Category Archives: Film Series


“Death by Design” is our film on Oct 9.

This film exposes the extent to which the booming electronics industry damages the environment and impacts public health in many countries where our devices are made and materials are extracted and processed. But, it also helps the viewer make more informed choices and join effective channels of activism.

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.

Searching Electronics Waste pile

From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.

Some of the film’s heroes are whistleblowers, innovative recyclers, and a small Irish company that builds a fair-trade/sustainable computer.

The 73-minute film has SDH captions and will be followed by an optional discussion.




When: Wednesday, September 11, 7 PM    Location: Peacock Hall

This multiple-award-winning film is a testament to the immense complexity of nature as it follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and to farm the land. Emmy-winning wildlife filmmaker John Chester and his wife Molly, a chef, leave their apartment in Santa Monica to discover what restorative farming could do for 200 acres of abused, barren land. Through unflagging perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a bio-diverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.
This film features breathtaking cinematography, a wide variety of animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call. It provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.
The farm’s residents came to include pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, guinea hens, horses, highland cattle, Emma the pig, and  Maggie the brown swiss dairy cow. The land consists of biodynamic certified avocado and lemon orchards, a vegetable garden, pastures, and over 75 varieties of stone fruit.
The film is 92 minutes. 
It has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 
No captions
The writer/director, John Chester, is interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s FRESH AIR, on May 6, 2019. 13 minutes.
“… the documentary does show that an eco-conscious farm is viable and sustainable, even in the dust bowl of drought-parched California. That the Chesters’ spread is exceptionally picturesque is just a bonus.” 


SR Movie in August: 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.


Award-winning filmmaker, Christopher Beaver specializes in environmental films, and focuses on to the human experience of the world around us. He will share his fascination with and knowledge of California’s water systems. His other films on the subject include Treasures of the Greenbelt and San Francisco Bay, Tales of the San Joaquin – A River Journey, and Tulare – The Phantom Lake.



Sustainable Rossmoor showed another of his films in 2017, Racing to Zero: in Pursuit of Zero Waste which won him an Emmy and was broadcast more than 600 times. He also won the Sundance Grand Prize Documentary for his film Dark Circle about nuclear proliferation. Christopher teaches documentary and narrative film production, cinematography, and digital journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.


SR Movie in July:  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 BACK-STORY. Our warrior heroine is attempting to shut down an aluminum smelter, or at least discourage further investment and expansion of the aluminum industry in Iceland.  Although Iceland has almost 100% renewable energy (mostly geothermal, some hydro), its pristine environment has been spoiled over recent decades by successive Icelandic governments.  Their continuing emphasis is on the development of heavy industry using the country’s plentiful renewable energy resources to prop up environmentally damaging foreign industries. As a result, this “clean energy” has generated private profits for many companies outside of the country.  Meanwhile the benefits for the local population are, at best, questionable and large areas of unique nature have been lost forever.

American companies have moved 30 energy intensive, highly polluting aluminum smelters to Iceland. There are still 5 such smelters in the US; all are ailing — unable to compete with foreign prices.


May Film: 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.

Fashion discarded

Scrupulous, Comprehensive Research

Scrupulously researched, this film is one of the most comprehensive documentaries ever made about fashion’s dark side, taking the viewer from the expansive cotton fields of Texas to the showrooms of Paris and London, to the factories in Bangladesh and Southeast Asia where workers are beaten into submission and sometimes killed because they organize for better pay and safe working conditions.

Counter Trends Triggered by FF Excesses

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.



March film: 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.

We travel the mountain’s native canyons and hillsides and meet Michele Salmon. She is a lifelong resident of the small town of Brisbane, located on the mountain. In the 1960s, Michelle‘s family played a major role in thwarting a real estate developers’ plans to scrape off the top of the mountain for a new city. The film follows her as she continues her parent’s legacy.

Endangered Butterfly — San Bruno Mtn.

Eventually, in return for a permit, the landowners agree to pursue specific management protections for endangered and threatened species. This amendment to the Endangered Species Act is especially crafted for Mount San Bruno Mountain and is called a habitat conservation plan (HCP). Since then, HCP‘s have been used in over a thousand areas in almost every state, affecting wilderness preservation across the country. In time, the County of San Mateo purchased 80% of the mountain.

The film is 60 minutes. Captions are used.


Details about the three species of butterflies on the mountain that are protected by the Endangered Species Act:



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 will be 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.

A panel of Rossmoor judges previewed a large number of nominations submitted by residents as well as culled from national eco-comedy film festivals to create a delightful evening while taking a fresh look at a large variety of subjects. You might wonder, what could be amusing about global warming, climate change, solar energy, wind power, plastic, water pollution, air pollution, traffic, landfill, oil spills, concern for other species, food waste, overpopulation, or extreme weather. Come to the theater and find out; see if you agree that these environmental short films provoke thought . . . and chuckles!

Please make your suggestions for the club’s next collection of eco-comedy short films by using the “Contact us” link on this website.

For links to some of last year’s (2017) ECO-COMEDY SHORT FILMS selections, go to:

The full collection (73 minutes) of the Sustainable Rossmoor 2019 Eco-Comedy Short Films can be viewed at:
Individual segments are here:
Man’s Best Friend (2 min)
Environmental Pollution (3.5 min)
The Front Fell Off (2 min)
Community Garden (2 min)
A Jon Stewart Tirade (7 min)
A Grocery Store War (6 min) Stop-action animated
Wa’ar Tasting (1.5 min)
Self-Driving Bike (3 min)
Single-Use Plastic Rap Song (3 min)
Nuclear Meltdown (1 min)
Steeri (2.3 min)
Feeling Warm on the Inside (36 sec)
Elephants in the room (40 sec)
Green Police on Recycling (1 min)
Bottled Water Tasting (4 min)
BP Oil Spill (3 min)
Eco-Warrior Challenges (2.5 min)
Skip the Straw (4 min)
Climate Change Denial Disorder (1 min)
Same Way We Treat the Earth (1 min)
Overpopulation Solutions (3 min)
Get Acclimatized (1 min)
Best Electric Products (1 min)
Extreme Weather, Rising Tides (30 sec)
The Natural Label (4.5 min)
12 Days of Garbage (2.5 min)
The Threat of Wind Power (3 min)
Twizzlers instead of Straws (1 min)
Traveling in Groups (1.5 min)

January Film: THE WAVE


When: Wednesday, JANUARY 9th, 7 pm;   Where: Peacock Theater   

This thrilling feature film about a landslide-generated tsunami 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.”

The Film’s Location

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.

Glaciers, Landslides, and Tsunamis

Such geologic catastrophes occur often in real-life, and they are becoming more common due to climate change and receding glaciers. Glaciers help to hold the walls of icy narrow valleys in place. When there is a large landslide with a sudden displacement of material into a body of water, a very large wave is created called a megatsunami. They are more than 10 times as large as the much smaller type of wave caused by an underwater earthquake.  Just such a tsunami hit the Sunda Strait in Indonesia after the collapse of a wall of the Krakatoa Volcano into the ocean during an eruption last month.

Landslide Tsunami Effect

Several megatsunamis have occurred in uninhabited fjords in Alaska. The largest on record occurred in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. It destroyed trees up to an elevation of 1720 feet — a third of a mile high. In 2015 (the same year our film was released) a 633-foot high megatsunami occurred in the Taan fjord in Alaska. In 2017, a fishing village in Greenland was washed into the sea and 4 people were killed. Scientists have identified and are monitoring multiple likely future sites all over the world.


This film won awards for best visual effects, best score, and best editing.

It is in Norwegian with English subtitles.   Length:  1 hr 45 min.


December Film: CARBON NATION

December film: Carbon Nation

When: Wednesday, December 12, 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.


The most enthusiastic and hopeful believer in a low-carbon economy and its positive impact on poor people is Van Jones, a civil rights activist who founded Green For All which brings new jobs in this burgeoning field to disadvantaged communities. A magic moment for him is watching trainees of Solar Richmond & Grid Alternatives installing solar panels in a California home.

Another activist is Bernie Karl, a geothermal pioneer in Alaska who has found a way to use 165 degree water to create geothermal power. He has come up with what many are calling a game-changing technology which can wean us from dependence on oil.

Dan Nolan, a former army colonel, shares the workings of the Green Hawks, people in the U.S. Department of Defense who are pushing the Pentagon’s move toward energy efficiency and sustainable power. There is a competition among base commanders around the US to become the first net-zero-energy base, to create all the energy they use, to use water in the most efficient manner, and to have bio-waste energy generators on base. Being off the grid makes the military more resistant to terrorism.

Cliff Etheredge, a rancher in West Texas, brags about the money he and others are making by leasing their land to wind companies. This project of green energy has brought new life back to a dying community.

Others featured in this engrossing documentary talk about:

  • the benefits of white roofs (Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld),
  • the search for a biofuel replacement for jet fuel (Richard Branson),
  • the generation of energy at or near the site where energy is used (Amory Lovins),
  • the fact that going green will save U.S. companies millions of dollars and create many new businesses (Thomas I. Friedman),
  • the benefits of plug-in hybrid cars (R. James Woolsey),
  • and the challenge of making energy efficiency in homes and offices universally accessible (James Rogers).


The consensus view of these movers and shakers in American society is that climate change can be dealt with before it is too late, but only if citizens, politicians, scientists, and businesses all work together on some of the solutions presented on Carbon Nation.

It is 84 minutes long. Sorry, no captions.