Festival

Sundance Film Festival

2012

Sundance environmental films: the natural environment

cane toad

They’re big! They’re ugly! And they might give you warts! They’re cane toads… in 3D! Mark Lewis’ CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST, which premieres at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, isn’t your typical nature documentary. This follow-up to 1988′s CANE TOADS: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY portrays the “horror” of an invasive species with a heavy dose of comedy, but still provides a provocative illustration of the ecological damage a non-native “invader” can wreak. Imported to Australia in the 1930s to deal with pests decimating the Queensland sugar crop, cane toads represent “Australia’s most notorious environmental blunder”: they didn’t eat the Greyback Cane Beetles, but did multiply like crazy…

Films addressing human interaction with the natural environment, and our tendency to throw things out of whack, have become a Sundance staple. Some other films you may want to check out:

  • THE COVE (2009): “Part environmental documentary, part horror film, part spy thriller,” this film tells the story of a group of activists willing to risk their safety to document the capture of dolphins in Taijii, Japan… and the other secrets they discover in the process. THE COVE received the Audience Award at the ’09 festival.

  • DIRT! THE MOVIE (2009): Based on the book Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, this documentary digs into the simplest — and most vital — of subjects: soil. Directors Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow talk to a wide range of people — from activists and anthropologists to ministers and wine critics — to learn about the dirt under our feet, and its role in sustaining us.

  • FLOW: FOR THE LOVE OF WATER (2008): Have we entered a “world water crisis?” Irena Salina’s documentary explores the global privatization of water supplies, and what it means for universal human access to this necessary resource.

  • GRIZZLY MAN (2005): Before The Grizzly Man Diaries came to Animal Planet, Werner Herzog’s documentary on Timothy Treadwell, the amateur bear expert who lived among the grizzlies for thirteen summers, and was eventually killed by one of the bears, brought this unique story to worldwide attention.

CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST premieres in Park City on Tuesday, January 26th. If you get a chance to see it, let us know what you think.

Image credit: CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST official site