First Ever, One Earth Film Festival -- Educational, Inspiring, Transformative

by Cassandra West

The first-ever One Earth Film Festival was by all accounts educational, inspiring—and transformative. Featuring more than two dozen environmental films, the festival drew 500 people to screenings at 15 locations around Oak Park and River Forest.

The three-day festival kicked off on a Friday evening with a Green Carpet Gala and two film screenings at the Oak Park Conservatory. Oak Park Village President David Pope and sustainability manager K.C. Poulos were among those attending the gala. Saturday’s schedule began with the showing of “Waste Land,” an Academy Award nominated Best Feature Documentary, at the Lake Theater.

In one of the more intimate settings, a small living room above Buzz Café, about 20 people gathered around a TV set to watch “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us,” while a small hive of bees sat on a table nearby. “People could see a queen (bee) surrounded by workers doing their thing,” David Gilley, venue coordinator, said. “It was the ultimate warm and fuzzy image to take away.”Sunday’s schedule featured a morning of films for children at Beye Elementary School and afternoon screenings at the River Forest Park District, Oak Park Library and Green Home Experts. Discussions that allowed viewers to offer their reflections followed every screening.

The festival weekend ended Sunday evening with 60 people turning out for a showing of “Dirt!” at Pleasant Home. Following the film, small groups talked about the impact of the weekend and discussed ideas for action. “People were clearly inspired, and I was surprised at the number of people who declared the actions they are going to be taking,” venue facilitator Seamus Ford said.