If you're tired of paying $10.50 to watch the same old celebrities in another blow-'em-up flick, head to D.C. for the Environmental Film Festival for insightful movies.
The fest offers an eco-fix for those eager to read about the journeys of Atlantic loggerhead turtles, climate refugees, the organic movement and cell phone dangers. But it doesn't stop at environmental subjects -- you can catch a Georgia O'Keeffe documentary or watch how Baltimore's public schools are getting an education in healthier food choices.
Nora Pouillon, owner and chef of the nation's first certified-organic restaurant, Restaurant Nora, spoke at the festival's launch party March 10.
"In my restaurant, I try to show people that by eating well and living a sustainable lifestyle, you can make a difference in your life, family and community," Pouillon said.
Highlights from screenings last week include "Waterlife," a documentary tracing the flow of the Great Lakes, which provide 20 percent of the Earth's freshwater needs (waterlife.nfb.ca); "Colony," a film about the mysterious disappearance of bees and their critical role in sustaining agriculture (colonymovie.com); and "Ladies of the Land," stories of four female farmers, one of the fastest-growing demographics in American agriculture (ladiesofthelandmovie.com). With a total of 155 films, there are plenty of non-food-related topics as well -- something for everyone.
For a full schedule of listings, visit dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org. Here's a slice of what's slated for this coming week:
'Turtle: The Incredible Journey'
If you enjoyed watching Crush ride the Australian current in the animated movie "Finding Nemo," you'll appreciate this real-life documentary that follows the journey of a loggerhead turtle across the Atlantic Ocean. Showtime: 3 p.m. Sunday at the AFI Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $10.
In a country stuffed with overweight kids, Michelle Obama is on a campaign to introduce healthier choices to American schools. Although the first lady isn't part of the film, this 25-minute documentary focuses on a similar message by taking a look at meals served by Baltimore public schools. Showtime: 7 p.m. Monday at American University's Wechsler Theater, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington. Free.
The United Nations estimates that the number of environmental refugees surpasses that of political and religious refugees combined, and this film explores that phenomenon. Showtime: 6 p.m. Wednesday at the World Resources Institute headquarters, eighth floor, 10 G St. NE, Washington. Free, but registration required (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
Scientists, doctors and researchers from around the world share their take on the health effects of cellular technology in this hourlong documentary. Includes footage from 10 countries. Showtime: 7 p.m. Thursday at the E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, Washington. $10. Purchase tickets at the E Street Cinema box office.
'Frogs: The Thin Green Line'
Bees aren't the only animals disappearing -- frogs have gone missing too. This movie explores the potential environmental devastation from losing a species. 7 p.m. Friday at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington. Free, but register online at fonz.org/lecture.html.
Filmed in 1977, this award-winning documentary highlights discussions with the late painter Georgia O'Keeffe. 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW, Washington. Free with museum admission ($12).
Meaningful movies into your mailbox
If you prefer to watch movies in the comfort of your own home, visit dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org. You'll find distribution information for the films featured at the festival. Or look into Spiritual Cinema Circle (spiritualcinemacircle.com), a DVD club that will deliver movies to your front door a la Netflix. It promises independent, thought-provoking films. The cost is $21 per month, plus shipping and handling, but the DVDs are yours to keep.