On the final day of the Planet in Focus film festival in Toronto last fall, the packed house at the Royal Cinema felt every aching step of Jon Muir’s 2,500-kilometer trek in the documentary “Alone Across Australia.” When the death of Muir’s dog made his adventure truly a solo act, he quietly sobbed and rocked his dead companion, and there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. The movie’s blend of adventure, endurance, and devotion had sparked a passionate response — a common occurrence at the continent’s growing number of green film festivals.
There aren’t many scintillating documentaries about health care or education, but give filmmakers an eccentric farmer converting his family farm to organic, a 74-year-old man pedaling his 98-year-old mother around China for a year, or an activist spending two years in a tree, and they fall all over themselves to tell the stories. Increasingly, viewers are falling all over themselves to watch those tales unfold. “All of a sudden it has become the new cool, hip thing to go and see a nature film, a nature documentary,” says Demis Foster, executive director of Washington state̵... Read more