Editor's note: This year's Starz Denver Film Festival, November 12-22, features more than 200 films. To help navigate this cinematic abundance of riches, we asked fest artistic director Brit Withey to highlight some worthy selections off the beaten screening-room path. Look for Brit's Picks each weekday through the extravaganza's close.
It's not easy being green, but plenty of organizations are trying -- which is why the fest has put together an environmentally friendly panel discussion and a mini-series of four similarly themed movies. Withey talks up two of them: Garbage Dreams and So Right So Smart.
Garbage Dreams unspools at the Starz FilmCenter on Saturday, November 14, at 2:15 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 15 -- and while both screenings are already sold out, rush tickets may be available an hour before showtime. In Withey's view, it's worth a shot to see.
"In Cairo, there's been this certain part of the population whose job its been for generations and generations to collect the garbage," he notes. "That's what they do, what they're born into, what they grow up expecting to do, and how they make their living. And after having done it for so long, they're super-efficient. They end up recycling garbage at something like a 70 percent rate, which is incredible.
"But now the country's starting to bring in large companies that want to bid on the jobs, and they're bringing in huge trucks to do the work. And these companies are only recycling at something like a 5 percent rate, and they're creating these huge trash fields -- and also eliminating the livelihood of this entire population of people. It's a really interesting documentary about what it means to modernize."
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So Right So Smart is set closer to home. The film, which has three screening times (12 p.m. Saturday, November 14, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, November 15 and 4:15 p.m. Monday, November 16, all at the Starz FilmCenter), tells the tale of Interface, a carpet-manufacturing company that didn't start out as an environmental exemplar.
"After years and years and years of kind of ignoring the go-green calls, the CEO had one of those what-am-I-doing epiphanies," Withey says. "He read this book, and afterward, he thought, 'What sort of world am I leaving to my grandchildren?' And after that, he completely changed everything about his company, and made it one of the most successfully sustainable companies in the U.S. It shows what these businesses can do if someone actually pays attention to these issues, and proves that it can be cost-effective."
A number of filmmakers involved in the enviro-flicks will join local business leaders at a panel discussion intended to reinforce these messages. It takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 16, at the Starz FilmCenter, Gallery 30. Click here to learn more about all of the Environment in Focus flicks -- and look below to catch a trailer for Garbage Dreams: