2021 Films for the Forest Press Release

Films for the Forest announces eleven short film finalists for Earth Day live stream

AUSTIN, TX– In celebration of Earth Day, Rainforest Partnership is live streaming Films for the Forest, a juried collection of eleven short films that highlight the importance of forests worldwide and the ongoing threats they face. 

We created Films for the Forest in 2010 to answer this pivotal question: “How do we connect people with beauty and the magic of the rainforests, while highlighting the challenge deforestation poses so that global audiences hear voices and stories from the rainforest?,” says Niyanta Spelman, CEO of Rainforest Partnership.  “The answer was film, a powerful, visual medium that connects people to forests intellectually and emotionally.  Film meets people where they are and takes them on a journey, to new places, new people, new ideas, new experiences….and through all of that, new feelings of love, delight, concern and connection to the rainforest.”

After being part of SXSW community screenings for almost ten years, the pandemic demanded a pivot to an online platform. This year’s 100-minute global livestream will showcase eleven films and launches on www.FilmsFortTheForest.org on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2021 at 5:00 Pacific Daylight Time for audiences in the Americas, 5:00 British Summer Time for UK, Europe, and African audiences, and 5:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time for Asia, Australia and Pacific Islander audiences.

Oscar nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater as well as “Game of Thrones” and upcoming “Avatar” sequel actress Oona Chaplin return as celebrity judges while actor Iwan Rheon (“Game of Thrones”) and actress/film producer Florence Ordesh (“Departure”) make their debut on our global panel of judges. Once the public screening concludes, winners for Best Short Category, Best Micro Short Category, and the Audience Award will be announced. 

JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation (PLH) has returned as a title sponsor for Films for the Forest. John Paul Dejoria, the JP in PLH, began support of Films for the Forest in 2014 because “you can’t have peace, love & happiness without healthy ecosystems, forests and people able to provide for their families. Films for the Forest uses the power of story to remind everyone of the beautiful opportunity we have as humans to care for the earth and each other,” Dejoria explains.

The 2021 global livestream will exhibit films from young rainforest activists, World Wildlife Fund, an indigenous tribe from Panama, and other unique stories. Viewers from all across the globe can register for free on GiveLively to join the live stream. Registering for the event will offer the opportunity to interact with the filmmakers in Films for the Forest’s post- screening panels, dependent upon which screening viewers attend.

“Our 2021 Films for the Forest theme is ‘Inspire Hope’,” Spelman elaborates. “Over the past year the world has drastically altered. The continuous stress and change has left many lonely and struggling. I invite you to watch a screening of Films for the Forest on Earth Day and be inspired to find hope once again.”

Film meets people where they are and takes them on a journey, to new places, new people, new ideas, new experiences….and through all of that, new feelings of love, delight, concern and connection to the rainforest.”

Niyanta Spelman

CEO, Rainforest Partnership

Films and Descriptions

10 Myths About Deforestation
Sarah Inge, Greg Armfield, UK

Too often, the food we’re consuming right here in the UK has direct links to the destruction of some of our most precious forests. This film debunks some of the top myths around deforestation.

Photo Credit: 10 Myths About Deforestation

A Gentle Giant
Mark Pearce, Australia

Todd Walsh the lobster man has grown up with the giant Tasmanian freshwater lobster that gently inches its way around the northern rivers of Australia’s southern-most island. This is his plea to protect a rare and remarkable creature.

Photo Credit: A Gentle Giant

Aguilucho: Dance of the Harpy Eagle
Daniel Byers, Panama

From the development of collaborative science and monitoring practices to the revival of an ancient Eagle Dance, this film is an inspiring model for conserving both a culture and a rainforest.

Photo Credit: Aguilucho

Call of the Coastal Wolves
Maxwel Hohn, Canada

Call of the Coastal Wolves follows a group of filmmakers over a two week expedition as they endeavour to film the elusive wolf. This short film asks us to reflect on our impacts to the natural world as we witness these compassionate, loving animals that deserve more attention and respect.

Photo Credit: Maxwel Hohn

Faiths for Forests – IRI Colombia in Action
Fernao Spadotto, Gabriela Sanchez, Columbia

The film is a story of the work of Interfaith Rainforest Initiative on education and awareness raising, mobilization of action coalitions across the country, influencing laws and public policies on forests, and exerting pressure on the private sector to change their policies and practices.

Photo Credit: Faiths of the Forests

Nick Werber, Peru

Magali Salinas has dedicated 15 years of her life to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wild animals in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. She talks about her life and the struggles she faces in her work.

Photo Credit: Magali

Memories of the Future
Ben Fiscella Meissner, Mexico

In 2018 researchers set out to investigate an ecological anomaly in Tabasco, Mexico–a coastal mangrove forest, thriving hundreds of kilometers from the ocean. A collaborative investigation of this phenomenon leads the scientists to discover a living relic, and begs more questions about its future as well as our own. 

Photo Credit: Memories of the Future

Protecting the Monarch Butterfly
Sonny DePasquale, USA

Monarch butterflies have one of the longest migrations of any insects, so they depend on critical habitat for their survival during their long journey. Organizations like the Pollinator Conservation Association are committed to protecting and restoring habitat to help save this iconic species.

Photo Credit: Protecting the Monarch Butterfly

Suunu’s Women Group
The Source, Uganda

They’re replanting their community in Mbale, Uganda as part of the Mbale Trees Programme. The project aims to plant 25 million trees across the region and to integrate sustainable livelihoods for the communities living in Mbale and the surrounding districts.

Photo Credit: Suunu’s Women Group

Colin Arisman, USA

Three women set sail on a 350 mile expedition through Alaska’s massive Tongass National Forest, exploring how clearcut logging in this coastal rainforest could affect wildlife, local communities and our planet’s climate.

Photo Credit: Colin Arisman

Using Drones to Tackle Deforestation
Sarah Inge, Greg Armfield, Brazil

People now have access to drone technology to detect deforestation encroaching on their land, and as the dry season approaches, equipment and training to fight fires.

Photo Credit: Using Drones to Tackle Deforestation