Sundance Film Fest Highlights “Fierce Green Fire” Documentary

A Fierce Green Fire/Video screen capture
The Sierra Club and David Brower halting dams in the Grand Canyon.

Every January a new batch of eco-documentaries hit the screen at the Sundance Film Festival program. Some even make it into theaters. People learned about fracking from last year’s Gasland and Japan’s dolphin slaughter in 2009’s Audience Award winner The Cove, which went on to win the Academy Award. This year, moviegoers will get a comprehensive overview, from grassroots efforts to global campaigns, with the world premiere of A Fierce Green Fire.

Among this year's 16 films in the U.S. Documentary Competition at Sundance on January 19-29 in Park City, Utah, this definitive eco-doc by Oscar-nominee Mark Kitchell, whose Berkeley in the Sixties won at Sundance in 1990, is a featured selection and may be poised to become a classic.

Inspired by the book by the same name, written by former New York Times environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff, Kitchell worked for years on chronicling five decades in the history of environmental activism.


Trailer for "A Fierce Green Fire".

50 Years in the Environmental Movement

With archival footage and interviews, the documentary tells five stories of people trying to save their homes, their land, water, and their children. It covers protests to stop dams in the Grand Canyon in the 1960s, nuclear leaks at Love Canal in the 70s, Chico Mendes and the Amazon rubbertappers, Paul Watson’s “Whale Wars,” and Hurricane Katrina.

Act 1 opens with the Sixties' conservation and Sierra Club’s fight to preserve wilderness.

Act 2 explores the 1970's issues of pollution, toxic waste and nuclear accidents.

Act 3 follows the alternative ecology movements, such as Greenpeace.

Act 4 focuses on the emergence of global environmental problems in the ‘80s and the battle for the Amazon rainforest.

Act 5 deals with the struggle at summits in Rio, Kyoto and Copenhagen, the rise of opposition, reluctance, and the call of An Inconvenient Truth.

The documentary captures pivotal moments in the environmental movement, from awakening to the dangers of dioxins to deniers of global warming. Extended interviews with key players can be viewed for each phase, including Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert, available on the film's YouTube channel.

A Fierce Green Fire gives the big picture of the evolution of environmentalism, how we got here and where we’re going, with a long look at how we have tried to protect the planet... from humanity.

Want to Screen the Film?

After the debut at Sundance, the filmmaker is seeking to do outreach, working with environmental organizations to screen the film and inspire supporters, as well as for educational opportunities. Viewable in twenty 25-minute acts, the film can be serialized for teaching and television. Plans to release the DVD and stream the film online are a good two years away, so contact the A Fierce Green Fire producer to screen it for your school, group or community. Make a donation, and get your own copy.

Tags: Activism | Documentaries | Global Climate Change | Movies

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