Environmental films didn’t really exist until about the 1970’s. For the most part there were few film-makers seriously looking at the earth and our place in it until the late 1960’s.
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) became the first commercially successful and most impactful environmental book in history. After that, books, then films, began to both celebrate the earth and lament its potential demise. Since that time, there have been hundreds of thousands of films and documentaries created that are designed to educate and warn. Some simply look at life on earth, particularly non-human life. Many are studies of the impacts that humans have had on the planet so far.
Former Vice-President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (directed by Davis Guggenheim) is the highest grossing documentary film in history. It was designed to be an accessible look global climate change and the impacts that it is having.
Each year, thousands of environmental films are released and there are many film festivals that celebrate these films, usually in the hopes of shedding light on what we can all do to help save the planet from the negative aspects of supporting 7 billion humans.
Here is an international list of film festivals that specialize in environmental films:
- American Conservation Film Festival
- Artivist Film Festival
- Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
- Black Maria Film and Video Festival
- Cinemambiente Environmental Film Festival
- ecofilms – Rodos International Film + Visual Arts Festival
- ECOMOVE International
- Environmental Film Festival at Yale
- Environmental Film Festival (Washington, DC)
- FICMA – Festival Internacional de Cinema del Medi Ambient
- Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
- Global Visions Film Festival
- Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
- International Environmental Film Festival
- Imagine Science Film Festival
- International Wildlife Media Center & Film Festival
- Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
- Media That Matters Film Festival
- Native Spirit Film Festival
- North Sea Film Festival
- Planet In Focus: Toronto International Environmental Film & Video Festival
- Princeton Environmental Film Festival
- San Francisco Green Film Festival
- Santa Cruz Film Festival
- Tales from Planet Earth Film Festival
- Undercurrents: BEyONdTV
- United Nations Association Film Festival
- Vermont International Film Festival
- Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
- Wild Talk Africa – Wildlife Film Festival & Conference
- Wildscreen Festival
- World Community Film Festival
- Yosemite Film Festival
If you know of other film festivals that feature environmental films, please let us know. We would love to keep this list up to date.