The 33rd Sundance Film Festival kicked off last night with An Inconvenient Sequel, Al Gore's follow-up to the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, setting the tone for a festival with a clear climate-change throughline. Opening the day before President-Elect Trump's inauguration, this year's festival, and its lineup of environmental films, hold a political significance few could have predicted. Jeff Skoll, chairman and founder of Participant Media, who produced Gore's films, told the Hollywood Reporter, "We had no idea that the administration would change. We could not have painted a time frame when this film could have been more important."
An Inconvenient Sequel, and many similarly themed documentaries, features, and shorts shown this year, stood in defiance of climate-change denials. They present climate change from the vantage point of the Montana Rockies, the Mexico City sewers, a Chinese recycling factory, and the plains of Africa.
Check in with your local theaters to see when one of these films is coming to a screen near you.
Chasing Coral / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski): Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers, and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. World Premiere. (U.S. Documentary)
The Diver / Mexico (Director: Esteban Arrangoiz): Julio César Cu Cámara is the chief diver in the Mexico City sewer system. His job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage that flows into the gutters to maintain the circulation of sewage waters. (Short Films)
Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry / U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell): This cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture is seen through the mind's eye of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. (Spotlight)
Melting Ice / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Danfung Dennis): We take viewers on a transcendent exploration of the devastating consequences of climate change on Greenland's ice sheet. Stand under collapsing glaciers, next to raging rivers of ice melt, and witness rising sea levels—all visceral warnings of our planet's future. (New Frontier: Virtual Reality)
Plastic China / China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang): Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility's ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. (World Documentary)