Fifth Annual Green Carpet Gala!

Join us on Chicago's Magnificent Mile

By Lisa Biehle Files

Imagine savoring Indian fritters and chatting with friends, activists, and artists, while looking through large glass windows at the shimmering lights of Michigan Avenue.

We invite you to celebrate in this style with us at the Green Carpet Gala, the opening event for the One Earth Film Festival, 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut St., in downtown Chicago. We will join with creative leaders from the sustainability and filmmaking communities to mingle, look back at past accomplishments and ahead, at what the One Earth Film Festival weekend will hold.

This Fifth Annual Gala will be green in every way. Our caterer, Michaels, is considered the “greenest caterer in American” due to two green restaurant certifications. Returning for the second year by popular demand, they will offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly finger food options such as Portobello mushroom wraps and homemade sweet potato chips with pineapple salsa. A variety of beverages will be available, with beer provided by Goose Island Brewery, an official sponsor.

As we look back at our past and ahead with hope, our venue echoes this theme. The Gratz Center addition, built in 2013, is a contemporary counterpoint to Fourth Presbyterian’s Gothic Revival structure, built in 1914. The large windows described earlier not only show the twinkling lights of Michigan Avenue, but also one of the building’s three green roofs in this LEED-certified addition.

After having ample time to talk with friends, old and new, we will head into Buchanan Chapel for the evening program. Seva Gandhi, senior program coordinator for the Institute of Cultural Affairs, will lead events, which will be interspersed with several short films.

Film Festival Director Ana Garcia Doyle explained, “Our theme is Opportunity. We’re hopeful about the evolution of the environmental movement, with the Paris Talks agreement and Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline. For One Earth Film Festival, we’re expanding to neighborhoods and communities where we’ve never been before. So we’ll be looking back, highlighting our youth involvement, and looking ahead.”

But wait. Mustn’t forget about our waste, which will be minimal. Chamness Biodegradables and Green Home Experts will help us make this a zero waste event, making it truly green from start to finish.

Important details: Attire is business casual with a celebratory flair. Validated parking passes ($8) will be available at our event reception desk for those who park in the 900 N. Michigan Avenue Garage. Enter the garage one block west of 115 E. Delaware Place, on the north side of the street.

Arrive early, at 5:30 p.m., to test drive the Nissan LEAF electric car!