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A FIERCE GREEN FIRE: The Battle For a Living Planet


This is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement-grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to battling 20,000 tons of toxic waste at Love Canal, from Greenpeace saving the whales to Chico Mendes and the rubber trappers saving the Amazon, from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization.

A Fierce Green Fire premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and has also been played at the Berkshire International Film Festival, The Newport Beach Film Festival, and Crossroads for Documentary Film in Australia, environmental Film Festival, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver BC, Sheffield Doc Festival, UK, Criterio Ambiental Film Festival, Costa Rica, Human Rights International Film Festival, Mexico and the Chesapeake Film Festival.

The Critics Are Raving

“Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties) winningly spans the broad scope of environmental history in this comprehensive doc, connecting its origins with the variety of issues still challenging society today.” 
Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter


“The material is vast, and it’s an incredibly dynamic film. It’s shaping up to be the documentary of record on the environmental movement. 
I think it’ll be hugely successful.”

– Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program


“The material is vast, and it’s an incredibly dynamic film. It’s shaping up to be the documentary of record on the environmental movement. I think it’ll be hugely successful.” 
– Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

“While it sounds like a tall order to encompass more than half a century of environmental activism history in one film, Kitchell somehow manages to do so in a way that feels comprehensive and vibrant enough to inspire new converts.”
– Basil Tsiokos, what (not) to doc

“Brilliant. Should be assigned viewing for all of us, especially those political leaders currently manning the helm of spaceship earth.” 
– Jay Meehan, Park Record

 Sweeping and timely.” 
– Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune

  “Inspiring. Stirring.” 
– Mina Hochberg
Outside Magazine
 ”Best of Sundance 2012″

Historically significant.” 
— Naomi Wolf, The Guardian


Act 1 focuses on the conservation movement of the ‘60s, David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon. It grows out of three earlier battles to halt dams: Hetch Hetchy, which was lost; Dinosaur Monument, which was won; and Glen Canyon, which was sacrificed. Saving the Grand Canyon looks like a lost cause until David Brower places ads denouncing the dams. The IRS retaliates and the uproar becomes front-page news. Opposition grows so fast and furious that Congress bows to pressure – canceling and finally prohibiting dams. It is the biggest victory yet, a pivotal battle that brings the flowering of conservation. However, Brower is soon forced out of the Sierra Club. He is coming to a larger vision – just as Earth Day heralds a new environmental consciousness.
Act 2 looks at the new environmental movement of the ‘70s with its emphasis on pollution, focusing on the battle led by Lois Gibbs over Love Canal. First we connect Rachel Carson and Silent Spring to the golden era of environmental legislation and groups like NRDC that arose to enforce regulations. However it takes Love Canal to put toxic waste on the map. Lois Gibbs leads angry housewives in a two-year battle to save their children from 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. They are relentless — protesting and conducting health studies and demanding relocation, even taking EPA officials hostage until President Carter agrees to buy them out. But it’s just the beginning. Business pushes back and Reagan counter-attacks. Grassroots activists fighting toxics in their own backyard arise all over the country. Environmental racism gives birth to an environmental justice movement.
Act 3 is about alternative ecology strands and the main story is Greenpeace’s campaign to save the whales. We begin with going back to the land, building ecological alternatives and exploring renewable energy. Greenpeace brings together the anti-war and ecology movements. Putting themselves in front of harpoons to stop whaling launches Greenpeace on the wildest ride of any environmental group. Soon they are fighting on every front all over the world. Paul Watson, thrown out of Greenpeace for tossing a sealer’s club in the water, is reborn as Sea Shepherd and takes on whalers. Everyone comes together to campaign for a moratorium on whaling – one of environmentalism’s greatest victories. This act ends with the growth of green issues in Europe.
Act 4 explores global resource issues and crises of the ‘80s, focusing on the struggle to save the Amazon led by Chico Mendes and the rubber tappers. They fight ranchers and roads, then start a movement to establish extractive reserves. The pivotal battle is over a plantation called Cachoeira. Chico wins – but is assasinated. However his death proves to be the turning point, to reserves that now total a third of the Amazon. Yet relentless pressures threaten to turn it into a semi-desert. We expand to look at movements across the global south, from Chipko in India and Wangari Maathai’s Greenbelt Movement to water wars in Bolivia and arguments over equity and sustainability.
Act 5 concerns climate change. First we look at scientific origins. Then comes a twenty-year story of political frustration, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen. We explore opposition; the movement’s difficulty in dealing with the issue; and the role of disasters like Hurricane Katrina in bringing it back. COP15 ends in failure and our focus shifts from top-down politics to bottom-up movements. Paul Hawken relates his Blessed Unrest revelation: two million groups working at the grassroots, humanity’s immune response. We turn to the future, explore environmentalism as civilizational transformation, reinventing the way we make and do everything – then close with hope and the realization that we have all become environmentalists. As Bob Bullard says, “There’s no Hispanic air. There’s no African-American air. There’s air! And if you breathe air  — and most people I know do breathe air – then I would consider you an environmentalist.”

Oscar-nominated Director/Producer Mark Kitchell will appear in person at all four coastal screenings. 

eventFriday, November 9 at 7 p.m. tickets here
Mendocino Film Festival will donate a portion of the proceeds from the Matheson screenings to the Mendocino High School Media Lab
 Matheson Performing Arts Center, Mendocino HS 

eventSaturday, November 10 at 11 a.m. tickets here
 Coast Cinemas, Fort Bragg 

eventSaturday, November 10 at 7 p.m. tickets here
Mendocino Film Festival will donate a portion of the proceeds from the Matheson screenings to the Mendocino High School Media Lab
 Matheson Performing Arts Center, Mendocino HS

eventSunday, November 11 at 3 p.m. tickets here
 Arena Theater, Point Arena

Tickets $10, on sale now at Brown Paper 
and at the door.

Respond before November 3 to receive 2 FREE tickets for the 
Coast Cinemas screening of A Fierce Green Fire 
on Saturday, November 10 at 11am. 

If you’re already a Friend of the Festival, send your email request for the free tickets here and include your full name and phone number.  If you’re not yet a Friend, please learn all about the benefits here.  You can join by writing to us at or call our office at 707-937-0171 or join on line with PayPal here.    

Stevenswood Spa Resort is only 2 minutes south, of the village of Mendocino, and the Mendocino Art Center. Plan on coming to the coast and enjoy one of our suites, dinner and relax and get pampered in our spa.

For dinner phone 707-937-2810 or online at urban spoon.

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For spa reservations phone 707-937-2810 or online at Indigo Eco-Spa.

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