It’s a reel good time in Park City, Utah: The 10-day Sundance Film Festival kicked off there on Jan. 14, and five of the 32 documentaries have environmental themes. An additional 50 eco-related films were submitted but didn’t make the cut — more greenish submissions than in the past two years combined, said a Sundance programmer. It’s no wonder that budding eco-filmmakers clamor to get in, as An Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car? got their starts at Sundance.
Here’s a rundown of this year’s greenish offerings:
The Cove: This eco-thriller exposes the slimy underbelly of the cultural infatuation with dolphins. Activists — led by Flipper’s trainer — sneak cameras into the cove of a major Japanese dolphin supplier and document the sketchy treatment of the animals. Which probably includes making them pose for neon Lisa Frank merch.
No Impact Man: You may’ve heard of Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, the New Yorker who attempted to go carless, eat organic and local, and not create any waste (including toilet paper) for a year — and who made his wife and kidlet go along with him. If his wife is really as “espresso-guzzling [and] Prada-worshipping” as she’s made out to be, this could be a tasty greenish slice of Simple Life-esque schadenfreude.
Earth Days: Selected as the closing film at the festival, this 100-minute feature documents the green movement since Earth Day of 1970. Nine speakers recount the pivotal green events of the past 40 years, including eco-champ and former secretary of the interior Stewart Udall. But if it hopes to be the next Inconvenient Truth, it better close with a sappy eco-ballad from a ’90s rocker.
The End of the Line: From Piven to PETA, fish is the hot dish, and this British doc considers a world without them. Based on the book by Charles Clover, the film looks at the consequences of cultural seafood obsession, like the impending disappearance of bluefin tuna. No word on whether they actually use the term “sea kittens.”
Crude: It’s Chevron versus 30,000 Ecuadorans seeking justice for 18 billion gallons of oil waste dumped in the Amazon. Documenting the 13-year battle between the people and the Big Bad took filmmakers three years.
Dirt!: The Movie: Not to be confused with the Courtney Cox vehicle, this homage to the much-abused source of our food consults a variety of soil’s muddy buddies, from wine critics to scientists, to give dirt a closer look.
Check out a guide to all of the Sundance films here.