S.F. Green Film Fes­ti­val joins cli­mate al­lies

San Francisco Chronicle - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - By G. Allen John­son G. Allen John­son is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: ajohn­[email protected]­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @BR­film­sAllen

The eighth San Fran­cisco Green Film Fes­ti­val was de­layed about five months — but it’s not be­cause there were any or­ga­ni­za­tional prob­lems. In fact, fes­ti­val founder Rachel Ca­plan is tak­ing a bold step for­ward by mov­ing the event from April to Septem­ber.

Green Fest, which be­gins Thurs­day, Sept. 6, and runs through Sept. 14, has aligned with next week’s Global Cli­mate Sum­mit at Moscone Cen­ter (Sept. 12-14); the Asia So­ci­ety’s “Coal + Ice,” a 50,000-square­foot documentary pho­tog­ra­phy and video ex­hi­bi­tion at Fort Ma­son Cen­ter that runs through Sept. 23; and the world­wide Rise for Cli­mate March on Satur­day, Sept. 8, which in­cludes a march up Mar­ket Street to Civic Cen­ter Plaza.

Thus Green Fest is part of a mega en­vi­ron­men­tal event “when lead­ers from around the world will come to San Fran­cisco to sup­port the Paris cli­mate agree­ment,” Ca­plan said. “... Green Fest is el­e­men­tal in bring­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal film di­rectly to au­di­ences and lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional lead­ers with the power to propel cli­mate ac­tion for­ward and cat­alyze change.”

And some of these lead­ers and ex­perts from the part­ner­ing events will be among the more than 100 guest speak­ers in dis­cus­sion af­ter film pro­grams.

So in a sense it’s a world­wide event, but, as the say­ing goes, think glob­ally, act lo­cally. Bay Area film­mak­ers are well rep­re­sented among the 60 films culled from 20 coun­tries, ad­dress­ing many is­sues that hit close to home, in­clud­ing the one fore­most on the minds of many lo­cal res­i­dents.

Film­mak­ers Kevin White and Stephen Most thought they were done with their film “Wilder Than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Fu­ture” last year. But:

“We had a rough cut on Oct. 8. Then on Oct. 9, we all woke up and smelled smoke,” said White, whose film makes its world pre­miere at 5:30 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 8, at Fort Ma­son Cen­ter’s Cow­ell The­ater. “So we didn’t feel like we could do a film with­out do­ing this. So we spent a lot of time in Sonoma cov­er­ing what be­came known as the Wine Coun­try fires . ... We re­al­ized it was a much big­ger is­sue, so it be­came my jour­ney to un­der­stand why these wild­fires were hap­pen­ing and what we can do about them.”

“Wilder Than Wild” spans from the Rim Fire of 2013 through the Wine Coun­try fires to ex­am­ine how fire sup­pres­sion and cli­mate change have ex­posed for­est and ur­ban land­scapes to such dis­as­trous fires.

Mean­while, in “Nail House” (5:30 p.m. Tues­day, Sept. 11, Yerba Buena Cen­ter for the Arts), Soumyaa Kapil Behrens mourns the pass­ing of the Haight Ash­bury Neigh­bor­hood Coun­cil’s re­cy­cling cen­ter in Golden Gate Park, which the city closed af­ter 33 years of op­er­a­tion in 2013, and how San Fran­cisco and other cities around the world are do­ing in their zero waste goals.

Aside from the ob­vi­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues re­cy­cling at­tempts to ad­dress, Kapil Behrens also ex­plores is­sues of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, the home­less and city pol­i­tics. “Five per­cent of what was be­ing re­cy­cled in the city was at that cen­ter,” Kapil Behrens said. “So it was no mi­nor amount. If your goal is zero waste, well, that speaks for it­self.” Other Bay Area film­mak­ers are look­ing to unite the world — one through mu­sic, two others through one man’s quest to fly a so­lar-pow­ered plane around the world.

In her half-hour short film “Symphony for Na­ture” (4 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 8, Fort Ma­son Cen­ter), Glen Park res­i­dent Anne Flatte strives for har­mony be­tween hu­mans and na­ture through a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Steiger Butte Singers and Drum­mers of the Kla­math Tribes and the Britt Orches­tra, a group of clas­si­cal mu­si­cians led by San Fran­cisco-born con­duc­tor Teddy Abrams. Their per­for­mance of “Nat­u­ral His­tory,” a new com­po­si­tion by com­poser Michael Gor­don, takes place on the spec­tac­u­lar shores of Ore­gon’s Crater Lake.

“I have made films about mu­sic and how it has the power to con­nect all of us in very pro­found ways — much more than words,” said Flatte, whose pro­gram will in­clude a per­for­mance by the Steiger Butte Singers and Drum­mers of the Kla­math Tribes. “It’s about how artists can move us to ex­plore our own re­la­tion­ship with the en­vi­ron­ment.”

In “Point of No Re­turn” (8 p.m. Tues­day, Sept. 11, YBCA), vet­eran doc­u­men­tar­i­ans Noel Dock­stader and Quinn Kanaly, whose works have been shown on Nat Geo and PBS’ “Nova,” chron­i­cles Ber­trand Pic­card’s his­toric solo flight, which in­cluded a stop at Mof­fett Field on the Penin­sula.

“Peo­ple stopped and got out of their cars to watch it,” Dock­stader said. “It was a big deal for that one mo­ment in time . ... It’s not about fly­ing planes around the world. It’s re­ally about a mo­ment in his­tory where the world is on the verge of hav­ing this tran­si­tion into more sus­tain­able en­ergy.

“We’re not as far away as we think we are.”

That last sen­tence is a mes­sage that will be heard of­ten over the next week, not only in San Fran­cisco, but also in the rest of the world.

San Fran­cisco Green Film Fes­ti­val / Getty Im­ages

A scene from “Wilder Than Wild: Fire, Forests and the Fu­ture,” a 2018 documentary about North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires di­rected by Bay Area film­mak­ers Kevin White and Stephen Most.

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