Adapting to a virtual platform, LMU Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) hosted the seventh annual GNG Green Earth Film Festival online this year, featuring documentary films that highlight environmental issues.

Given the social distancing restrictions, the LMU CURes team virtually premiered the films and pre-recorded panels with the Lion community this past Monday, although the links can still be accessed for the next few weeks. In collaboration with Mr. Gregory Ruzzin from the LMU School of Film and Television, CURes attempted to spread awareness on environmental issues while also carefully protecting the films’ copyrights.

“If somebody agrees to screen their film at a festival, there are certain requirements and legal issues that come along with that. If I’m a filmmaker and I agree to have my film at a festival, it’s only going to be one screening on a certain day and there’s a certain amount of control over who sees it,” said Mr. Ruzzin. “When we went virtual, we had to reach out to all the filmmakers and say are you okay with the film screening in this platform, and not all of them agreed.”

Mr. Ruzzin has worked on the Film Festival for the past three years since its move from the Gottlieb Foundation to LMU’s campus, working alongside CURes Executive Director Dr. Eric Strauss. The festival was originally hosted by Dan and Susan Gottlieb, taking place at their G2 gallery in Venice.

“The Gottliebs had a dream seven years ago to promote environmental documentary filmmakers in their work,” said Dan and Susan Gottlieb Environmental Leadership Fellow Lisa Fimiani.

As the couple closed their gallery, they hoped the festival could continue through another organization, where Dr. Strauss came to the rescue.

“[The Gottliebs] were closing the gallery and were looking for a new home to hold the film festival,” said Mr. Ruzzin. “Eric learned that the foundation was either trying to close the festival or find it a new home, so he asked me if we could try to work together with me from SFTV and he from the Center for Urban Resilience.”

The two professors have held the festival on-campus ever since, even moving it to the newer Playa Vista campus more recently. Each year, the team must sift through hundreds of submissions to create a coherent environmental theme. With over 1,200 submissions this year, choosing the right films to showcase was a difficult task for the team.

“We don’t narrow it down to an environmental film, but I will say all of the films have to engage with this idea that we, as humans, have a role to play in the natural world, that we impact the natural world with what we do, that we should cherish and respect it,” said Mr. Ruzzin.

Although the festival’s content was sent out on Monday, the links will be available for the foreseeable future and it is not too late to register.

Sign up to access the films and panels here.

Hi! I'm Riley Hetherington, a sophomore Communication Studies major from San Diego. I love spending time at the beach, with my family, and reading the Loyolan!

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