Two big environmental documentaries hit the screens this fall

"This Changes Everything" documentary
© "This Changes Everything" documentary

“This Changes Everything” and “Racing Extinction” both launch ahead of the Paris climate talks.

Documentaries can have a big impact on policy, public opinion and even the environment. Now, two big-name documentaries are aiming to have an impact this fall.

One, which has been widely teased and promoted with giant projects on notable buildings like the U.N. in New York, is “Racing Extinction” from director Louie Psihoyos. As the title suggests, the film is about the unprecedented rate of species loss that’s occurring right now, and takes a look at its multiple causes from the illegal wildlife trade to global warming. Psihoyos is also the director of the Academy Award winning documentary “The Cove,” which exposed the brutal hunting of dolphins and whales in Japan’s Taiji cove.

Now, “Racing Extinction” is scheduled to show in theaters in a number of cities around the U.S. this month, prior to a broadcast screening on Discovery on December 2.

The other documentary is based on Naomi Klein’s best seller “This Changes Everything” (read TreeHugger Katherine Martiko’s review of the book here). The film by the same title is directed by Avi Lewis and is narrated by Klein. It follows different activists around the world, all fighting the fossil industry in different ways—from protesting coal-fired power plants in India to raising awareness about tar sands operations in Canada.

“This Changes Everything” has screenings scheduled for festivals this month, with showings at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Camden International Film Festival. The film will show at the IFC Center in NYC on October 2, and in LA on October 16 at the Sundance Sunset Cinema. More dates and locations are happening around the world.

The launch of both films seems to strategically anticipate the international climate talks that will be held in Paris at the end of this year—perhaps with the goal of raising political momentum around the issue of climate change. Judging from both films' trailers, they’re also speaking directly to the viewer, aiming to inspire us to do more than just watch, but to also act.

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