Let’s face it, Badgers. Winter is upon us. As the temperature begins to drop outside, what better way to spend the upcoming weekend than inside a cozy theater watching incredible environmental films from around the world?
The Tales From Planet Earth film festival, held once every two years, is scheduled to make its fourth appearance at the University of Wisconsin campus this weekend from November 1-3. Thirty-seven different environmental films will be running at various times throughout the weekend at four different participating venues: the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Marquee at Union South, the UW Cinematheque and the Chazen Museum of Art.
“Tales From Planet Earth is an approach to expanding the way that people think about environmental films,” festival director Gregg Mitman said. “Our goal is to introduce audiences to the idea that the environment is more than just images created by Discovery Channel’s ‘Planet Earth.’”
The theme of this year’s festival is “Future.” The films were chosen to reflect and expand on humans’ past relationship to the environment and how that relationship will affect the future of our planet. The films are coming to Madison from all reaches of the globe, including Tanzania, China, Chile and Australia, and will explore many different cultural traditions and ways of life.
“We are living in a world that is instantaneous,” Mitman said. “We are trying to expand on the concept of time and how the human race can make decisions that will positively affect our future generations.”
Tales From Planet Earth caters to all audiences with a wide variety of interests. The films range in genre from sci-fi, foreign, documentary and more.
Although all of the 37 films are beautiful and important in their own way, there are three films to keep an eye out for this weekend. The festival kicks off Friday at 9 p.m. at the Marquee with an incredible narrative entitled “Before Tomorrow,” directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu. “Before Tomorrow” is a powerful film about an Inuit family and the fragility of their future. It has been nationally acclaimed and nominated at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals this year.
On Saturday evening at 7 p.m., the Marquee will be hosting “Pandora’s Promise,” directed by Robert Stone. “Pandora’s Promise” is a film exploring the idea that one can be an environmentalist while also supporting the benefits of nuclear power. Stone is a UW alumnus and is scheduled to be in attendance to answer questions and hold a discussion about nuclear power after the screening.
Closing the festival on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. at the Marquee, “Trashdance,” directed by Andrew Garrison, is an aesthetic performance piece about the nation’s trash collectors and the attempt to find dance and beauty in our everyday lives.
Looking for a more fictional sci-fi experience? This year, Tales from Planet Earth is partnering with the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film Committee to create “Tales After Dark,” which will show “Planet of the Apes” and “The Road Warrior” at 11:59 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Want to know the best part about it? Every screening is completely free and requires no advance tickets! So come on out to Tales From Planet Earth this weekend for some free entertainment, and hopefully learn some cool stuff about our planet along the way.