The Examiner

Jacob Burns Film Center Set to Focus on Nature

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Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,” a documentary directed by Costa Boutsikaris, is scheduled for Oct. 14 as part of the annual Focus on Nature series at the Jacob Burns Film Center.
“Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,” a documentary directed by Costa Boutsikaris, is scheduled for Oct. 14 as part of the annual Focus on Nature series at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

Focus on Nature, a series that has been held annually at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville since 2010, returns this week with films addressing the importance of environmental protection.

This year’s series, scheduled for Oct. 8-28, includes six documentary features that were released since last year.

Programmer Karen Sloe Goodman, who made the selections for this year’s series, said a common theme of this year’s films is the importance of protecting the planet.

“Each of the films in their own way touches on an aspect of sustainability,” she said.

The opening night feature is “Tiger Tiger,” directed by George Butler. The documentary follows Alan Rabinowitz, one of the top big cat conservation biologists in the world, as he travels through Eastern India and Bangladesh, the only tiger habitat he has never explored. Fewer than 3,200 tigers are currently able to survive in the wild, according to experts.

Following the opening night film, Andrew Revkin, The New York Times environmental blogger and Pace University senior fellow for environmental understanding will moderate a question-and-answer session with Butler and Tom Hurwitz, an Academy Award-winning cinematographer Tom Hurwitz.

Another panel discussion will follow the second film in the series, “Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,” the documentary directed by Costa Boutsikaris that will be screened on Oct. 14.

The film examines a variety of practices already being used in the United States to solve environmental problems.

The question-and-answer session following that screening will include Boutsikaris, Lisa DePiano, the subject of the film, and Pace University professor Melanie DuPuis, chair of the college’s Department of Environmental Studies and Science.

Though the bulk of the documentaries represented in this year’s series are features, the spotlight will also shift to student films. Following the Oct. 25 screening of Louis Schwartzberg’s “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” a work about nature that cannot been seen with the naked eye, Goodman will join film center educator Tom Frankie in leading a panel discussion with Focus on Nature program students about their short films. Goodman said the Burns has been collaborating with the Focus on Nature initiative to teach filmmaking to students.

Goodman said the series’ films are not typical documentaries about nature.

“It’s very issue orientated,” she said.

The series also will feature the exhibit, “In My Element: Photographs by Lynda Shenkman Curtis,” presented in the theater’s upstairs Jane Peck Gallery.

Focus on Nature is presented in partnership with Scenic Hudson and Groundwork Hudson Valley and made possible through the support of the Hoch family and the van Hengel Family Fund.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is located at 364 Manville Rd. in Pleasantville. Call 914-747-5555 or visit for information, including ticket prices and the full schedule.


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