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By Anna Lothson
The organizers of a new film festival coming to Oak Park and River Forest this weekend hope a myriad of environmental films will inspire people to go beyond thinking green.
Starting with a Green Carpet Gala from 7:30-9 p.m., Friday, April 27, at Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield Street, the One Earth Film Festival springs into action with a weekend packed with events hosted by Green Community Connections to facilitate dialogue and inspire follow-through.
Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, a diverse group of films will be offered in a multitude of venues, touching on topics related to environmental impact stemming from human behavior. Films geared for every age group — everything from Wall-E to a selection of independent documentaries — will be shown across 10 sites in the area. For a full list of films and locations, visit greencommunityconnections.org [or see today's Calendar].
"People are starting to think in a different way and people are realizing they can live in more environmentally-friendly ways." Sally Stovall, co-founder of Green Community Connections, said. "It's just discovering that."
Admission to the festival is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. Early registration is recommended for the films, due to limited seating, but walk-ins are welcome. Tickets to the gala are $25 and must be purchases in advanced.
Overall, the organizers' goals for the festival are to provoke thought and spark opportunities for people to discuss topics like climate change, sustainability, and the power of human involvement. In turn, Stovall said, people can use that as springboard to help the Oak Park and River Forest communities band together behind sustainable initiatives.
Stovall, an Oak Park resident, said it's the range and wealth of dynamic topics that she thinks will help attract people to the festival and subsequently inspire them. Eventually, the group wants to promote the festival beyond the borders of these communities and turn it into a regional event.
"We hope to have some really good conversations," she said. "We hope we'll have some really good practical things come out of it."
Melanie Weiss, an Oak Park resident and volunteer for the group, said the festival is an excellent way to building community and connect people around environmental issues. And she said it was remarkable how quickly this grassroots organization pulled the film festival together.
Sitting through films together instead of watching a documentary at home, she hopes, will foster a sense of responsibility to do more among the groups.
"There is a lot of excitement," she said. "We're hoping to grow it and get more energy behind it."