Local film festival planning set to begin

The Enviromental Film and Arts Festival will hold a meeting Tuesday.

Published: Monday, January 11, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 11:54 p.m.

Film and fun make their debut this Tuesday as the Environmental Film and Arts Festival kicks off its planning meeting at the Hippodrome Theatre at 5 p.m.

The gathering is just the first of many leading to the event March 19-28.

The festival is expected to raise awareness in the community about environmental concerns by screening four not-yet-chosen films and having discussion panels during the week-long festivities.

"We're looking at all the different issues and trying to make sure that we go all the way around the circle of sustainability," said Trish Riley, festival co-founder and environmental journalist.

The idea is to make people leave the theater with a positive personal message, Hippodrome Cinema Director Shirley Lasseter said.

After each film, tables will be set up with information about local green businesses tied to the theme of the night's movie.

On March 27, the Bo Diddley Community Plaza will be filled with booths for community non-profits and green businesses, dancing, poetry and visual art exhibitions.

In combining the arts and business, the festival's founders want to expand to a larger audience and into communities where environmental awareness hasn't reached.

"We want to round up our information and present it in a fun and entertaining way so people can take it home and make it their own," Lasseter said.

Tuesday's meeting holds two purposes, she said, as a way to give anyone who would like to a chance to participate and to recruit local experts for panel discussions and sponsorships.

"What they come up with will be thought-provoking but also inspiring to people in the community to know there are things they can do to make things better in terms of environmental issues," said Chris Bird, Alachua County Environmental Protection director.

Bird said he thinks educating people will give them the opportunity to direct their concerns in a constructive way, and he hope to one day expand the festival beyond the borders of Alachua County.

"There is certainly an opportunity to make this not only a state-wide film festival that attracts people," he said, "but maybe beyond that it becomes known for its environmental documentaries."

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