2017 Festival Highlights
The 18th Annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival took place in October 2017, sharing a love of films and a passion for the planet with thousands of people in Toronto.
With brand new special events, three inspirational Eco-Heroes, and over 50 films from 18 countries, this year’s festival was a true testament to the power of film as a catalyst for change. Take a look back with us at some highlights from the festival!
Planet in Focus kicked off with a special launch event honouring our 2017 Canadian Eco-Hero, Dr. Roberta Bondar, for her instrumental work in environmental education and advocacy. Dr. Bondar's keynote address was an inspiration to hundreds of audience members in attendance at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
Planet in Focus Opening Night celebrated a spirit of resistance and hope with the world premiere of UNFRACTURED by Canadian filmmaker Chanda Chevannes. Chevannes joined us onstage with the film's subject Dr. Sandra Steingraber and Greenpeace Canada Executive Director Joanna Kerr for a powerful discussion about the film's activist message.
Friday was a full-day professional development series for those in the film industry. The day was packed with panels on the creative and business elements of filmmaking; a One-on-One networking session for filmmakers with funders, broadcasters, distributors, and producers; a Master Class with Chanda Chevannes; and our Green Pitch Competition ($35,000+ prize value).
Planet in Focus hosted this celebration of the world's top environmental films as recognized by the Green Film Network, an association of over 40 environmental film festivals from around the world. The evening included screenings of the award-winning films, 24 SNOW and PLASTIC CHINA. We were joined by filmmaker Mikhail Barynin from Russia for a discussion about 24 Snow.
We always look forward to the smiling faces on Family Day! This fun, FREE day is for the whole family, featuring a film program of family-friendly animated shorts, a kids' yoga session with Rishma Yoga, and a family breakfast using 100% compostable goods. It's a huge hit every year and the best way to kick off a busy festival Saturday.
Back by popular demand, Fest Forum is a day full of film and compelling conversation. Led by attending filmmakers, experts, and leaders of local organizations, post-screening panel discussions invite audiences to delve deeper into the issues presented in the films. The theme this year was food, with panel topics such as food distribution, food waste, and GMOs.
Ending the festival on an inspirational note, we honoured our 2017 International Eco-Hero Ron Finley, a self-described “Gangsta Gardener” who is leading an exciting urban agriculture movement. Following a screening of CAN YOU DIG THIS, which features Mr. Finley, he joined us to discuss his revolutionary work. The evening also included a presentation of the first Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero Award to Jonah Bryson.
Our ever-popular Fest Field Trip for school groups engaged over 1,500 elementary and high school students. With increased demand and sold-out screenings, the program featured environmental films followed by a curated tour of the AGO galleries to enrich the experience and explore the films' themes.