The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies last week hosted the 10th iteration of its popular annual film festival, Environmental Film Festival at Yale, known colloquially as EFFY.

EFFY, an entirely student-run event, ran Wednesday through Saturday and featured films covering topics ranging from Standing Rock to radioactive sludge. Interspersed among the feature presentations were short films that delved into more specific material. The festival kicked off with a gala on Wednesday, followed by a screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” a follow-up to the 2006 smash-hit documentary about former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental activism.

Hundreds attended the festival over the course of its four-day run, with the final showing overfilling the 240-person-capacity Whitney Humanities Center auditorium. Each film was followed by a panel discussion that included academics, filmmakers and experts from the numerous fields covered by the festival.

“I think that film is a really powerful way to bring people into these environmental and social narratives,” said Elise Gilchrist FES ’19, one of the organizers of the event. “It’s a way to see an issue that you might not be familiar with in a way that can be so much more impactful and stay with you longer than reading a headline or listening to a lecture.”

According to Gilchrist, the event attracts both Yale affiliates and the broader Connecticut community. While the festival tends to showcase similar overarching social and environmental themes, Gilchrist said, each year’s iteration has a “different flavor and a different feel to it.”

Jill Martin GRD ’90 and Kathleen Cooney attended the 2018 festival to see “WASTED! The Story of Food Waste,” a documentary that explores how society can reduce waste by changing the way we think about food — including by eating chicken feet. Both Cooney and Martin work in a food kitchen that tries to limit food waste as much as possible, Martin said. However, Cooney added, she had never really thought about the amount of food wasted at every level of the process through which it goes from farms to consumers.

“I buy these beautiful carrots that have this great greenery on the top that I just throw out,” Cooney said. “Now I’m thinking I should try to use that greenery in some other way.”

Maja Duszkiewicz, a Yale employee who has been attending the festival for a few years, echoed those sentiments, saying the films she has seen at the festival have been both entertaining and informational. Most important, she continued, the films provide sources and tools that could help people make actual changes in their lives.

In addition to the films, the festival also hosted a brief food symposium on Saturday that featured local organizations and businesses, including Brew Haven, Miya’s Sushi and the new York Street shop Moon Cookies.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that in the U.S. between 30 and 40 percent of the national food supply is wasted.

Maya Chandra |