Planet in Focus Announces 2017 Winners


By Pat Mullen

Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival announced the winners for its 2017 festival. Chanda Chevannes’ Unfractured was the big winner of the fest having scooped the prize for Best Canadian Feature after kicking off Planet in Focus to a strong start as the festival’s opening night selection. The doc profiles committed activist, writer, and cancer survivor Dr. Sandra Steingraber as she fights against fracking and finds herself arrested in the name of her cause. Unfractured next plays New York’s prestigious DOC NYC festival where it is one of the few Canadian features in the line-up.

On the international front, the Chinese production Dream Empire, directed by David Borenstein, about the growing and increasingly perilous economy of development in the Asian nation won the award for Best International Feature. The Mark Haslam Award went to the Mexican feature El Remolino by Laura Herrero Garvín. This award acknowledges a film that draws attention to environmental issues in under-represented communities and is directed by a filmmaker connected to the community or country. Each of the evening’s award winners receives a $500 cash prize.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Best Canadian Feature​​​​​​: Unfractured, Chanda Chevannes

Best International Feature: Dream Empire, David Borenstein

Best International Short: Elk River, Jenny Nichols

Best Canadian Short ​​​: Fix and Release, Scott Dobson

Green Film Network Green Vision Award: 24 Snow, Mikhail Barynin

Green Film Network Green Cinema Award: Plastic China, Wang Jiuliang

Mark Haslam Award: El Remolino, Laura Herrero Garvín

Green Pitch Prize (worth over $35k in services & cash): Poison in Paradise, Exan Auyoung and Joanne Jackson
Honourable mention: Fight to Repair Scott Dobson

Please visit for more information on this year’s festival.