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KCET Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival, It’s A Wrap!

By: Judy Shields
Photos: Heidi Meinke

Santa Monica, California (The Hollywood Times) 4/24/2018 – “We have a series called Earth Focus, produced in partnership with Thomson Reuters foundation, which was launched in 2007.  It is the longest running environmental TV shows in the United States.” Juan Devis, KCETLink Chief Creative Officer told The Hollywood Times on Saturday.


“We have a very exciting new season starting on Wednesday, both nationally and locally on KCET. What we are trying to do this season is share a global story with a local story, that have a connection. How either climate change is effecting them in similar ways but in completely different parts of the globe. Bring two stories together in one.” Said Juan.

Juan mentioned that they almost didn’t have the second annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival because of limited resources a public television station to organize a film festival.  “I know this festival will grow because people are hungry for this type of content and get involved and figure out how to get activated. If we can be part of that, we are going to go forward with it.”  Juan said.

Lek Chailert Founder of Save Elephant Foundation

Lek told The Hollywood Times that Noi Na, the elephant that was recused and the star of Ashley Bell’s documentary Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story, was very happy, she was for the first time playing with a ball and was swinging her truck. She has two friends now. Check out Lek’s facebook page to find out more about Noi Na and Lek’s Elephant Nature Park:
The Hollywood Times presented Lek with a vest hooded sweater with an embroidered Dumbo on the chest and a couple of Disneyland Dumbo pins.  She was so happy to receive them.
She asks people reading this article to know she needs a voice to help with the education of elephants in service. Not to ride elephants, the elephants are overworked and not properly cared for and even work when they are pregnant and at times lose their baby. Do not buy painting done by elephants or go to circuses that have elephants there.

Raphael Sbarge

Raphael Sbarge: “The first one is always the hardest and now it actually feels like it has some momentum. There is a great vibe here, the fact that this is the only environmental film festival in Los Angeles is just crazy, right! You would think there would be many of them here. It is part of KCET’s commitment to the environment, speaking locally and tapping into the incredible pool of filmmakers and actors and people who really care about this.”
“It is so great and the fact that they are sold out speaks for itself. A spike in the curve in terms of awareness and a receptive audience.”

Maggie Q on the green carpet

Maggie Q: “I will be introducing the movie tonight and it was a wonderful movie and I hate what we are doing to the animals. It does affect me a great deal.”

Patrick Fabian









Patrick Fabian told The Hollywood Times that he was bringing his two daughters to the film festival and he was looking forward to watching the movie “Jane” with him.

He was also glad to hear that KCET was having the second annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival this year and he was happy to provide his support and looks forward for many more Environmental film festival in the years to come.

John Michael McCarthy

John Michael McCarthy, the writer and director of Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story told The Hollywood Times that this was a memorable experience for his being part of this elephant rescue and being in a truck with a 70-year old captive partially blind Asian elephant for 48 hours was somewhat intimidating. He is very proud of the work they all did on this amazing film and hopes that folks will go out to see it to be award of the abuse of service elephants.

Actress and environmentalist Maggie Q gives welcoming remarks at an advance screening of “Love and Bananas An Elephant Story” at Sony Studios on April 20, 2018 (Photo KCET)

Over Earth Day Weekend, KCET Hosted Private Advance Screening of ‘Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story’ at Sony Studios Introduced by Maggie Q To Kick Off EARTH FOCUS Environmental Film Festival
Celebrities Kim Delaney, Patrick Fabian, Sharon Lawrence and Raphael Sbarge Introduced Environmental-Themed Films at LA’s Only Green Film Festival During All Day, Open to the Public Event on Saturday, April 21 in Santa Monica Supported by Region’s Most Influential Environmental Organizations.

Actor Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) actress Kim Delaney (Chicago Fire, The Oath, Army Wives, NYPD Blue) and actor-filmmaker Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time, Longmire) (Photo KCET)

From Left to Right: Patrick Fabian, Kim Delaney, and Raphael Sbarge introduce films at EARTH FOCUS Environmental Film Festival. Maggie Q introduces the West Coast Premiere of Love and Bananas: An Elephant Story at Sony Studios’ Opening Night Event. A full day of environmental films was open to the public at Santa Monica’s Laemmle Theatre for KCET’s second annual EARTH FOCUS Environmental Film Festival.

Filmmaker Roddy Tabatabai, Abramorama’s Evan Saxton, Save Elephant Foundation’s Sangdeaun-Lek Chailert with filmmakers Ashley Bell and John Michael McCarthy
(Photo KCET)

On Fri., April 20 from 6:30-10:30 pm, KCET kicked off the second annual EARTH FOCUS Environmental Film Festival, LA’s only environmental film festival, with an exclusive screening of Abramorama’s Love and Bananas: An Elephant

Filmmaker Ashley Bell, KCETLink Media Group’s CCO Juan Devis and Actress Maggie Q (Photo KCET)

Story at Sony Studios’ classic Kim Novak Theatre followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Actress and environmentalist Maggie Q (Designated Survivor, Divergent, Nikita) hosted the opening night event. Guests on Friday night were welcomed with opening remarks from KCETLink Media Group’s Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis followed by introductions of the documentary from actress / filmmaker Ashley Bell and actress Maggie Q.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Sara Rue
Reylynn Caster
Kat Kramer


Sharon Lawrence

The event began with a green carpet reception attended by actor Dylan McDermott (LA to Vegas, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Practice), actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Training Day, Blindspot, Broadchurch), Actress Reylynn Caster (Me, Myself and I), Actress Sara Rue (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Will & Grace), activist and host Sarain Fox (Viceland’s RISE, Future History), Actress Briana Evigan (Step Up 2: The Streets, Sorority Row), Kat Kramer (Little Fockers), Actor Michael Nouri (American Crime Story, Damages, Flashdance), former Anchor of KCET’s SoCal Connected Val Zavala, Hosts of KCET’s Globe Trekker Brianna Barnes and Zay Harding as well as many more.

Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond, Filmmakers Ashley Bell, John Michael McCarthy, Roddy Tabatabai and Executive Producer David Casselman and film’s Sangdeaun~Lek Chailert (Photo KCET)

The opening night film was followed by a post-screening Q&A 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.

Actor and filmmaker Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time, Longmire), actor Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul), and actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Queen Sugar, The Ranch) were also in attendance and acted as presenters for the full day festival on Sat., April 21, along with actress Kim Delaney (Chicago Fire, The Oath, Army Wives, NYPD Blue) at Santa Monica’s Laemmle Monica Film Center from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sat., April 21.
A full day of environmentally-themed films open to the public, with many of the films free of charge, kicked off with an environmental shorts screening from UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) program followed by four acclaimed films (March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step, Evolution of Organic, The Last Animals and Jane) and closed with a screening of two all-new episodes of KCET and Link TV’s EARTH FOCUS, the longest running environmental news magazine on U.S. television. Each film was introduced by a celebrity host and followed by a Q&A panel. More information about the screenings and the Q&A sessions that followed can be found at

Mark Monroe Co-writer of The Last Animals Film and Link TV Co-Founder Kim Spencer (Photo THT)

All five of the movies shown this year, were educational, informative and eye-openers.  The Q&As after each film where truly worth staying after the movie to listen to.

Don’t forget to turn into KCET tomorrow, Wednesday, April 25th –

Sea Level Rising: Living With Water

Louisiana still 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.
  • WednesdayApr25, 8:30 PM PT
  • WednesdayApr25, 10:30 PM PT
  • FridayApr27, 7:30 AM PT

The 2018 EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL was in partnership with Sony Pictures Television Networks’ Picture This Festival For The Planet along with sponsors including Thomson Reuters Foundation,, UCLA’s LENS program, the International Documentary Association (IDA) and Motev, an environmentally conscious global executive transportation service.
The EARTH FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL also showcased green organizations in Los Angeles that included 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.








Saturday’s event was attended by over 300 people committed to bringing environmental awareness and dialogue to our community with the hopes of helping save our planet for tomorrow.