Marine conservationist Valerie Taylor swims with some friends in Playing with Sharks. National Geographic Films

Movies

The EarthX Film Lineup Again Brings Eco-Consciousness to the Movies

The annual nine-day film festival begins today with dozens of projects showing in online, outdoor, and drive-in venues.

While environmental and conservation issues might have been largely relegated to the backburner in the national news cycle, they are front and center at the annual EarthX Film Festival, which will open its annual event on Friday.

The Dallas-based festival again will feature a dynamic slate of documentaries, both shorts and features, over a nine-day stretch that includes Earth Day on April 22.

This year, the hybrid format will showcase online screenings as well as nightly showings in drive-in or outdoor venues including Victory Park, The Cedars, and Klyde Warren Park. Registration is free, and you can find a full schedule here.

A couple of Texas films are included. Nicol Ragland’s Trans Pecos studies the intersection of oil companies and land rights in West Texas, and Ben Masters’ short American Ocelot follows efforts in the state to preserve the endangered cat species.

Other highlights include:

  • Playing with Sharks: The opening-night film follows Australian marine conservationist Valerie Taylor, who has devoted her career to an up-close study of sharks. Friday’s screening has been shifted to the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station due to weather.
  • Percy vs. Goliath: The closing-night selection is the only narrative feature in the lineup. Christopher Walken stars in a biopic of a Canadian farmer waging an underdog legal battle against a chemical conglomerate whose products are threatening his crops and his rights.
  • We Are as Gods: This documentary traces the eccentric life and career of psychedelic experimenter and cyberspace pioneer Stewart Brand, most notably his controversial use of biotech following a DNA-collecting trip to Siberia aimed at resurrecting the extinct woolly mammoth.

It’s a busy weekend for launching festivals with local ties. The Indie Meme Film Festival is based in Austin, but it was co-founded by Tripti Bhatnagar of Coppell. Now in its sixth year — and its second in an online format — the curated showcase of South Asian cinema will run through April 25, with plenty of diverse offerings.

Then there’s Czech That Film, which returns to Dallas this weekend for an abbreviated in-theater program at the Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley prior to a national virtual roll-out next week. The local lineup includes a biopic of Vaclav Havel along with Charlatan, the new historical drama from director Agnieszka Holland.

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