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Humanities to the Rescue: Environmental Film Festival

March 10, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - March 12, 2018 @ 9:30 pm

This festival showcases work by five documentary filmmakers who have tried in very different ways to spark environmental activism. What works and what doesn’t?

Curated by UB Professor Adam Rome, Department of History

Free and open to the public. Complimentary snacks and beverages will be provided between screenings.

Saturday, March 10 | Center for the Arts Screening Room (112 CFA)

3:00 pm | The Age of Stupid

Dir. Franny Armstrong (2014), 1 hr. 29 mins.

The Age of Stupid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects, Brassed Off) as a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking back at old footage from our time and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

Post-screening discussion led by John Fiege (Director, In the Air)

5:30 pm | A Sea Change

Dir. Barbara Ettinger (2009), 1 hr. 23 mins.

Imagine a world without fish.

It’s a frightening premise, and it’s happening right now. A Sea Change follows the journey of retired history teacher Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. After reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Darkening Sea,” Sven becomes obsessed with the rising acidity of the oceans and what this “sea change” bodes for mankind. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington, and Norway as he uncovers a worldwide crisis that most people are unaware of. Speaking with oceanographers, marine biologists, climatologists, and artists, Sven discovers that global warming is only half the story of the environmental catastrophe that awaits us. Excess carbon dioxide is dissolving in our oceans, changing sea water chemistry. The more acidic water makes it difficult for tiny creatures at the bottom of the food web to form their shells. The effects could work their way up to the fish 1 billion people depend upon for their source of protein. Throughout his journey, Sven talks with his young grandson Elias, who loves the sea.

As Elias grows up, will that love continue to be a source of wonder or become a painful wound?

Post-screening discussion led by Adam Rome (UB Dept. of History)

Sunday, March 11 | Center for the Arts Screening Room (112 CFA)

3:00 pm | Merchants of Doubt

Dir. Robert Kenner (2014), 1 hr. 36 mins.

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Post-screening discussion led by Elizabeth Mazzolini (UB Dept. of English)

5:30 pm | The Age of Consequences

Dir. Jared P. Scott (2016), 1 hr. 20 mins.

The Hurt Locker meets An Inconvenient Truth, THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict.

Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world.

These Pentagon insiders make the compelling case that if we go on with business as usual, the consequences of climate change – waves of refugees, failed states, terrorism – will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century.

The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism – but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy.

As in any military defense and security strategy, time is our most precious resource.

Post-screening discussion led by Irus Braverman (UB School of Law)

Monday, March 12 | Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Avenue

7:00 pm | In the Air: A Work in Progress Screening with Director John Fiege

In the Air is a feature film in which artists from the Gulf Coast use dance, spoken word, and visual art to tell stories of environmental injustice, survival, and alternative visions for the future.

John Fiege (Director/Cinematographer/Producer) is an award-winning filmmaker whose most recent completed film, Above All Else, is a feature-length documentary about the Keystone XL pipeline that premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival, with an international premiere at Hot Docs. The film won Best North American Documentary at the Global Visions Festival and a Special Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival. Mississippi Chicken, his intimate portrait of immigrants working in the poultry industry, was nominated for a Gotham Award for “The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” and screened at the Museum of Modern Art. He photographed the 2014 Sundance documentary selection, No No: A Dockumentary.

For more information about John Fiege, visit

Additional sponsorship provided by UB RENEW.

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March 10, 2018 @ 3:00 pm
March 12, 2018 @ 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Humanities Institute


To Be Announced