Film festival kicks off with environmental thriller

The Telluride Mountainfilm festival is on tour in Savannah.

It focuses on films that inspire audiences about various issues. The opening film, “Racing Extinction,” focuses on saving species from being wiped off the planet.

Director Louis Psihoyos talked to News 3 Wednesday. He said the film is technically a documentary, but feels like a thriller.

He said the stakes are higher than most people realize.

“There’s been five major extinctions in the history of the planet,” said Psihoyos. “We’re going through a sixth one right now. It’s caused by one species: Us. We’re set to lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century.”

Psihoyos won the Oscar for a previous documentary called, “The Cove.”

For “Racing Extinction,” he said his team went undercover to expose some of the ways humans are threatening species.

He’s also behind the huge projections of wildlife that appeared on the Vatican and the Empire State Building recently. Both were efforts to raise awareness about extinction and some of those projections made it into the film.

“A normal Hollywood film is like a roller coaster ride. That’s the way I look at it. It’s like you go around and you do a bunch of loops and stuff and you come back and you’re in the same place,” said Psihoyos. “A film like ‘Racing Extinction’ you end up thinking quite differently. You come out of the movie hopefully feeling changed, like you want to do something.”

The film is part of a campaign called “Start With One Thing,” that’s geared toward encouraging everyone to do their part to save the planet.

The Mountainfilm festival continues Friday and Saturday at the Trustees Theater in downtown Savannah.

You can watch the trailer for “Racing Extinction” here. The movie is available on iTunes and Amazon.

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