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Natural force: Taos Environmental Film Fest explores Earth’s challenges

For four years, the Taos Environmental Film Festival has screened films with a message.

This year is no different.

A mother and calf in the film “Humpback Whales.” (Courtesy of Brandon Cole)

The fifth annual festival prides itself in presenting beautiful, thought-provoking and award-winning films by professional filmmakers who seek truth and scientific knowledge regarding our natural environment and all its inhabitants.

The festival is presenting films that explore and search for inner and outer peace while also exploring various natural environments, its diverse inhabitants and the challenges posed to the world’s biodiversity.

“The films are very diverse,” says Jean Stevens, director and founder of the festival. “There are some short films, and a number of New Mexico filmmakers are represented in the screenings.”

Stevens says that with nuclear proliferation resurfacing and military spending surging, it is important to honor the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, in its work to help our endangered species. Each year that passes it has become apparent that humanity must find a way toward world peace, Stevens says.

She points to the 2016 film “A Bold Peace,” directed by Matthew Eddy and Michael Dreiling.

The film juxtaposes Costa Rica’s national policy of demilitarization, since 1948-49, with the nation’s investment in education, health and the environment.

The film “A Quest for Meaning” takes the viewer form India to Guatemala, the United States and across Europe to discover the message of activists, biologists, philosophers and guardians of ancestral traditions from across the world.

Stevens says the film “Plastic Paradise” will take viewers thousands of miles away from civilization to Midway Atoll.

It is one of the most remote places on Earth, and yet it’s become ground zero for the great Pacific garbage patch,” Stevens says.

Journalist-filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way, she meets scientists, researchers, influencers and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our plastic consumption.

Other films in the festival include “The Serengeti Rules,” “The Map of Paradise” “Humpback Whales,” “The River and the Wall,” “Journey Into Amazing Caves” and “Hiro’s Table,” by Taos resident Lynn Hamrick.

For a full schedule, visit

“The films are also free and open to the public,” Stevens says. “We want to start a dialogue with the films that will run through the community.”

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