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Five Must-Sees at The Cape Town Eco Film Festival 2014

In exactly a month from today – the 27th of March 2014, the Cape Town Eco Film Festival will kick off at the Labia Theatre. is a proud sponsor of the festival which will run until the 31st of March. The event will showcase a range of documentaries with the goal of educating South Africans on environmental issues to inspire positive change.

The exciting programme line-up, which includes 24 of the latest world-class environmental documentaries, was released earlier this week.  We’ve selected 5 must –sees:

Black Fish

blackfish-dogwoof-documentary-1Tragedy in Captivity: the Story of a Killer Whale

Friday 28 March 8:30 pm

(USA | 2013 | 82 min | Dir: Gabriela Cowperthwaite)

Premiering in South Africa

“If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you would get a little psychotic?” This was one of the TV presenters’ comments made concerning Tilikum, a performing killer whale who killed a number of people while in captivity.

Blackfish captures the emotional story of the creature’s incredible nature yet cruel treatment by humans. The stories surrounding the lives lost are documented as well as the role the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry plays by adding pressure to what is clearly an environmental red flag.

In Transition


Inspiring Stories of Normal People Taking Action for Environmental Good

Saturday 29 March 4:00 pm


(UK | 2012 | 69 min | Dir: Emma Goude)

The world’s environmental state might be getting worse, but there are sparks of hope shooting up  all over the world. In Transition tells the stories of people across the globe who are responding to the world’s ecological issues with solutions and positivity by participating in the Transition movement. With the support of Transition Network, the documentaries inspire by showing how ordinary people are making extraordinary differences.

Amazing Grace

amazing-graze-programmeFrom Tree Cutting to Tree Cultivating

Friday 28 March 6:00 pm

(SA | 2013 | 5 min | Dir: Rowan Pybus)

This award-winning short film tells the inspiring story of Lloyd Maanyina from Zambia . Lloyd used to rely on charcoal burning for his income but today makes a living from a micro-nursery selling trees. Screens with The Last Ocean.

We caught up with Rowan Pybus, the film's director to get the inside scoop: '

'Amazing Grace is a holistic film. It came about while making a video for Greenpop at their climate action event called Trees Fro Zambia in Livingstone. I say holistic because we made it for all the right reasons, none of which were financial, and in so doing we able to do as our hero Lloyd does, that of use our passion and skill to try turn a problem into a solution.

The biggest reason was to celebrate a man and his attempt to make up for his wrongs. In some way we all know that we are a product of a system that does not fully account for its actions. So there we were, a crew of three, and we thought lets make this film, maybe it will at the very least help Lloyd. As of today it has won 6 awards on three continents, including an award from the United Nations, and we are using this momentum to raise funds for Lloyd and his bold expansion plan for his nursery. The campaign on Thundafund is called Green Thumbs for Lloyd. '

Gasland Part II

gasland2-programme1Fracking Fires Rage On

 (USA | 2013 | 125 min | Dir: Josh Fox)

Thursday 27 March 6:00 pm

Premiering in South Africa

He became famous as the filmmaker for the Oscar-nominated film Gasland and now Josh Fox is back to the screens for a follow up on the dangers of fracking. Fox shows how the American gas industry’s case for natural gas as a better alternative to oil is a myth, detailing fracking’s long list of negative consequences. These consequences will hit close to home for South Africans as he explores how fracking leads to contaminated water and air, a negative effect on the climate and the endangerment of families’ lives.


First Light


A brighter future for SA’s rural communities

(SA | 2012 | 7 min | Dir: Leonie Mervis)

Friday 28 March 8:30 pm

In a country where around 2.5 million households are without electricity, First Light switches on hope for a brighter, greener future. The documentary tells the story of the Rural Solar Initiative in KZN, South Africa, who have kitted 50 rural homes with solar lighting. The film tells of the work Project 90 By 2030 is doing through a group of activists and eco engineers passionate about cultivating green energy solutions in communities across the country.

'In 2011 we were asked by environmental organization Project 90 x 2030 to do just this and create a series of short films about their renewable energy projects in South Africa. One of the most inspirational stories from the series (Transition SA) was that of First Light. ' said Leonie Mervis, the film's producer.

'When it comes to environmental and social issues, we are often overloaded with bad news stories. What is desperately needed is to shine a little light on the good things that inspire change' she said.


Sustainable caught up with two  producers of two other films which will be screening at the festival - A Wave Ahead and Cape Town: Better By Bike.

A Wave Ahead

The film documents Project 90 By 2030 and the Two Oceans Aquarium's installation of an innovative generator capturing wave energy from the aquarium’s kelp forest exhibit.

Hin Wah, the producer had the following to say about the film:

a-wave-ahead-programme"What we wanted to do with this film is to capture and share with people innovative and sustainable s0lutions - they are here, they are local. There are many exciting and fun initiatives that are happening, and because a lot of the innovation happens behind the scenes, not many people are aware of them. The film was our way of bringing the back stage on to the centre stage and share that with as many people as possible."

A Wave Ahead will be screened on the 31st of March at 6:00 pm.

Cape Town: Better by Bike

bikeLeoni Mervis, producer of the film gave us the inside scoop on the short film: 'The Bicycle Cape Town video was created as part of a campaign to promote cycling culture in Cape Town and encourage more people to go by bike and support carbon- free mobility. Urban cycling has seen a groundswell of interest worldwide, as hiking fuel prices, congestion and air pollution make bicycle transportation very attractive to city dwellers.

In Cape Town, this trend is encouraged by the ongoing development of the city’s cycleway network and the recent integration of bicycles into public transport services like the MyCiti Bus and Metro Rail.

The video aims to inspire more people to take an active role in transforming their lives and their city for the better –  fueling a revolution that is changing the way we live, move and connect with fellow citizens.'

Cape Town: Better by Bike will be screened on Saturday 29 March at 6:00 pm. 

This is a film festival you don’t want to miss or attend by yourself! For more info, visit The Cape Town Eco Film Festival’s website.


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