Home Documentary / Shorts / Independent 2nd Annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival, April 21st Laemmle Monica Film...

2nd Annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival, April 21st Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

From KCET and Link TV Announces 2018 Lineup for Earth Day Weekend

By: Judy Shields
West Coast Premiere of ‘Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story’
at Sony Studios Friday, April 20th
Saturday, April 21 All-Day Festival Features Celebrity Introduced Screenings – Followed by Q&A Panels; Kicks Off With Free Screening of Hulu Original Documentary March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step’ Plus National Geographic’s ‘Jane,’ ‘The Last Animals,’ ‘Evolution of Organic’ and Closing Night Screening of Environmental Documentary Series ‘Earth Focus’


KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent broadcast and digital media network, has announced that its two services, KCET public television in Los Angeles and independent satellite network Link TV, will launch the second annual EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, the only festival of its kind in Los Angeles on April 20, 2018, with a private opening night reception and West Coast premiere of Abramorama’s “Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” followed by a full day of environmental-themed films, many of which are free and open to the public to attend. The film from actress/filmmaker Ashley Bell follows a daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue a captive Asian elephant and set her free. The screening will take place at Sony Pictures Studios Kim Novak Theatre. A post-screening Q&A will follow with filmmakers Ashley Bell, Roddy Tabatabai and John Michael McCarthy, Executive Producer David Casselman as well as the film’s Sangdeaun Lek Chailert moderated by KCET MUST SEE MOVIES host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond. This presentation continues KCETLink’s commitment to educating audiences about the global elephant poaching crisis following its 2016 award-winning campaign for EARTH FOCUS: Illicit Ivory. KCET and Link TV have partnered with the Save Elephant Foundation, a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs and educational ecotourism operations.

“Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” follows filmmaker Bell, and a team of elephant rescuers led by world renowned Asian elephant conservationist and TIME Magazine’s “Hero of Asia,” Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, as they embark on a daring mission 480 miles across Thailand to rescue a 70-year old partially blind trekking elephant and bring her to freedom. The film aims to ignite a new way of thinking about this species and shows us what can be done to prevent the extinction of Asian elephants. The rapidly decreasing numbers of elephants in the world, combined with the popularity of elephant trekking camps and recent announcement to lift a ban on “trophy” elephant imports, makes this a timely and important film as it presents a solution to the problem. The film depicts a better way to co-exist with and enjoy elephants that will not put them at risk. The film is written and directed by Bell, John Michael McCarthy, and Fernanda Rossi, executive produced by Steve Bannerman, David Casselman, Pam Casselman, Ian Hultquist, Sofia Hultquist, Samantha Housman, Leandro Marini, Roddy Tabatabai and produced by Bell, McCarthy and Ross M. Dinerstein. Abramorama is handling the global release and rights management for the film on behalf of production companies Grumble Grumble, Change For Balance and Campfire.

Ashley Bell Love & Bananas: An elephant Story

Five pair of tickets will be given away to the opening night screening event “Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story” via Go to for details.
“We are committed to bringing environmental awareness and dialogue on multiple platforms through our EARTH FOCUS franchise, and are proud to host the festival as a resource for enlightenment and education,” said Juan Devis, Chief Creative Officer for KCETLink Media Group. “Capitalizing on the success of last year, we’ve been able to curate an incredible lineup that covers a range of issues impacting the environment today. We hope these films can encourage our community here in Southern California to play a part in helping save our planet for tomorrow.”
The Hollywood Times covered last years Environmental Film Festival, and it was outstanding. This year promises to be ever better. Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story is such a touching and heart-warming story, that everyone needs to see when it is released April 22nd, check your local movie theater for showing times.  It will change what you thought you knew about elephants in captivity.

Ashley Bell & an Elephant from Love & Bananas Documentary About a Thai Elephant Rescue

Following the opening night event at Sony Pictures Studios, Los Angeles’ only environmental film festival will take place Sat., April 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica (1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA. 90401) in partnership with Laemmle’s Theatres. The second annual EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL is open to the public kicking off with an environmental shorts screening from UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) program followed by four acclaimed films and closing with a screening of two all-new, back-to-back episodes of KCET and Link TV’s EARTH FOCUS, the longest running environmental news magazine on U.S. television. The screening will premiere two episodes from the new season, exploring how environmental changes are forcing all living creatures to adapt in order to survive. The series premieres later this month, created in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Green Wish Co-Founders Ed Begley Jr. & Raphael Sbarge (Photo THT)

Thanks to Green Wish, a grassroots nonprofit that helps other local nonprofit green organizations fund projects for their communities, and, the media sponsor for the festival, celebrity environmental activists including filmmaker/actor Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time, Murder in the First, Longmire), actor Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) and actress Sharon Lawrence (Shameless, Queen Sugar, NYPD Blue) will introduce each film that will be followed by post-screening dialogues with the filmmakers. General admission tickets are available starting today at
The Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival is also in partnership with Sony Pictures Television Network’s Picture This Festival For The Planet along with sponsors including UCLA’s LENS, the International Documentary Association and Motev, an environmentally conscious global executive transportation service. The EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL will also showcase green organizations in Los Angeles that include Heal The Bay, River LA, Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Project Save Our Surf and L.A. Works with tables upstairs in the mezzanine area at the Laemmle’s Monica offering important environmental educational information and volunteer opportunities to attendees. Additional supporters include: The Ocean Foundation, Kiss the Ground and Reef Check.
Go Metro and take the Expo Line to Downtown Santa Monica Station and walk a quick ten minutes to the festival. Attendees will receive a free KCET hat by showing a TAP card at check in. Additionally, Laemmle’s is offering a special discounted deal of $5 for a popcorn and soda all day to attendees of the festival. More information on Laemmle’s Monica can be found at
The schedule (subject to change) for Saturday, April 21 at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica (1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA. 90401 is as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m.: Opening of all-day festival with Heal The Bay, River LA, Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Project Save Our Surf and L.A. Works in the upstairs mezzanine area of the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center.
  • 9:45 a.m.: UCLA LENS Environmental Shorts Screenings (Total Running Time 1 hr.) – FREE!

In partnership with KCET, UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) has launched a yearlong collaboration to create innovative forms of immersive environmental reporting and documentary storytelling. The project brings together UCLA faculty and students from English, Film, Anthropology and Environmental Science and also represents an original collaboration between LENS and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Films being shown include Taylor Yard: A Change of Heart in Los Angeles and Urban Ark Los Angeles introduced by Allison Carruth, LENS Faculty Director. A Q&A following features LENS co-founder Jon Christensen with moderator UCLA Film professor Kristy Guevara-Flanagan.

  • 10 a.m.: “March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 15 min.) – FREE!

Filmmaker Luc Jacquet returns to the Antarctic to revisit the Emperor Penguins who call the frozen continent home. A decade after making his Academy Award® winning March of the Penguins, Jacquet spent two months shooting in the Antarctic winter using the new technology of 4K cameras, airborne drones, and under-ice diving to show the astonishing lives of these mysterious creatures in an entirely new light.

Sharon Lawrence 2017 Environmental Film Festival (Photo: THT)

The film tells the story of two penguins, a father and son, as they face and overcome the almost unimaginable challenges of life in this hostile land. Introduced by actress Sharon Lawrence. Q&A following with Sara Mandel, aviculturist (bird expert) in charge of the June Keyes Penguin Habitat at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, and moderated by Sharon Lawrence.

  • 11 a.m.: “The Last Animals” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 32 min.)

    Conflict photographer Kate Brooks turns her lens from the war zones she is used to covering to a new kind of genocide – the killing of African Elephants and Rhinos – in this sweeping and sobering exposé. As the single-digit population of Northern White Rhinoceros ticks closer to zero, Brooks outlines the myriad factors contributing to the current epidemic of highly effective poaching and trafficking syndicates, drawing startling connections between the illegal wildlife trade, drug cartels, international terrorism and border security. But all is not yet lost – at the same time, Brooks documents the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these animals in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Q&A will follow.

 12 p.m.: “Evolution of Organic” + short film “The Soil Story” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 28 min.)


Academy Award® nominated director Mark Kitchell (“Berkeley in the Sixties,” “A Fierce Green Fire”) brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. The film is narrated by recent Oscar® winner Frances McDormand. A motley crew of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives. It’s a heartfelt journey of change from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we grow and eat food. By now organic has gone mainstream – split into an industry oriented toward bringing organic to all people, and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. Prior to the film, the short film “The Soil Story” from LA’s environmental non-profit Kiss the Ground, explores the first viable, low-cost way to reverse climate change through soil. Introduced by actor and filmmaker Raphael Sbarge. Q&A will follow.

  • 2:30 p.m.: “Jane” (Total Running Time 1 hr. 30 min.)

    Patrick Fabian and Kristin Davis – 2007 Environmental Film Festival (Photo: THT)

Oscar®– and Emmy®-nominated director Brett Morgen uses a trove of never-before-seen 16 mm footage unearthed after 50 years from the National Geographic archives to shed fresh light on trailblazing conservationist Jane Goodall. Morgen tells Goodall’s story starting in 1960, when the 26-year-old British woman arrives in a remote area of northwestern Tanzania to study chimpanzees.
Drawing on stunning wildlife footage and exclusive interviews with Goodall, as well as research footage from the Jane Goodall Institute and Goodall family videos, Morgen offers an unprecedented, intimate portrait of a woman who defied the odds to become one of the world’s most admired conservationists. Introduced by actor Patrick Fabian. Q&A will follow.

  • 5 p.m.: “Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” & “Earth Focus: Climate Migration” (Total Running Time 1 hr.) – FREE!

Earth Focus: Sea Level Rising-Living with Water” explores how Louisiana is learning from Hurricane Katrina.  Forecasts are dire for Louisiana to experience the second-highest sea level rise in the world. There is a big movement brewing in New Orleans to build adaptive “resilience zones.” In Southeast Louisiana, the native peoples of the Isle de Jean Charles have become the first U.S. citizens moving within their homeland displaced by climate change.

Juan Devis The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences 65th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards

Earth Focus: Climate Migration” follows populations that are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration. Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities. We see how this is manifesting in Mongolia and examine the factors leading to the new community of Haitian people living in limbo at the border between Mexico and the U.S. Q&A following with Director Nicky Milne and moderated by KCETLink TV Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis.

Each of the films included in the film festival will be augmented by original content published on KCET and Link TV’s web sites at and, on related topics ranging from environmental justice to climate activism to green gentrification. Contributors will include veteran environmental journalists and other experts. Additionally, visitors to the websites will be treated to multimedia features, environmental-related discussion boards and social media videos as well as trailers to the films being featured.

The EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL is part of KCET’s month-long commitment to provide a robust library of content on multiple platforms intended to ignite compassion and action for helping to save and heal the planet. Additional content on KCET and Link TV that focuses on environmental challenges and solutions include:

  • EARTH FOCUS PRESENTS documentary film series airs Wed., at 9 p.m. on KCET and Link TV. The lineup includes: “Gringo Trails” (4/4), “Bluefin” (4/11), “Replan It” (4/18), and “Thank You For The Rain” (4/25).
  • ARTBOUND, KCET and Link TV’s arts and culture series airing Tues. at 9 p.m., presents two all-new environmental-themed specials that tie in the global conscious efforts surrounding art. “No Trespassing: A Survey of Environmental Art” airs 4/10 while “The Art of Basketweaving” airs 4/24.Two new environmental series, AMERICAN RIVERS and ANGRY PLANET will premiere on KCET on Tues., Apr. 3 at 10 p.m. and Wed. Apr. 4 at 8 p.m. respectively. While on Link TV, AMERICAN RIVERS will premiere on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning Apr. 8 and ANGRY PLANET airs at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT beginning Apr.4.
Join the conversation on social media using #EarthFocus and #KCETgreen.

EARTH FOCUS is supported by the Orange County Community Foundation, the Farvue Foundation and other generous institutional funders. The EARTH FOCUS series was created by Raisa Scriabine.

KCETLink Media Group is an award-winning national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit or Select programming from KCET and Link TV is also available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV and Roku platforms.