Get local news delivered straight to your phone
We can't make City Paper without you
The Environmental Film Festival isn’t exclusively about hugging trees and saving sea turtles. For its 20th anniversary, the fest has broadened its umbrella quite a bit, adding films about health and social issues to its usual repertoire. Two of today’s offerings are most unusual for the festival, particularly 5X Favela: Now By Ourselves, a collection of five vignettes about life in Rio de Janeiro’s slums. More compelling, however, is The Greater Good (pictured), a devastating if somewhat lopsided look at vaccines and whether they harm more than they help our children. Particularly under fire in Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro’s documentary is Gardasil, a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) that was fast-tracked to approval by the FDA and has been heavily advertised as a must-have shot for young girls to help protect them against cervical cancer. The face of the controversy is Gabi, a 15-year-old who saw the commercials and insisted that she get it. She did, and afterward the honor-roll cheerleader started having strokes and seizures, had to go on 40-some meds, and is often so tired she must use a wheelchair to get around her school. Gabi’s story is heartbreaking, and unfortunately hers is not the only—nor the worst—one.
The film shows at 6:30 p.m. at Family Health International, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. Free. The Environmental Film Festival runs March 13–25 at various venues. dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.