The Miami Environmental Film Festival: Three Can't-Miss Documentaries

The second annual Miami and the Beaches Environmental Film Festival (MBEFF) is comin' at ya this week, packed with a crop of absorbing documentaries and films that tackle the most pressing contemporary issues worldwide.

Produced by the Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches (ECOMB), the festival will bring 11 cutting-edge environmental films to MIA, with nightly screenings from Wednesday to Sunday.

We caught up with festival organizers Michael Laas and Miguel Peña to get some of their top picks for MBEFF. After the jump, check out three stand-out docs that shouldn't be missed.

The Carbon Rush
Wednesday, October 24, 7 p.m. at Colony Theatre

The Carbon Rush takes viewers on a journey around the world to meet the people at the forefront of the carbon trading industry. Carbon-credits are tradable units that represent a certain amount of carbon dioxide that can be released in the atmosphere. Intended as an ideal solution to regulate gas emissions, this legislation has a darker side, says The Carbon Rush director Amy Miller. The film takes us to the front lines of several carbon reduction projects, where the local people and environment are being irreversibly impacted.

As the Opening Gala Film of the festival, this documentary will set the tone for the remainder of the week.

"This will get the festival started on a very provocative note," said Peña. "It will certainly open up a lot of questions for inquiring minds."

Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life
Saturday, October 27, 9 p.m. at Miami Beach Cinematheque

This doc explores the evolution of green building trends and the effort to create a truly "living" building. The focus isn't just on technological pursuits, either -- Biophilic Design zeroes in on the philosophical importance of co-existing more closely with the natural world in our daily surroundings.

"Motivation to join the green building movement has been a bit sluggish in Miami, but it's starting to gain momentum," Laas said. "Hopefully this film will inspire the people of Miami to dream bigger."

Chasing Ice
Sunday, October 28, 9 p.m. at Miami Beach Cinematheque

Chasing Ice is the story of one man's mission to document the undeniable effects of climate change in the Arctic.

"The footage is incredible... it just floors you. It confronts the viewer with this real-time problem in such an irrefutable way," said Laas. He explained that a Miami-Dade Climate Change Task Force is currently in the works to address the potential effects of climate change in our city.

"Climate change specialists from Holland came down here recently, and their conclusion, at its most basic, was that Miami is extremely vulnerable," Laas said. "Our residents need to understand that climate change is a very real and immediate issue for them."

Peña noted that, as the closing film of the festival, Chasing Ice will both amaze viewers with both its cinematic quality and thought-provoking nature.

"It will close out the festival on a very personal, poignant note," he said.

The films will be screened at Miami Beach Cinematheque, Colony Theatre, and the New World Center Wallcast from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets to individual screenings cost $10 for the general public. Visit the MBEFF Web site for the full schedule and tickets.

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