a post-apocolyptic drama by Juliet Bergh, set in a time of scarce resources and toxic waste, and featuring the windmills at Makara.
“About 15 filmmakers are attending this year’s festival, from Canada, France, Sweden, USA and New Zealand. They’ll be on hand at their film screenings for Q sessions which have traditionally been very popular”
Tickets for films at The Globe and Craig Potton: Water are available online at Eventfinder ($12), or for $10 in person at i-SITE Palmerston North, or at the Globe door. $5 Lunch sessions door sales only. $6 PechaKucha at Te Manawa Art Gallery.
Outdoor Projections, Pop Up Cinemas, and forums are FREE.
For film descriptions a complete schedule of films, forums, events and EF-FACTOR online entry, visit

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