By Gary Walker
During its five-year history, G2 Gallery in Venice has attracted patrons and renowned artists alike in its mission to showcase leaders in the various aspects of environmental stewardship and advocacy, primarily through visual art such as paintings and photography.
Soon the gallery will be branching into another realm of the visual arts world with an artistic vehicle that will focus on different areas of environmental protection.
The gallery, which will host its first G2 Gallery Green Earth Film Festival in the fall, is in the process of inviting documentarians and filmmakers who have a passion for environmental protection and sustainability to submit their entries.
“Creative environmentalists need to be brought together more often,” said G2 Gallery Director Jolene Hanson. “Whether they use an iPhone or an entire production studio, the important thing is the environmental message they express in these films.”
The idea behind the Green Earth Festival is to connect environmental filmmakers at all levels of experience through the common goal of promoting conservation through film, G2 representatives say.
“It’s an opportunity to provide an outlet for showcasing the work of leaders as well as students of the environmental movement,” explained Mallory Smith, a Stanford University student who is assisting with the film festival.
During its five years in existence, G2 has been a venue for spotlighting through photography the impacts that forces outside of nature can have on the planet, as well as artists who capture its natural beauty through still images.
And a film series is a continuation of what gallery owners Daniel and Susan Gottlieb have sought to highlight. “Film is an extension of (the environmental photography) medium,” said Smith.
The festival will run from Oct. 4 through Oct. 6
Some of the films that will be screened during the three-day event include “Wings of Life,” a documentary from Louie Schwartzberg and narrated by actress Meryl Streep that illustrates the role of pollinators through time-lapse cinematography.
There is also “Dirty Oil” from director Leslie Iwerks, which explores the toxic impact of the Alberta, Canada Tar Sands and “A Fierce Green Fire,” directed by Mark Kitchell.
Canadian actress Neve Campbell provides the narration for “Dirty Oil.”
“This sounds wonderful,” said Mar Vista environmentalist Sherri Akers. “Because of its location on heavily trafficked Abbot Kinney (Boulevard), G2 can go far beyond ‘preaching to the choir.’
“They will give these films visibility with a wide range of people who are on the street to dine and to shop – both locals and tourists.”
Iwerks is no stranger to the G2 Gallery. In 2011, she screened her environmental short “Pipe Dreams” at the gallery, which focused on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline became the center of a partisan political argument that stretched into 2012 between Democrats and Republicans and found environmentalists such as actress Darryl Hannah challenging the Obama administration not to approve the project.
While Republicans argued that the pipeline would create jobs during an economic downturn, environmentalists pointed to the contaminated soil that the pipeline brings from Canada and its potential for polluting the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, along with other environmentally sensitive areas.
Hannah narrated “Pipe Dreams.”
“I’m a big fan of G2,” Iwerks told The Argonaut. “I think ‘Dirty Oil’ is very fitting (for the Green Earth Film Festival) because we use a lot of photography in the film and G2 is known for showcasing environmental photography.”
Iwerks, the daughter of former Disney executive and Oscar winner Don Iwerks, sees parallels between her two films. “Dirty Oil” examines strip-mining in Alberta, the region that produces the majority of oil used in the United States. It is home to Tar Sands, a petroleum deposit that has as many as a dozen heavy metals in it, including mercury, lead, copper and iron.
The film highlights through the eyes of environmentalists, politicians, scientists and oil executives the environmental and economic impact that the Tar Sands plays in Canada as well as the United States.
“Most people were very surprised to learn that Canada is where we get most of our oil and didn’t realize how toxic the area is,” Iwerks said of “Dirty Oil.”
“A Fierce Green Fire” will be the festival’s opening film. The documentary tracks the growth of the modern environmental movement, from its birth in the 1960s to its present-day significance. Actors Streep, Ashley Judd and Robert Redford, who have all been active in environmental causes, narrate Kitchell’s film.
An official 2012 Sundance Selection, “A Fierce Green Fire” will be followed by a panel discussion with Kitchell and others involved with the project.
Akers, who has been one of the leaders of Mar Vista’s green renaissance, which includes the popular Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase, said the film festival can reach audiences that might not traditionally view these types of films, which are typically released as documentaries.
“The challenge with message films is that they become widely viewed by people who already support the same point of view – or are predisposed to do so,” Akers noted. “G2 provides the opportunity to speak to an audience that might not otherwise be reached.”
Filmmakers who wish to be part of the film series must observe the following criteria: Submissions must illustrate environmental challenges or successes and should be no longer than 60 minutes.
• Submission must be on full-length film on high-quality DVD as well as title, filmmaker’s name, film length, and filmmaker contact information. Submissions can also be sent through dropbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
G2Gallery is at 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
The deadline for submissions has been extended until Sunday, Sept. 1. §