ECO-HEROES

Presented each year at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival toCanadian and International individuals whose work has had significant impact on raising awareness of environmental issues through artistic expression.

Planet in Focus Eco-Hero Awards are generously sponsored by: 

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Anne Dagg

ANNE INNIS DAGG

2018 Canadian Eco-Hero

In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas, in fact, before anyone, man or woman had made such a trip, 23-year-old Canadian biologist, Anne Innis Dagg, made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to become the first person in the world to study animal behaviour in the wild on that continent. When she returned home a year later armed with ground-breaking research, the insurmountable barriers she faced as a female scientist proved much harder to overcome. In 1972, having published 20 research papers as an assistant professor of zoology at University of Guelph, the Dean of the university, denied her tenure. She couldn’t apply to the University of Waterloo because the Dean there told Anne that he would never give tenure to a married woman. This was the catalyst that transformed Anne into a feminist activist. For three decades, Anne Innis Dagg was absent from the giraffe world until 2010 when she was sought out by giraffologists and not just brought back to into the fold, but finally celebrated for her work. Read More

When: Thursday, October 18, 2018

Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at 7pm

John Francis_cr_Mark Thiessen National Geographic

JOHN FRANCIS

2018 International Eco-Hero

In the early 1970s John Francis gave up using motorized vehicles after witnessing the devastating effects of an oil spill in San Francisco Bay. Soon Afterwards he took an even more radical step: a vow of silence that lasted 17 years, during which he undertook a pilgrimage by foot across America on behalf of the environment and world peace, earning his Ph.D. in environmental studies along the way. Through his silence and walking, he learned to truly listen, both to other people and the world around him. Since ending his silence in 1990, Francis has served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program, contributed to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Oil Pollution Act of 1990. He relates the experience of his quiet protest in his book Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence. In March 2011, National Geographic published his second book, The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World. Last year he was elected to a four-year term as one of three commissioners of the Borough of West Cape May, NJ, where he lives. Read More

When: Closing Night, Sunday, October 28, 2018

Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at 6:30pm

rachel

RACHEL PARENT

2018 Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero

This is not your average teenage girl. She’s not drawn to designer labels. She’s drawn to food labels. At 11 years old, Rachel began researching for a school project and became alarmed by what she learned about GMOs. This gave her the spark to become an activist fighting for our right to know what’s in our food by making GMO labeling a law in Canada. That spark evolved into what’s now known as Kids Right To Know, a not-for-profit organization that she founded to inform the public, especially other children, about food safety.

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In Memory of Rob Stewart

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The Planet in Focus staff and board are heartbroken at the news of losing such a young and incredible force. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his friends and family during this difficult time. Rob was not only a friend of the festival, but a worthy Eco-Hero, honoured at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival where both SHARKWATER and REVOLUTION have screened in the past.

Help Rob’s legacy live on by ensuring his latest film SHARKWATER: EXTINCTION is completed and shared with the world. Please donate through the PayPal link on the Official Sharkwater Website.

Make a Donation in Memory of Rob Stewart


Dr. Roberta Bondar

2017 Canadian Eco-Hero

The world’s first neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine research. Aboard the Discovery mission STS- 42, the First International Microgravity Laboratory Read More

Ron Finley

2017 International Eco-Hero

Armed with a shovel, some soil and seeds, Ron Finley has come to be known as the “Gangsta Gardener” and his unexpected tactics have made him one of L.A.’s most widely known artivists. Read More

Jonah Bryson

2017 Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero

Born and raised in southern France, Jonah Bryson fell in love with exploring all the Mediterranean Sea had to offer, and deeply connected with the underwater world. Read More

Alexandra Cousteau

2016 International Eco-Hero

A filmmaker, explorer, and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau Sr. Read More

David Suzuki

2016 Canadian Eco-Hero

David Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences Read More

Vandana Shiva

2015 International Eco Hero

Dr. Vandana Shiva trained as a Physicist at the University of Punjab, and completed her Ph.D. on the ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’ from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Read More

Amy Millan

2015 Canadian Eco-Hero

Amy joined the Canadian indie pop band Stars  in 1999. Watching the political and environmental developments around seed, Amy decided to do something to address healthy food systems.  Read More

Rob Stewart

2014 International Eco Hero

Rob Stewart’s SHARKWATER (2007) is one of the rare environmental films that reaches the consciousness of audiences world-wide and in response, a change in behavior occurs. Read More

Tzeporah Berman

2014 Canadian Eco-Hero

Tzeporah Berman’s This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Change, details the struggles/ challenges she has faced in the environmental movement over the past two decades. Read More

Col. Chris Hadfield

2013 International Eco Hero

Former Commander of the International Space Station, Col. Hadfield’s scientific and technical accomplishments in outer space focused world attention on the importance of the space program…,Read More

 Zacharias Kunuk

2013 Canadian Eco-Hero

Zacharias Kunuk’s internationally acclaimed films that include; Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, The Journals of Knud Ramussen, and Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, give voice to the Inuit People’s perspective…Read More

James Balog

2012 International Eco Hero

Founder & Director, Extreme Ice Survey / Founder, Earth Vision Trust For three decades, James Balog has been a leader in photographing and interpreting the natural environment. Read More

Jennifer Baichwal

2012 Canadian Eco-Hero

Jennifer was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied philosophy and theology at McGill University and received an M.A. in 1994, supported by a McGill Major Fellowship and a 2 year FCAR Master’s Scholarship.Read More

Ric O’Barry

2011 International Eco Hero

Planet in Focus is proud to announce our 2011 International Eco Hero, Richard O’Barry for his work protecting dolphins and marine animals worldwide. Read More

Kevin McMahon

2011 Canadian Eco-Hero

Kevin McMahon began his career as a newspaper journalist at the St. Catharines Standard before shifting his focus to documentary film in the mid-1980s. His films have been described as “visually stunning…Read More

Robert Bateman

2010 International Eco Hero

Robert has been a keen artist and naturalist from his early days. He has always painted wildlife and nature, beginning with a representational style, moving through impressionism and cubism to abstract expressionism. Read More

Margaret Atwood

2010 Canadian Eco-Hero

A varied and prolific writer, Margaret Atwood is one of Canada’s major contemporary authors. Atwood’s writing is noted for its careful craftsmanship and precision of language which… Read More

Graeme Gibson

2010 Canadian Eco-Hero

Educated at the University of Western Ontario, Graeme Gibson taught at the Ryerson Institute of Technology, later Ryerson University, from 1961-69. He later served as writer-in-residence at the University of Waterloo and…Read More

Maude Barlow

2009 International Eco Hero

Maude is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco–based International…Read More

Ian Clifford

2009 Canadian Eco-Hero

Ian Clifford is the founder and CEO of ZENN Motor Company, a Toronto-based manufacturer of fully electric vehicles. He began his career as a photographer. Mentored by Ansel Adams… Title

CBC’s The Nature of Things

2009 Industry Eco-Hero

Award-winning geneticist and broadcaster David Suzuki is the Foundation’s co-founder with Tara Cullis. He is familiar to audiences around the world as host of CBC TV’s…Read More

Carlo Petrini

2008 International Eco Hero

This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and made a lasting contribution to environmental awareness, action and change on the international stage. Read More

Wayne Roberts

2008 Canadian Eco-Hero

Roberts is a pioneer and trailblazer, as a leader of the Toronto Food Policy Council since 1999, he has steered the development of such landmark documents as Toronto’s Food Charter, the Food and Hunger Action Plan…. Read More

Edward Burtynsky

2008 Industry Eco-Hero

This award is given to an artist who has made an outstanding and lasting contribution in environmental artistic expression in their collected body of work. Read More

Robert Redford 

2007 International Eco Hero

Renowned as a screen based artist – an Oscar award winning actor, director, producer and champion of independent cinema – but it is our pleasure to honour   Mr. Redford…Read More

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

2007 Canadian Eco-Hero

“I do nothing more than remind the world that the Arctic is not a barren land devoid of life but a rich and majestic land that has supported our resilient culture for millennia. Read More

Caroline Underwood

2007 Industry Eco-Hero 

Caroline Underwood has produced, directed and written over twenty award winning programs for the CBC’s science series, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki…Read More

Dr. Alanis Obomsawin

2005 Industry Eco-Hero

Over the course of her remarkable and distinguished film career, Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation and the Order of Canada, has been telling the stories of Aboriginal peoples in Canada… Read More

Frédéric Back

2004 Industry Eco-Hero

Frédéric Back, OC CQ (April 8, 1924 – December 24, 2013) was a Canadian artist and film director of short animated films. During a long career with Radio-Canada, he was nominated for four Academy Awards… Read More