PEFF SCHEDULE_Rust (1).jpg

A scene from the documentary ‘Rust,’ directed by Rafal Malecki.

The Princeton Public Library’s Princeton Environmental Film Festival returns to an online platform for a second installment this year. Opening Tuesday, October 12, and running through Sunday, October 24, the 15th annual festival features 34 films (20 short and 13 feature-length documentary films and one short narrative film.) The festival is under the direction of Susan Conlon and Kim Dorman who curate and present films with local, regional, and international relevance. All PEFF screenings are free.

Films will be available on demand with some restrictions during the festival. The lineup and instructions for viewing the films using the Eventive platform can be found at

Film highlights include:

In “The Ants and the Grasshopper,” directors Raj Patel and Zak Piper deliver a compelling portrait of activist Anita Chitaya who has worked in Malawi to bring abundant food from dead soil, make men fight for gender equality and end child hunger in her village. Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real.

“Baato” filmmakers Kate Stryker and Lucas Millard join the journey by Mikma and her family, who annually travel by foot from their village deep in the Himalayas of Nepal to sell local medicinal plants in urban markets. This year, construction of a new highway to China has begun in their roadless valley, changing everything.

Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity, and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet’s vulnerability.

In “Becoming Cousteau,” from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most renowned environmental voice. This film will be available to stream October 12 through 14.

Director Lucy Walker’s latest documentary, “Bring Your Own Brigade,” is a thoughtful and compassionate look at the 2018 wildfires that killed 88 residents and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the cities of Malibu and Paradise, two very different California communities.

The film reveals that there are numerous steps that can be taken to not only mitigate the catastrophic devastation caused by wildfires, but to restore health and balance to woodlands that have been long mismanaged. Previous films by Lucy Walker screened at the PEFF include “Wasteland” and “The Crash Reel.”

Rafal Malecki’s film “Rust” is a portrait of working artist/sculptor Mariola Wawrzusiak-Borcz, who roams post-industrial areas in search of scrap metal. During the welding process, she creates sculptures of endangered animals and children affected by war and the ravages of civilization.

“Fast Fashion: The Real Price of Low-Cost Fashion” explores how our planet is being overwhelmed with clothes, fueled by fast disposable fashion that enables consumers to constantly renew their wardrobe. The film, directed by Gilles Bovon and Edouard Perri, examines how these clothes, produced at a low price, have a very high environmental cost.

In “Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust” director Ann Kaneko provides a fresh interpretation of the Japanese American confinement site by examining the environmental and political history behind the World War II camp.

Prior to the war, Manzanar was where Native Americans were driven out and farmers and ranchers were bought out by the LA Department of Water and Power. By connecting this camp to California’s environmental history, this film shows the intersectionality of how Japanese Americans, indigenous communities and locals have been mistreated by government entities.

In “Reflection: A Walk with Water” filmmaker Emmett Brennan contends that society has lost touch with the delicate and crucial place water occupies in the environment. Taking a several-hundred-mile trek on foot along the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Brennan joins like-minded activists on a mission meant to raise awareness about California’s water crisis.

A collection of “Made in New Jersey” shorts features a close look at black squirrels, mockingbirds, and Brood-X cicadas. The films also shine a light on natural destinations in Princeton, Cadwalader Park in Trenton, public art in Camden, and the inspiration from the Pine Barrens for Maya Lin’s art installation “Ghost Forest.”

For more information:

Recommended for you