Planet in Focus Announces Opening and Closing Night Films

Theatre of Life
Courtesy of the NFB

By Pat Mullen

Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival has announced its Opening Night and Closing Night movies. PiF kicks off its 17th year with Peter Stavek’s Theatre of Life, which recently won the Tokyo Gotham Award at the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival. The film chronicles the efforts of top chef Massimo Bottura as he and a massive team at the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan create savory plates with ingredients pulled from the food taste of neighbouring pavilion tents. Chefs Jamie Kennedy and Joshna Maharaj will join Stavek at the premiere when Theatre of Life opens the festival at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on October 20.

PiF’s Closing Night selection is the world premiere of Emmanuel Hoss-Desmarais’s What Lies Below. The doc follows blind eco advocate Lawrence Gunther as he travels Canada’s waters and explores the devastating consequences to the environment. This visually compelling film draws parallels between the subject’s blindness and the damage to the environment that fails to garner attention because it is not immediately visible to the average Canadian. Hoss-Desmarais, who previously won the Canadian Screen Award’s Claude Jutra Award for Best First Feature for his black comedy Whitewash, will attend the screening with Gunther on October 23 at the HDTRC. Prior to the screening, internationally renowned filmmaker and explorer Alexandra Cousteau will be presented with her Planet in Focus 2016 Eco-Hero Award. The winners of the 2016 “Green Pitch” and Planet in Focus Film Awards will also be announced at the screening.

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