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Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival just launched their Call for Submissions to their annual Festival to be held in Toronto from October 22-25, 2015.

Here is the link to submit. The early-bird deadline is April 1st, 2015 and the standard deadline: May 1st, 2015

Planet in Focus, in its 16th year, is Canada’s leading environmental film organization showcasing and promoting outstanding environmental films and videos in all genres (documentaries, dramatic, experimental, short films, features and animation) by Canadian and international filmmakers.

Green Heroes has been part of  festival line-ups beginning with our Sarah Harmer profile in 2010, Ric O’Barry  in 2011 and  Tzeporah Berman and Rob Stewart profiles used to introduce these Eco-Hero recipients in 2014. Our TV episode, Back to Nature, was an official selection in 2013.

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In the fall of 2009, Green Heroes traveled to Miami to interview Ric O’Barry about his tireless efforts to educate the world about dolphin hunting and captivity. The interview was inspired by the success of Louie Psihoyos’ documentary, “The Cove.”

A photographer by profession, Louie used a guerrilla approach to telling Ric’s story. With covert filmmaking techniques and the latest technology he brought the world’s attention to Ric O’Barry’s previously unheralded efforts to expose the dolphin drive hunting in Taji, Japan. The film went on to win an Academy Award for best documentary.

At the Sundance film festival, Louie premiers his next documentary, “Racing Extinction.” In it, he continues in his pursuit to reveal what human beings are doing wrong to the planet and her species. Similarly portrayed with The Cove’s Bond-like style and intense pace, Louis again uses gadgets and high tech gear to reveal that we humans could be the root cause of another mass extinction, estimated to wipe out 50% of all species,  within 100 years.

A visit to the Racing Extinction website reveals an amazing video installation created by Louie and his OPS (Ocean Preservation Society) team. Projected onto the UN building in New York to coincide with the 2014 climate change talks taking place, the expression on the faces of on-lookers show the powerful impact Louie’s approach has on people and the efforts he’s made to draw attention to a problem we sometimes tend to overlook.

We are pleased to celebrate Louis and Ric’s commitment to the well being of all species living here. In fact, Louis’ philosophy aligns with Green Heroes own goal to profile people taking action, using their own talents and connections, to help save the planet. As he puts it:

Everybody on the OPS team is a little bit odd. They have something going for them in an interesting way, but they’ve been able to adapt their talent to this bigger cause. My feeling is that everybody out there has a special skill like the OPS team.”

Here are a few ways you can get inspired by Louie and follow the film as it builds momentum:

https://www.facebook.com/racingextinction

https://twitter.com/Extinction_OPS

http://instagram.com/racingextinction

http://www.racingextinction.com/

As the year winds up and we begin the holiday season, we at Green Heroes want to wish everyone the time to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the season and to find the time to reflect and recharge for the year ahead.

With a busy 2015 that includes a federal election in Canada and many challenges to the environment both locally and internationally, we want to take time to thank all of you who watch our shows on TVO, visit our web channel, contribute to our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and belong to the Green Heroes Academy. We believe we are all making a difference, each in our own way.

Shopping for gifts this year, I found how effortlessly I made my decisions based on their social and environmental impact. Much has changed in me since I pitched Green Heroes in December of 2007. Not only do I notice a growing awareness in myself but I see how we are all learning to live more sustainably. I hope you will join me in my resolution to make more decisions based on their environmental, social and community impact in 2015.

The next step in this direction is to develop a new on-line channel for programs, like Green Heroes, that inspire positive social change. Already we are pleased to announce early stage investment in this new endeavor from John Albright’s Relay Ventures.

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus (ahead of the rest of us) and all the best for the coming year.

Joan Prowse, Producer/Director, Green Heroes

I am so excited to see one of my heroes, Vandana Shiva, this Saturday at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. I admire her so much for so many reasons. For example, she is the pioneer of the non-GMO movement. She’s been fighting for farmer’s rights, seed sovereignty, the environment, our ecosystem and our food supply for longer than I think I’ve been alive! I also think that she’s such an incredible role model for all activists, but especially for girls and women. She is more aware than most people about what a frightening state our world is in, and yet she remains so optimistic and enthusiastic. I am so inspired by everything she does including how she has this compelling, yet gentle way of getting people to stop, and challenge them to think differently. I’ll be going to India very soon and can’t wait to learn more from her on how to make this world a better place. She’s made a huge, positive impact on India’s agriculture by influencing government policy…and that’s what I’m trying to do for Canada by making GMO labeling mandatory.

We know who we’re fighting against. We’re the David and they’re the Goliath. The only way our movement will be a success is if we all work together as one big, global team, which is exactly what Vandana is all about. Our organisation, Kids Right To Know is driven by two basic principles: transparency and freedom of choice. We all work so hard as a team, to educate Canadians about GMOs so that they’re made aware that when it comes to our food, things aren’t transparent, which means our freedom to choose has been taken away. But to get that back means GMO labeling must become a law. Otherwise, soon, we’ll all need PhDs to be able to detect which food is GMO and which is not. This is what we’re fighting so hard for – so that we can make clear, informed decisions about what we eat.

GMOs are the hottest topic right now when it comes to food in Canada and the United States. Polls have been consistently showing that about 90% of Canadians who do know what GMOs are want them labeled. Wherever and whenever any of us finds the opportunity to raise awareness and can influence change, we must take action and just go for it! The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is a beautiful and inspiring celebration of this kind of thinking. Let’s not be afraid to go against the grain and challenge the status quo…and better yet, challenge the big bullies!

Rachel Parent, Founder of Kids Right To Know

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Canada’s oldest environmental film festival (celebrating its 15th anniversary) opens Thursday, November 6 with Sturla Gunnarsson’s latest film, Monsoon, at the Bell TIFF Lightbox and wraps on Sunday, November 9.

Packed into four days are industry events, foodie delights, screenings (at the AGO, Rainbow Cinemas and York University) and awards for filmmaking and activism.

Two Green Heroes’ videos introduce this year’s Eco-Heroes award recipients: Sharkwater director Rob Stewart and Clayquot Sound activist Tzeporah Berman. Congratulations to you both!

The award ceremony kicks off at the Bloor Hot Docs! Theatre at 6:30 on Sunday, November 9th followed by the premiere of The Dark Side of the Chew, the latest film by Garbage: The Revolution director, Andrew Nisker.

You can check out the full schedule and buy tickets right here! piff_eco heroes_3piff_eco heroes_2

 

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Olivia Chow is our featured Green Hero this month because she is running to be Mayor of Toronto. She’s a Green Hero who might just make a good leader of a great city in this time of climate crisis. Why? Because she’s done almost everything she can to reduce her own ecological footprint and is therefore an unusual politician because she actually leads by example. Instead of just talking about what other people should do, she quietly does those very things herself. In other words, she gets her own house in order. She practices what she preaches.

While we know her as politician, she was an artist and teacher before her election as a city councilor in 1991. She had her own sculpture studio in the years before her political career and created art pieces for clients. Anybody who works in the arts knows how hard it is gain the trust of clients, make sales and commissions and run a small business all at the same time. She also taught at George Brown College – meaning she had to deal with the challenge of inspiring students. Listening to them and realizing that in order to be a teacher you have to listen and try and give feedback to your audience. But you also have to walk the walk not just talk the talk.

Beginning as a school trustee in 1985, and as Toronto a city councilor and then Member of Parliament, Olivia’s politics have addressed homelessness, public transit, and many other urban issues. She was also an early advocate of people changing their lifestyles to better suit the planet. What was so impressive was that although so many folks talked about change and dreamed about what could be done, Olivia had this practical side that was just about getting the job done.

She and her late husband Jack Layton turned their downtown Toronto home into a showpiece of environmental stewardship. She even made a little video to demonstrate how the green home improvements worked. I was so inspired by this video that I used it when I first pitched Green Heroes in 2006 to a large but skeptical audience at a media conference. I used a clip of the tour Olivia gave to illustrate how stories about people active in environmental change could motivate others to share them via the Web and inspire further action in their own homes and communities.

So Olivia was one of the first “Green Heroes” not because of anything too remarkable – she put her money where her mouth was. She fixed her home so that it wasn’t part of the problem, but part of the solution – all at her own expense. I wish more people would be like her. When people asked how she could afford the renovations, she said she had the income to support that sort of thing. Even though it did mean some investment and sacrifice, there was a payoff in lower costs down the road. She just recommended that people with similar middle class incomes do the same.

She has also, on principle, been skeptical about too much expansion at Toronto Island Airport. Recognizing that the natural wonder of the Toronto islands is for all Canadians to enjoy and experience the natural world. That it is senseless to have this treasure be overrun, as it would be, by a busy commercial airport. Now there is even talk of exposing the island paradise to jet traffic. Olivia also always went to work – rain or shine, sleet or snow, on her trademark bicycle, decorated with flowers and bright colours, Then in, 2006, she won the Trinity—Spadina seat for the NDP. In the federal election her house remained a monument to a sustainable future. A reflection of how we can make our homes and our urban centres sustainable, and beat the climate change crisis down with our own efforts. Even though we need political leadership, we also need people to start practicing a sustainable, affordable lifestyle, at home, just like Olivia. If she wins the leadership of Toronto it will be interesting to see if the city will become a place where the world can see people leading by example on climate change.

Olivia Chow1 - credit, Justin Arjune

 

On August 22-24, our featured Green Hero Shaun Majumder is celebrating his hometown of Burlington, Newfoundland with the third annual The Gathering event. And you, our Green Hero fans, have the chance win two tickets to the weekend festival!

What’s a Gathering? It’s an east coat tradition where you can listen to music from some of Canada’s greatest musicians, sample food from amazing local chefs, sleep at the on-site camping grounds and of course meet and spend the weekend with our comedian and Green Hero Shaun Majumder!

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Interested? Okay, here’s what you do to win!

1.  Join the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page (If you’re already a member, you’re one step closer!)

2.  On the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page tell us in three sentences (or less) why you want to win the prize! Yup, it’s that easy!

3. Wait while the Green Hero team chooses the lucky winner!

Remember even if you’re not chosen as the winner for the contest you still have the opportunity to go to the event! All you have to do is head over to The Gathering website and purchase tickets that best suit the experience you’d like to have!

Good Luck to Everyone! Stay Green!

– The Green Hero Team

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When: August 22, 2014 9:00 AM — August 24, 2014 7:00 PM

Gathering_PeterAndrew (13 of 79)Weekend Festival Pass:

Prize Includes:

Gathering Grounds access

Daily Music

Main Stage evening show

Chef Stations (Two Visits per Person)

Does NOT Include:

Travel Arrangements

      Camping Gear

Friday Comedy Show

    Does NOT include Chef Hikes

* Special Thanks to The Gathering for their prize donation


Front_slide_AcademyWatch and learn about our celebrity Green Heroes

Join the Green Heroes™ Academy App to complete challenges and secret missions to become an honorary Green Hero too!

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Featured Green Hero Shaun Majumder quickly learned the importance of creating local, viable businesses that utilize the environment in a positive way. The well-known actor and comedian helped get his Burlington, Newfoundland community back to their grassroots by building a greenhouse that three local communities could buy into and grow their own vegetables. Through his own experiences Shaun has recognized “…why its important to have sustainability in rural communities.”

With his show, Majumder Manor, Shaun is looking to further build the sustainability of his native community by attracting tourism to his hometown with an Eco-Lux hotel. You can watch Shaun’s adventures unfold on the second season of Majumder Manor that started back in full swing Monday nights on the W Network.

If you want to get even more involved with Shaun’s causes check out The Gathering event happening this August in Burlington, Newfoundland. This three day event taking place from the 22nd to the 24th has live music from famed artists such as Sam Roberts and Dave Nugent, amazing food from award winning chefs, and a comedy show that will be hosted by yours truly, Shaun Majumder. To get tickets and more information for the event head to www.thegatheringburlington.com.

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Green Heroes got a major boost after a successful pitch by co-founder Joan Prowse to investors at the 2014 Imagination Catalyst competition on May 15. The judges (among them former Dragon Den investor Bruce Croxon) were impressed by the content of the pitch and CineFocus’ own commitment to helping develop a node of creativity and excellence using Green Heroes as a prototype for others to learn from.

 Imagination Catalyst is the Ontario College of Art and Design’s entrepreneurship and commercialization hub. Its mission is to help entrepreneurs launch new enterprises and commercialize their designs, products and services. The win gives CineFocus and Green Heroes access to office space, mentors, visiting academics and the talent base of OCAD’s students for one year.

Petra Kassun-Mutch, Executive Director of Imagination Catalyst, put the value of OCAD’s contribution at $20,000 and noted that already the hub has raised $12 million in investments for companies and projects previously selected for their incubator/accelerator program.

Green Heroes is a good fit with OCAD’s vision to focus the power of the cultural industries, creativity, scholarship and smart entrepreneurship to solve the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time.

We lost a truly great Canadian and storyteller today. Sad is too small a word to sum up the loss I felt when hearing about Farley Mowat passing away. I met him on several occasions first as a proud Canadian nationalist defending our distinct Canadian culture during the 1988 Free Trade debate and later as a producer of three biography series Lucky Breaks (2000), Northern Lights (2005) and Green Heroes (2013) for my production company CineFocus Canada.

My visit to his summer home in Cape Breton to film this segment of Green Heroes captured a man, though in his 90s, in fine form. After our interview we went to his writing room to get shots of him at work (writing still on a manual Underwood typewriter.) As we set up I said, “I bet you’ve done this a thousand times.” “Oh no, he replied, you’re the first camera to come up here.” I’m not sure if he was teasing but it certainly added to the distinct honour of being inside Farley’s writing world.

Feisty and fun loving is his how I’ll remember him. As he walked with wife Claire and dog Chester, he stopped in his vegetable garden. He lifted the one remaining squash in the late summer light and recited this famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: …It was a happy scene that day and he was a gracious host.

Farley’s stories gave me a deep love for the North, for Nature and our Native land. His outspoken activism showed me how important it is to protect all that makes this country great. We’ll remember you and carry on your fight to protect Mother Earth and all her creations. Rest in Peace Farley Mowat.

Farley Mowat with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse

Farley Mowat with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse

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