Festival News

Dallas' annual EarthX festival switches to outdoor drive-ins for 2021

Dallas' annual EarthX festival switches to outdoor drive-ins for 2021

Playing with Sharks Valerie Taylor
Still from Playing with Sharks, about diver Valerie Taylor. Photo courtesy of EarthxFilm

The annual EarthxFilm festival returns for its fifth edition with a post-pandemic twist: The festival will be a hybrid edition combining outdoor and online screenings.

The event will run from April 16-25, with 10 days and nights of drive-in, outdoor, and online screenings, showcasing films that explore science, conservation, climate change, and the environment with the goal of turning awareness into action through education, art, and media.

  • Opening night will feature a drive-in presentation of Sally Aitken's Sundance favorite Playing with Sharks, about the charismatic and groundbreaking diver Valerie Taylor.
  • Closing night will feature the world premiere virtual presentation of Clark Johnson's Percy Vs. Goliath, starring Christopher Walken, Adam Beach, Christina Ricci, and Zach Braff. Executive Produced by NBA champion Dwight Howard, this true-life story tells of a farmer taking on a multi-national corporation over the impact of GMOs on his livelihood.

Additional films include an evening of Texas-focused films and a series of films covering animal issues.

EarthxFilm cofounder and president Michael Cain says in a statement that the new hybrid approach fits with the festival's innovative tendencies.

"Over the course of the past year, EarthxFilm has worked to adapt and innovate the way we present environmental stories and messages to the world," Cain says. "With over 12 million views since EarthxTV’s launch in September, we have seen great success with our online presentations, and we are excited to safely share these inspiring films with audiences in a public space once again."

Texas films
This year's lineup includes two Texas-themed films screening back-to-back: Ben Masters' American Ocelot, about the endangered wild cats, and Nicol Ragland's Trans Pecos, which looks at the issues of land and water rights in far west Texas.

Animal films
A group of animal-focused, family-friendly short films will include Ami Vitale and David Allen's Shaba, about an elephant sanctuary in northern Kenya; Richard Reens' Pant Hoot, about a genocide survivor transcending odds to become a chimpanzee linguist; Kaitlyn Schwalje's Snowy, a whimsical look at a pet turtle; and Dominic Gill's The Linesman: Both Sides Matter, the story of one man's mission to end human-elephant conflict in Myanmar.

Other highlights

  • Christi Cooper's Youth V Gov, the story of a lawsuit filed by America's youth against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis. The film was supported throughout its production by EarthX via a filmmaker residency and financing assistance.
  • Award-winning film 2040, Damon Gameau's visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter
  • David Abel's Entangled, about how climate change has accelerated a collision between the nation’s most valuable fishery and a federal agency mandated to protect both
  • Beverly & Dereck Joubert's Okavango: River of Dreams, a film about the Okavango River in Botswana

The festival supports filmmakers through the payment of screenings fees and facilitating audience donations to their causes. In addition, cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be awarded to filmmakers and through impact grants to environmental organizations showcased in the films.

There'll also be panels, music presentations, youth films, and more. EarthxFilm is an offshoot of EarthX, an annual environmental expo, conference, and film festival founded in 2011 by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow.