EarthxFilm, presented by EarthX, wrapped an ambitiously mounted virtual presentation of the environmentally-focused film festival on Tuesday. The event included the virtual announcement of this year’s filmmaker award winners and grant recipients, during which $20,000 in cash prizes were given to filmmakers, on Sunday, April 26.
The award-winning films were led by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed’s ’s MY OCTOPUS TEACHER, which took home the EarthxFilm Best Feature Film Jury Prize and $5000, and Allison Otto and Maria Clinton’s THE LOVE BUGS, which received EarthxFilm’s Best Short Film Jury Prize and received $3000.
EarthxFilm Impact Awards and $2000 each went to Maria Wilhelm’s AKASINGA: THE BRAVE ONES, Christopher Smith’s CURRENT SEA, Jared P. Scott’s THE GREAT GREEN WALL, and Alexander John Glustrom’s MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL.
David Freid’s FERRYMAN AT THE WALL received the Creative Storytelling Award and $1000. Environmentally-focused organizations received grants of $1500 thanks to Earth Catalyst Awards bestowed upon Alizé Carrère’s ADAPTATION and Melissa Leah’s RAISING KHAN. A Special Mention for Best Cinematography was noted for Dereck Joubert and Bevery Joubert’s OKAVANGO: RIVER OF DREAMS, lauding the work of Dereck Joubert and Taylor Turner on the film.
In addition, $4500 was awarded to youth ages 11-22 in the Planet911 Challenge given out at the virtual awards ceremony on Earth Day.
Michael Cain, Co-Founder and President of EarthxFilm, said, “EarthxFilm is proud to be a part of these films journey. Co-founder Trammell S. Crow and EarthX believe that by supporting storytellers and their subjects we have an opportunity to create real change. Our very reason to exist is to support their vision and their missions! This ‘pivot’ allowed us expand beyond Texas and affect global change as well as launching a year round environmental channel EarthxTV.”
EarthxFilm’s Artistic Director, David Holbrooke, added, “It was odd but exciting to see all the award winners gather for this year’s EarthxFilm Awards ceremony on our computer screens. We had winners join us from Mossville, Louisiana to Zimbabwe, all of whom are doing critical work on the environment. It wasn’t easy to pivot from our terrestrial festival to a virtual one but it worked and while we look forward to being able to gather again and meet these wonderful filmmakers and their remarkable characters in person, we are really heartened by what we pulled off with EarthxFilm 2020.”
Like many film festivals, due to the pandemic, EarthxFilm was forced to pivot to a virtual version of what has become a major yearly event for environmentally-focused documentary filmmakers, as well as the scientists, activists, and citizens on the front lines of eco-stories all over the globe. However, if anything, the film festival utilized the ability to access those storytellers, and environmental leaders to a greater extent than ever before by having them tune in virtually.
Notable virtual attendees for the festival participating in panels, intros, Q/As and musical performances include Jane Fonda, EarthxFilm alumni Louie Psihoyos (RACING EXTINCTION, THE GAME CHANGERS), Danni Washington, Jeff Orlowski (CHASING CORAL), Leilani Münter (RACING EXTINCTION), Slater Jewell-Kenker (YOUTH UNSTOPPABLE), Judith Helfand (COOKED), and Danni Washington. They joined filmmakers, music artists, and film subjects from this year’s film presentations, including Matthew Modine (RIPPLE EFFECT), Dereck and Beverly Joubert (OKAVANGO: RIVER OF DREAMS), N’Dambi and Classic Roots (TURNING TABLES).
The virtual EarthxFilm festival presentation also emphasized the EarthXR programming which has become not simply an integral part of the film festival, but in many ways one of the anticipated highlights each year. In addition, music and dance were added (including an Opening Night presentation of EARTHXDANCE, a live-streamed DJ set featuring Classic Roots, a Toronto-based music producer and performer), joining the films, panels, and post-screening conversations to truly duplicate the “festival” experience that EarthxFilm has become known for.
2020 EarthxFilm Award Winners
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER – Best Feature Award
Directors: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
THE LOVE BUGS – Best Short Film
Directors: Alison Otto, Maria Clinton
MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL – Impact Award
Director: Alexander John Glustrom
CURRENT SEA – Impact Award
Director: Christopher Smith
THE GREAT GREEN WALL – Impact Award
Director: Jared P. Scott
AKASHINGA: THE BRAVE ONES – Impact Award
Director: Maria Wilhelm
FERRYMAN AT THE WALL – Creative Storytelling Award
Director: David Freid
RAISING KHAN – Earth Catalyst Award
Director: Melissa Lesh
ADAPTATION – Earth Catalyst Award
Director: Alizé Carrère
OKAVANGO: RIVER OF DREAMS – Feature Jury Special Mention: Best Cinematography
Directors: Dereck Joubert, Beverly Joubert
Cinematographers: Dereck Joubert, Taylor Turner
EarthxFilm showcases films and emerging media that explore conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. Our mission is to turn awareness into action through art and media. We achieve our goals by partnering with top environmental, film, and entertainment organizations across the globe. EarthxFilm presents year-round programs culminating in a 6-day festival, April 22 – 27, 2020. www.EarthXfilm.org
EarthX convenes the world’s largest environmental expo, conference and film festival, and is a member of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. Founded in 2011 by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, the Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. In 2019, the event drew over 177,000 attendees, 2,000 environmental business leaders, 700 exhibitors and 450 speakers. Earthx2020 will be held April 22 – 26, 2020 in Dallas. Visit www.EarthX.org.