The 13th Annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival kicked off tonight with the world premiere of Lost Rivers at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In attendance for the introduction and Q & A following the sold-out screening were director Caroline Bâcle, producer Katerina Soukup, and several members of the crew and cast. The film documents the history of buried rivers and shows the environmental benefits of "daylighting", unearthing and returning these rivers to their previous functions. Over the course of three years, the filmmakers followed "drainers" in Brescia, Italy, London, England, Soel, Korea, Yonkers, USA, and Toronto and Montreal, Canada. "Drainers", so-called because they actively and often times, illegally, pry open manhole covers to explore underground river drains and sewers, are unsung navigators and keepers of history. Only in Brescia, Italy have drainers been legally acknowledged for their mapping of ancient waterways and legitimized by the city as a historic society.
The beauty of this documentary is the appeal it has to armchair explorers as well as the more adventurous among us who may be inspired to become "drainers" in their own cities. The film will also be of interest to the history buff as well as the average urbanite who would love an oasis of natural calm in the middle of the city. As one person in the documentary points out, with so many children now living in cities, where are the future scientists and environmentalist to come from, if they can't reach out easily and interact with nature? With an original score that perfectly complements the theme and vision of the film, Lost Rivers is an offering of hope for future urban and social development, and a must-see for politicians of all levels for solutions to crumbling infrastructure.
Regular Screenings: $12
Student/Senior (with ID): $10
Closing Night Gala (includes film and party): $22
Packages also available. Check website/call for details