The EarthX Film and Music Festival will be held in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas Oct. 20-22. Courtesy of EarthX.
Oct. 20, 2023
The EarthX film festival, now in its seventh year, is getting a reset.
Rebranded as the EarthX Film and Music Festival, this year’s event will use various mediums to take attendees on a journey of connection to the environment.
R&B singer Danielle Ponder is the headliner for Sunday evening. Courtesy of Danielle Ponder.
The fest kicked off Friday and continues this weekend in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas.
Organizers are hoping to attract a new audience while mixing things up for fans of the fest.
“Our format this year is straying a little bit from a traditional film fest format,” said Laura Shaunette, director of programming at EarthXFilm and Music festival.
The program spans three days, with one big event taking place each night. These events blend film, music and visual affects to promote conversations around environmental activism, accessibility and mental health.
Shaunette explains that these three nights should leave the attendees feeling “encouraged, hopeful and inspired” and having the “courage to pursue activism.”
The unique blend of film and music tells a story and makes conversations about our environment and climate more tangible, she said.
Attendees can enjoy the entertainment aspect, while also being educated on environmental justice in the Oak Cliff community.
NEW FORMAT, NEW VENUES
While the format of the festival is one of major changes being made, the number of films being shown and location has also changed as well.
Common Ground will be screened on Friday night. Courtesy of EarthX.
“There’s a lot of things that we have been kind of changing to make the festival more focused and impactful,” said Shaunette.
Rather than over-programming, which can overwhelm some attendees, the offerings are slimmed down and tailored to a theme.
The venue is another thing that has changed. Last year, the festival was hosted in the Bishop Arts District, closer to downtown and drew in many attendees. However, now the aim is to make the fest “community-oriented,”specifically focusing on Oak Cliff, and uplifting smaller, historic venues around the area.
Shuanette explained the importance of changing the location to work with the already existing Oak Cliff community. This event is designed for Oak Cliff and aims to uplift the community and the stories there, she said.
“We decided to focus all our energy on these programs being as qualitative as possible and as connective as possible.”
The festival is broken into three different evening events. Each night offers a format to encourage discussions about the environment, climate and mental health.
FRIDAY NIGHT - FEATURE FILM
A sequel to Kiss the Ground, Common Ground, explores the stories of farmers converting to regenerative farming practices and the roadblocks they face from major agriculture companies. Common Ground reflects on historic practices of regenerative farming, such as methods used by Indigenous communities.
The film is followed with a conversation with directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell, and a guest speaker, Hugh Aljoe from the Noble Research Institute.
Donna Missal, will also be performing live on Friday night, and has curated a specific set list around the theme for the evening.
SATURDAY NIGHT - IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
Saturday night is an immersive experience, described by Shaunette as, “a little bit different. A little bit extra.” Saturday night is titled, The Heart Beats Outside.
"It speaks to that life that is brought to us when we spend time in nature,” Shauneet said.
The digital installation was created by Dallas locals Lightware Labs.
"The Heart Beats Outside" is an immersive experience created by Lightware Labs in Dallas. Courtesy of Lightware Labs.
Taking place at Art Mission Oak Cliff, on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m., the immersive event blends music, film and discussion.
In the projecting mapping component, different locations will be shown on the theater wall. Shaunette explains the point is to “Take our audiences to different seascapes, landscapes, skyscapes.”
Attendees will experience places they may not have ever been.
“It’s fully sensory, all of the senses can tune in,” Shaunette said.
Cellist Ben Sollee performs Saturday evening. Courtesy of Ben Sollee.
In addition to short films that center around conversations on mental health, accessibility and different music styles, there will be performances by cellist and songwriter Ben Sollee.
Film guest and rock climber Timmy O’Neil will also join to discuss his short film Soundscape, which follows the rock climbing journey of his blind friend, Eric Weihenmayer.
Tickets for Saturday night can be found here, starting at $64.
SUNDAY HEADLINER - R&B SINGER DANIELLE PONDER
The conclusion of the festival takes place on Oct 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Kessler Theater.
This segment showcases successful R&B singer Danielle Ponder, who left her day job as a public defender to pursue her passion in music. Ponder’s music plays on the themes of bravery, speaking to her decision to make a leap of faith to start her musical career.
A "Well Worn Life" is one of the short films screening on Sunday evening. Courtesy of EarthX Film and Music Festival.
Sunday night also includes a series of short films. Daniel Reyes Acosta’s Well Worn Life, John Davies’s The Ghost Rainforest, Jason Whalen’s The Mud on Their Hands, and more short films will help close out this year's festival.
Tickets to the closing events can be found here, starting at $27.
EarthX Film and Music Festival
About: Three-evening event featuring environmentally themed films, live performers and an experiential installation.
When: Oct. 20 to 22, 2023
Tickets: Start at $25. Early bird discount through Oct. 19.
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