Today marks the beginning of the sixth annual Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY), a weeklong showcase of environmental films organized by students at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Founded in 2008, EFFY is now the largest student-run environmental film festival in the world, according to Elizabeth Babalola FES ’14, co-director of EFFY. The festival uses films — most of which are documentaries and all of which are under a year old — to help raise awareness about environmental issues.
This year, EFFY’s coordinating team has added more activities to engage with audiences, Co-Director Lexi Tuddenham FES ’14 said. The festival will feature an outdoor block party to display the short films, a storytelling workshop for audience members interested in environmental filmmaking and a nature walk through New Haven.
The seven-day festival will include 10 feature films and 18 short films, including a world premiere. After each viewing, EFFY will sponsor a Q&A or panel session with a diverse array of experts, ranging from filmmakers to professors. Organizers interviewed said they hope these discussions can bring exploration of issues tackled by the films to the next level.
“I think this year the focus has really been on incredibly high quality, visually compelling films with the best storytelling,” Tuddenham said.
Co-Director Rebeka Ryvola FES ’14 said this year also marks a turning point in EFFY’s independence. In previous years, Richard Miron ’13 was involved in the festival’s planning, and though he still maintains a seat on EFFY’s board, this is the first year he has not been directly involved in programming, she said.
Though EFFY is a Yale-sponsored event, the festival has had a significant public draw in recent years. About 30 percent of attendees at previous festivals have been non-Yale affiliated New Haven residents, Tuddenham said.
Looking forward to this year’s festival and beyond, Tuddenham said EFFY hopes to maintain its public appeal while also fostering a stronger following within the Yale community, especially within Yale College. She added that EFFY also hopes to attract more high school students to its events.
Dean of Alumni and External Affairs at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Gordon Geballe, who advised the students who planned the first year of EFFY, said he has always been inspired by the event’s potential.
“At a place like Yale that has such strong humanities, it asks the question ‘Why we don’t ask more scientific questions using the humanities?’” he said.
Though Geballe said it is difficult to asses whether such a marriage between the humanities and the environmental sciences has proved successful, he said it has certainly enabled students involved in EFFY’s planning to think more deeply about the issues featured in the films.
The first film to be featured tonight will be “Il était une forêt.”