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A humpback whale is projected on the Empire State Building in a scene from Racing Extinction. The film will be shown at the Athena Cinema on Wednesday for free. 

Athena Cinema to host Fall Sustainability Series highlighting environmental concerns and solutions

The Athena Cinema once again welcomes the environmental series that offers solutions for how people can stop the rapid changes humans are causing to the environment.

Every year, the small local theater hosts the Fall Sustainability Series. Starting Sept. 7, the cinema will host six documentaries relating to the broad issue of environmental problems. 

Each film will be shown for one night only with free admission. This year’s selections cover several broad talking points ranging from more traditional environmental topics such as endangered species and deforestation to fishing and fashion. Last year, the Fall and Spring Sustainability Series brought in a combined 1,300 moviegoers.

“(Environmental sustainability) is making sure that resources are distributed fairly and equitably and that consumption doesn’t cause us to run out of resources that we need in the future,” Dr. Geoffrey Buckley, a geology professor, said.

Loraine McCosker, an instructor and graduate student advisor with the environmental studies program, is mainly in charge of planning. She has help from Lorraine Wochna, Alden Library’s subject librarian for film, and Alex Kamody, the director of the Athena. They look at an array of different film festivals as well as contacting distributors directly. Film selection is based off of three main points: how interesting it is, what students will take away from it and if it provides solutions to sustainability issues. 

Some of the films in the fall line-up are local in nature, like Cheshire, Ohio. The town itself is located 30 minutes outside of Athens. The film focuses on an elderly woman who refuses to give up her home to American Electric Power, the owner of both power plants that reside in Cheshire.

Others depict topics that reach to a larger scale, but are also relevant in Athens. Kamody said every year she asks “Where’s our food movie?”

“Athens is a foodie town,” Kamody said. “Our community is really interested in sustainable and local food movements.”

Environmental problems do not only affect the local area, McCosker said they are “global in nature.”

Kamody said the films touch on how small decisions can have big impacts.

“(The series) is really about everyday life and taking a closer look at how each one of those micro decisions affects things on a macro level,” Kamody said.

After each movie showing, there will be a panel discussion where attendees can become even more informed about the topics and ask questions. All of the groups include an Ohio University faculty member with knowledge of the issue, a student and a community member that does outside work related to the topic. Racing Extinction, a documentary about endangered species and the protection people are providing them, kicks off the festival. Eve Morgenstern, the director of Cheshire, Ohio, will be a member in the panel discussion on her film.

All of the Fall Sustainability Series showings have free admission, which Kamody said might influence people to consider the films.

“Sometimes it takes a little more to get people out to something that doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of a blockbuster film but that’s actually . . . more of an academic and intellectual discussion,” Kamody said.


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