Sustainable Rossmoor’s Film Series
Each month we highlight one or more films that inspire or advocate for environmental causes around the world. We choose films that educate us about the breadth and depth of sustainability and prompt us to make better choices. All movies will be shown in the Peacock Theater. The standing featured movie time is on the second Wednesday of each month at 7pm. English subtitles will be shown whenever available. During the Covid pandemic, we provide links to online movies.
PREVIOUSLY SHOWN FILMS IN THIS SERIES for the year 2020:
Many of the movies previously shown as part of the SR Film series have been donated to the Rossmoor Library and can be checked out by residents. Ask at the front desk for information on recent donations and the location of the SR collection.
DECEMBER 2020 Sustainable Rossmoor Movies
Return of the River
As the New Year brings transitions to a more eco-friendly world, the Sustainable Rossmoor Film Committee recommends two streaming films about dam removal: “DamNation” and “Return of the River”. Learn about the debate over hydroelectric power, ecosystem damage, fishing rights, and the dollars expended to maintain an aging dam, or to remove it. It’s become difficult for hydroelectric power to compete with cheaper solar and wind power, and toxic algae blooms are becoming an increasing problem on dammed rivers.
Both films feature the largest dam removal in the world, on the Elwha River in the Washington peninsula in 2012. Now, a much larger project is scheduled which will remove a series of four dams on the Klamath River at the California-Oregon border. These decisions generate court battles by Indiginous people, conservationists, farmers, industrialists, and governments agencies lasting decades.
Some species of salmon are now on the endangered wildlife list due to dams. So-called “salmon ladders” at dams have not provided the promised migration and spawning of native river salmon. These fish are more important than many realize. Salmon are an essential part of an extensive food chain, especially for seals, orca whales, and other large marine species, and bears on the land. The tail movements of salmon swimming upstream to spawn also moves fine sediment downstream, helping to keep the river clean and within its banks to feed widespread tributaries downstream and their ecosystems. When the salmon die after spawning, their calcium can be found in the water and within trees lining the river in addition to wildlife. For decades, salmon have been a Native American “right to fish” food source, and when more plentiful, gave local tribes a source of income for those they did not eat.
The film “DamNation” (2014) is available free on Xfinity’s TUBI app, and also on Prime. It is 87 minutes long. It won an Audience Award at the Telluride Film Festival. Compared to the second film, it’s more sensational and ends with the dam destruction. For the trailer, go to:
“Return of the River” (2014) is more spiritual, focusing on the social impacts before and after dam removal, including environmental justice and the need for planned riverbed restoration. It is 69 minutes long and is available on Prime and free on the public library Kanopy system. Its trailer is at
NOVEMBER 2020 Sustainable Rossmoor Movie
Shifting Dunes: On the Path to Sustainability (2016)
The 1-hr multiple award-winning documentary, SHIFTING DUNES: ON THE PATH TO SUSTAINABILITY (2016), highlights the stunning natural beauty of southern Lake Michigan where rare plants grow in the shadow of heavy industries’ smokestacks, and may offer a blueprint to a sustainable future.
We watch activists fighting to save the priceless landscape with its 13 diverse ecosystems — learning how it’s done politically, socially, and scientifically. The clash over the Indiana Dunes led to policies with global impact, and gave Americans their first urban national park. It now also offers educational programs on ecological restoration and for the environmental leaders of the world.
Full 1 hr film:
OCTOBER 2020 Sustainable Rossmoor Movie
Dark Money (2018)
Free on Kanopy
On Prime, streaming on PBS for $3.99
DARK MONEY is a timely, multiple award-winning suspenseful detective story that’s true — a story about a single, determined journalist, crooked politicians, and Montana elections rigged by polluters and spoilers of the earth. And the gritty folk who fight back.
Interview: Director Kimberly Reed, protagonist Montana journalist John Adams.
35 min https://youtu.be/NRO1RJS_Jj8
SEPTEMBER 2020 Sustainable Rossmoor Movie
Made in the Shade
Full film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haIXt2mMAyo
This 49-minute documentary gets to the root of Sacramento’s love affair with trees, and how it saved energy while becoming the “City of Trees”. It highlights the public vote to close the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station in 1989, the energy deficit that it caused, and how Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) general manager S. David Freeman championed a grassroots campaign to expand the city’s tree canopy as a means to reduce energy consumption, lessen heat retention in neighborhoods and break the city’s reliance on the energy plant.
Sacramento now has the largest tree canopy of any city in the U.S. Made in the Shade also draws attention to Sacramento Shade Trees, one of SMUD’s lasting programs from that era, which is organized in partnership with the Sacramento Tree Foundation and provides up to 10 free shade trees to each SMUD customer throughout Sacramento County. Through the program, 600,000 trees have been planted since 1990.
The Foundation encourages residents to take matters into their own hands. “When it comes to the tree canopy, everybody can make a difference by planting trees. You don’t have to wait on SMUD or an elected official.”
ONLINE ENVIRONMENTAL FILMS FOR SHELTERED TIMES
During the time that Peacock Hall is closed, the film committee invites you to view these engaging and informative shorts films.
If you need a laugh, there are dozens of eco-comedy shorts in our archive; scroll back to February 2019 or December 2017.
How Wolves Change Rivers
Guardians Of Life
This short feature features Joaquin Phoenix, Rosario Dawson, Matthew Modine, Q’orianka Kilcher, Oona Chaplin, Adria Arjona, and Albert Hammond Jr. in an Emergency Room. In real life, all but one of the actors is vegan or vegetarian. (3 min.)
Synthetic Sea: Plastic in the Open Ocean
The title explains it all — a story about plastics pollution slowly but inexorably overwhelming our precious ocean. (10 min.)
The Future of Food
A documentary about innovative ways to grow our vegetables efficiently and economically. (17 min.)
MARCH 2020 SR Movie
Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm; Peacock Theater
A look at the benefits of removing obsolete dams.
An audience award winner at the Telluride Film Festival, this powerful film explores the transformation of America’s national attitude of pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.
Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.
DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
87 min. Captions. Trailer: https://youtu.be/LDrkAbohJ-E
February 2020 SR Movie
CALL OF LIFE: FACING THE MASS EXTINCTION
The Center for Biological Diversity is an international nonprofit organization which promotes legal actions, global policy advocacy, scientific studies, and creative media with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. Working to secure a future for all species of animals and plants, great and small, these advocates want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.
Read More >>>
January 2020 SR Movie
OVERLOAD: America’s Toxic Love Story
When: Wednesday, January 8, 7 pm, Where: Peacock Hall
OVERLOAD aims to both illuminate the real dangers of toxic chemicals found in everything from food to furniture to face cream. We learn hundreds are now found in every baby born in America. This film offers us as consumers the tools we need to make better choices that will ultimately improve our own health and public health.
IDLE THREAT: A MAN ON EMISSION
When: Wednesday, December 11, 7 pm. Where: Peacock Hall
IDLE THREAT is a look at one man’s spirited struggle to improve public health by raising awareness about the impact of vehicle idling exhaust. His mission: draw attention to legislation making it illegal in New York City to idle a parked car or truck for more than 3 minutes — and put some teeth behind the enforcement of the law.
Idling engines consume more than 6 billion gallons of gasoline annually in the U.S., a significant but little-known contributor to local air pollution, respiratory and other diseases, and global climate change. The fumes contain several GHGs, including nitrous oxide which damages airways, blood vessels, and affects mental function. Other cities and some States have similar laws, but staff time for enforcement is lacking. Below are details about California and the Bay Area.
In a white shirt and tie, Wall Street banker George Pakenham has walked the streets of New York since 2003, courteously confronting over 3,000 drivers to explain idling’s impact and the 1971 NYC law prohibiting running a parked vehicle for more than 3 minutes. He has gained world-wide recognition for the anti-idling cause, with articles featured in the Wall Street Journal, New Yorker magazine, the Financial Times, and on TV.
He has found that over 70% of drivers will turn off their engines, no matter the weather, after discussion of a card he’s had printed that lists the public health impacts of idling on one side and quotes the law on the other. Those drivers that don’t comply can be subject to a fine that starts at $350 and goes up to $2,000. When documented with photos or videos, he and others are eligible to receive 20% of the fine. He personally has collected more than $10,000 this way and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection now receives over 1,000 documented complaints annually.
65 minutes with SDH captions.
NATIVE AMERICA: NATURE TO NATIONS
When: Wednesday, November 13, 7 pm. Location: Peacock Hall
Native American Nations’ History
Natives of both North and South America know things about the earth that modern man has ignored. For centuries they have lived in ways that maintain the earth’s bounty and protect it. This connection to the earth affected the way their governments evolved. And it shapes their struggles today.
This 1-hour PBS film “Nature to Nations” explores the rise of great American nations, from dynastic monarchies to participatory democracies. Archaeologists who’ve studied ancient hieroglyphs in the Peruvian Andes and the stories told by totem poles in the Pacific Northwest, reveal the history of Native Americans’ science grown from their connection to the earth, its animals, and the sky.
Segments from the film:
Lessons from farming (2-minute video): https://www.pbs.org/video/jim-enote-lessons-farming-h3r6jy/
The history of corn (3-minute video): https://www.pbs.org/video/corn-king-ib7arh/
SPEAKER & FILM DISCUSSANT
Immediately following the film, Denise Varner, RN – a descendent of the Muscogee Creek tribe – will draw on her experience as a consultant to bridge Indian communities and surrounding local and state health boards and advisory committees. Now semi-retired, she served many years in Indian Healthcare Programs in CA, OK, MN and ND in primary care, urgent care, trauma and public health nursing roles. She currently facilitates wellness and prevention for Native American urban youth particularly regarding preserving the identities of urban Indian young women as a means of preventing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
DEATH BY DESIGN
When: Wednesday, October 9, 7 PM. Location: Peacock Hall
Consumers love – and live on – their smartphones, tablets and laptops. A cascade of new devices pours endlessly into the market, promising even better communication, non-stop entertainment and instant information. The numbers are staggering. By 2020, four billion people will have a personal computer. Five billion will own a mobile phone. But this revolution has a dark side, hidden from most consumers.
In an investigation that spans the globe investigates the hidden underbelly of the electronics industry and reveals how even the smallest devices have deadly environmental and health costs.
The 73-minute film has SDH captions and will be followed by an optional discussion. Trailer: https://youtu.be/-jRRxffVOKg
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
When: Wednesday, September 11, 7 PM. Location: Peacock Hall
ONCE WAS WATER
When: Wednesday August 14, 7 pm. Location: Peacock Hall
Las Vegas, in the middle of the Desert, is the driest city in America, yet it leads the United States in sustainable water conservation. The efforts of Las Vegas, in its search for sustainability, have produced promising solutions–technological, political, and financial–providing an on-going global model for any city creating their own sustainable water system. The filmmaker, Christopher Beaver, will introduce the film and be available for Q&A afterward.
WOMAN AT WAR
When: Wednesday, July 10 at 7 pm Location: Peacock Hall
This award-winning 2018 Icelandic thriller is about a seemingly gentle 50-year-old independent woman who leads a double life as a passionate environmental warrior. Its beautiful cinematography includes some playful art-house elements that make it both fun and fascinating. English subtitles, 100 minutes, followed by an optional discussion.
THE END OF MEAT
When: Wednesday, JUNE 5 at 7 pm Location: Peacock Hall
THE TRUE COST (of Fast Fashion)
When: Wednesday, May 8 at 7 pm Location: Peacock Hall
THE TRUE COST makes an excellent case for examining the Fast Fashion market more closely and adding up what’s really gained and lost. Fast Fashion is a mode of business that requires millions of new products to reach the market each week at incredibly low prices. It has pushed into overdrive an industry that was already guilty of pollution, waste, and worker abuse. It’s not a glamorous scene, but it ends by shining a light on a promising new trend.
The film also shows examples of modern farmers, designers, and manufacturers who dare to defy global trends and do business on an ethical basis, forgoing cutthroat competition in favor of a more collaborative approach. The film is partially responsible for the burgeoning ethical fashion movement around the world.
An optional discussion follows the film. 92 minutes in duration, with SDH captions.
VERTICAL FARMING — Feeding the Cities of Tomorrow
When: Wednesday, April 10, 7 pm Where: Peacock Hall
EDGE OF THE WILD
WHEN: Wed, March 13, 7:00-8:30 WHERE: Peacock Hall
Over eight years in the making, this inspiring local environmental drama follows a fight by citizens to uphold the Endangered Species Act. The objective is to reverse a national policy that would allow a local landowner to destroy the endangered Mission Blue butterflies’ habitat on San Bruno Mountain. This is an area of remarkably intact wilderness that is just one mile south of San Francisco, and it’s completely surrounded by urbanization.
The film is 60 minutes. Captions are used. Trailer: https://youtu.be/l9AJezPBlt0
WHEN: Wed, Feb 13, 7:00-8:30 pm WHERE: Peacock Hall
DESCRIPTION: An Eco-Comedy collection of environmental short films that provoke thought . . . and chuckles!
A special evening of light-hearted short films on a variety of environmental topics was recently presented by Sustainable Rossmoor. Educating with humor can be a powerful . . . and fun. The club’s first Eco-Comedy production in 2017 was very popular; this is an all new collection.
When: Wednesday, JANUARY 9th, 2019 7 pm; Where: Peacock Theater
This thrilling feature film opens with old news footage of a landslide hurtling toward a small town, and the statement “It’s only a matter of time before the next big disaster.” It’s high season for tourists, yet Geologist Kristian Elkjord and his family are leaving their idyllic Norwegian village to move to the city . . . but they are one day too late. Although forewarned, no one is really ready when the mountain pass above the scenic, narrow fjord sends tons of rock and earth crashing into the water, causing a 280-foot high tsunami – the wave. Our hero works at the warning station, sounds the loud siren, but everyone has only ten minutes to get to higher ground. The drama that unfolds is based on reality. READ MORE >>>
When: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 7 pm; Where: Peacock Theater
Carbon Nation, a peppy documentary directed by Peter Byck, is perfectly timed given the urgency of the climate crisis publicized in the recent IPCC report. It is addressed to Americans who already believe that we must make drastic changes in the way we live as a nation and as individuals. But even more, it is targeted to those who do not care or are antagonistic toward talk of global warming. That is why you will see spokespersons for large corporations, the military, and entrepreneurs stating that a low-carbon economy is good for business. Byck has gathered an astonishing and varied group of American citizens to educate us about solutions to the very-real crisis we are facing. It’s pragmatism is appealing across the political spectrum. It celebrates solutions, inspiration, and action. READ MORE >>>