Category Archives: Film Series


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.



When: November 14 at 7 pm   Where:  Peacock Theater

In this documentary, Patriot Jean Hill (84) took her battle to ban plastic bottles in Concord, Mass, and teaches us what the combination of science along with the charm, courage, and determination of a concerned grandmother can accomplish.

In 1775, Concord patriots fired the ‘shot heard round the world’ that began the Revolution.

Jean Hill

Over 200 years later, Jean Hill is ready to fire the next shot, and it’s directly at the bottled water industry. 84 year old Jean has spent three years trying to get her town to ban single serve bottled water, and this is looking like her last attempt. With strong opposition from local merchants, and a town that has already voted against her three years in a row, will it ever be possible for Jean to win?

“A fascinating, entertaining look at how persistence and citizen action still mean something in a corporate-controlled society.” Michael Moore

Inspired by learning about the amount of garbage that these single serving bottles create, Jean actually tries to do something about it, which is something that we could all learn a lesson from. Divide In Concord follows her efforts to finally ban bottled water in her town, even after her previous attempts have failed.

She’s feisty, and doesn’t let her age slow her down, standing up to anybody who would go against her. Many of us wouldn’t even think of banning bottled water, but the effects of those empty plastic containers are drastic, and Jean won’t stand for it any longer.

The real highlight of the film, besides Jean and her frequently foul mouth, are the arguments against her bottle ban. Complete ignorance of the damage these bottles cause, and the kind of extreme reasons her opponents come up with, are hilarious to listen to, mainly because of how ridiculous they are.


82 minutes. SDH captions.

October Film: Oil and Water

When:  October 10, 7:00 pm    Where:  Peacock Hall

Oil and Water, a multiple award-winning documentary film, is an intimate portrait of two young people finding their voices and trying to beat incredible odds as they confront one of the world’s worst toxic pollution disasters in Ecuador and the Amazon Rainforest.

For decades U.S. oil companies colluded with a corrupt Ecuadorian government to recklessly pollute the land and waters of the Amazon Rainforest.  Native tribes were displaced, much of the local culture destroyed, and cancer and other disease rates increased.

But two teenage heroes emerge among the many that have been fighting throughout the destruction and since.  As the title implies, oil and water do not mix well.  Eight years in the making, this documentary follows Hugo and David on a journey that leads them to explore a more just future for people around the world born with oil beneath their feet.

The film is 72 min. long with captions.

Oil and Water reveals the social and ecological trauma of our global fossil fuel culture and how it shapes the lives of an indigenous population in Ecuador. The film also demonstrates the collaborative, visionary creativity that can also emerge from that space of pain, urgency, and love for humanity and our life support systems. I have followed the struggle of the Cofan people for decades and just when I thought all hope was lost, this film gives me reason for renewing my conviction in the power of struggle, the power of the people hit hardest by environmental injustice – and their allies – to imagine and forge new possibilities.” David Naguib Pellow, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Author, Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice.

“Great film…arresting…Oil and Water is the most complete portrait of how societies might move beyond ‘the oil curse’ to use resources from crude development to benefit the local communities from which it is found. Or, possibly, as a launching point to standardize and regulate best practices in the entire industry…It is a story of recovery but also of the need for aggressive assistance and understanding. Oil and Water puts a very human face on the ground-level of the extraction that is fueled by distant consumers.” Dr. Brian Black, Professor, History and Environmental Studies, Penn State Altoona, Author, Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History.

“An important film–it puts a human face on the very real and severe consequences of our thirst for oil. Yet it also gives viewers hope in the way it shows how two young adults can make meaningful changes to the world around them.” Dr. Benjamin Sovacool, Director of Danish Center for Energy Technology, AU-Herning, Associate Professor of Law, Founding Director of the Energy Security and Justice Program, Vermont Law School, Author, Energy and Ethics: Justice and the Global Energy Challenge.

Official Website and trailer: To see a trailer, go to and click on the documentary’s lead photo.