Cinema Verde showcases environmental issues through film

Posted by Lee Nielsen, November 5, 2015

Trish Riley, founder of Cinema Verde, hosts an environmental film festival with the mission to educate the public about environmental issues through film, art, workshops, events and tours.

The next festival will be held Feb. 11 through Feb. 14, 2016 and the tickets are a suggested donation of $10 per event.  There are monthly screenings of films through Green Drinks Meets Cinema Verde, which is held every first Wednesday of each month, with the same suggested donation price.

“I want to open the eyes of people who don’t know about these issues, and since there are so many changes happening and sometimes faulty science I want to get the right message out,” Riley said.

Riley is very passionate and determined about spreading the news of environmental issues and creating awareness among the community and worldwide.  When visiting San Francisco to speak at a green business conference, she noticed all the environmental films playing locally and realized that she might be able to help bring such films to Gainesville.

Cinema Verde is a four-day film and arts festival featuring films, music and food, with monthly screenings through the year.  In the past, they have shown up to 43 films over a four-day period; this year, Riley said that she wants to keep the number of films low and hold separate events.

“I try to choose films that tell an important story in a truthful and verifiable way,” Riley said.

There are many pressing environmental issues that the festival focuses on and Riley makes sure to have films that address all issues of sustainability.

“Cinema Verde focuses on all the issues of sustainability each year, but we always have something that seems to be a leader issue.  This year it will be animals,” Riley said.

Riley relies on a staff of interns and volunteers to assist her with the planning for the festival.  Sara Ramadan, a former intern and UF graduate, worked for Cinema Verde for two years as a public relations and film intern.

“I have always been very environmentally cautious, so interning at Cinema Verde was something that I jumped at the chance to do,” Ramadan said.

As an intern, Ramadan worked on a variety of different tasks to assist with the festival.  She coordinated between directors and helped to track film submissions and merchandise.

The interns work very closely with Riley to accomplish the goals of Cinema Verde, but the organization still requires a lot of support and funding for their projects from outside benefactors.

“I love Gainesville because there are a variety of sustainable businesses who can all help and depend on each other,” Riley said.

Although the planning of the festival mainly comes from the Gainesville community, people submit films from all over the world to be included in the event.

The festival can be an eye-opening experience for many people and requires the community and professional support to continue to make an impact.

As an animal and nature lover Jenna Wysk, a senior at UF, is looking forward to attending the next festival, which will be geared toward animal issues.

“I have never been able attend in the past, so I am really excited to see the types of films they will be showing and learn more about sustainability and animal issues,” Wysk said.

For more information about the festival, upcoming events and about buying tickets visit  Follow us on twitter @CinemaVerdeFest and “like” us on Facebook at

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