Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. Nicknamed the 'Savage Mountain,' K2's peak is so much higher than the rest of the surrounding range that it juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers to life-threatening weather conditions. In 2008, a tragic disaster on K2 claimed the lives of 11 mountaineers. Four of those who lost their lives in the disaster were porters hired to carry the equipment and provisions of foreign climbing expeditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers take on difficult and dangerous work. These efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering. In K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN, filmmaker Iara Lee and her team chronicle the lives of those who make possible ascents of the world's tallest mountains, including both Pakistani porters and Nepalese sherpas. The film also follows the first official all-Pakistani climbing team, made up of former porters. This team successfully summited in 2014, on the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. In their striving to perfect their craft, these mountaineers provide a fresh look into the cultures and national traditions of Pakistan, a country typically portrayed in the foreign media as merely a land of conflict and sectarian strife.
Robert Simon, a visionary American planner, believes that creating community is more important then building buildings. He envisions 'another way of living' in the suburbs, combining the best of the city with the best of the country. In 1964, he develops the New Town of Reston, VA where he makes his utopian vision a reality. Reston is an international sensation that inspires new trends in suburban development, mixing residential and commercial uses and creating civic open spaces to promote community. Early on, facing financial challenges, he is fired from the project by investors, but he never stops believing in his vision. At age 100 he continues to insist that Reston remain true to its principles as it struggles with new challenges that financial success brings.
Under the sun, the heavenly beauty of grasslands will soon be covered by the raging dust of mines. Facing the ashes and noises caused by heavy mining , the herdsmen have no choice but to leave as the meadow areas dwindle. In the moonlight, iron mines are brightly lit throughout the night. Workers who operate the drilling machines must stay awake. The fight is tortuous, against the machine and against themselves. Meanwhile, coal miners are busy filling trucks with coals. Wearing a coal-dust mask, they become ghostlike creatures. An endless line of trucks will transport all the coals and iron ores to the iron works. There traps another crowd of souls, being baked in hell. In the hospital, time hangs heavy on miners' hands. After decades of breathing coal dust, death is just around the corner. They are living the reality of purgatory, but there will be no paradise. - 72nd Venice International Film Festival
The Elwha River in Port Angeles, Washington is the stage for the largest dam removal in American history. A century ago, a businessman dammed the waters of the Klallam people where 100-pound salmon cast their shadows. Behind the dynamite and bulldozers that erased Thomas Aldwell’s dream is a saga of competing ideas about the purpose and meaning of a river. Produced for Olympic National Park.
Jeff Gersh, David Fox, Diana Wilmar, Jan Mulder, Greg Bedinger | 2016 | 25 min.| USA
In an audacious investigation, Freightened will reveal the mechanics and perils of freight shipment; an all-but-visible industry that holds the key to our economy, our environment and the very model of our civilisation.
Gentrification comes in many forms. On the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard, where presidents and celebrities vacation, trophy homes threaten to destroy the island’s unique character. Twelve years in the making, One Big Home follows one carpenter’s journey to understand the trend toward giant houses. When he feels complicit in wrecking the place he calls home, he takes off his tool belt and picks up a camera. Bumping up against angry homeowners and builders who look the other way, he works with his community and attempts to pass a new bylaw to limit house size.
In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film about our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives. In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. From the Desert Fathers of the third century AD who became the model for Christian monasticism to John Cage's seminal work 4'33" which would go onto inspire a generation of artists, humankind has had a long fascination with silence. In Pursuit of Silence will be the first comprehensive look at this topic whose many dimensions lie at the heart of so much of human progress. Offering audiences a contemplative cinematic experience, the sights and sounds of this film will work its way through frantic minds, into the quiet spaces of hearts, and help shape a new vision of being. Written by Transcendental Media
Patrick Shen | 2016 | 81 min. | USA, Belgium, China, Germany,Hong Kong, India, Japan, Taiwan, UK
This is an intimate glimpse into the journey of a single pangolin; from the moment it is taken from the wild to its final destination in China. Filmed on location across three countries with the help of reformed poachers and wildlife enforcement officers, the film acts as a surrogate for an estimated hundred thousand pangolins that are poached and smuggled annually throughout Southeast Asia and Africa. This film seeks to inform a broad audience about pangolins and the illegal trade they are central to, in order to address the very real danger that pangolins might be extinct before much of the world ever knew they existed. Filmed with minimal commentary to be as immersive as possible, Pangolin offers audiences the opportunity experience the life, death and afterlife of the most illegally trafficked mammal on the planet. More info: www.coralandoak.com
Katie Schuler, Nick Rogacki | 2016 | 13 min. | Indonesia, Philippines, USA, China
Let us reflect on the brief existence of Pickle the fish. Although he could not swim, he was lovingly cared for by a couple that kept him propped up in a sponge. Along with an obese chicken, a cat with a heart condition, and a paraplegic possum, his life is a celebration of man’s eternal capacity to care for all creatures. He will be dearly missed.