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  1. Life & Culture

Eckerd College brings back free series of award-winning films

The International Cinema Series and environmental film festival screen important movies and documentaries in St. Petersburg.

One of the relatively hidden gems of Tampa Bay movie culture is the International Cinema Series at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, as well as the college’s environmental film festival that features documentaries and work from student and emerging filmmakers.

Best of all, the movies are free and open to the public in the Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium on the campus at 4200 54th Ave. S.

Founded by professor Nathan Andersen, the international film series goes beyond art house and multiplex programming to bring some of the world’s most obscure yet important independent cinema. The environmental film festival, called Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature, is in its 22nd year of presenting flicks from around the globe and workshops designed to nurture filmmakers on the topic.

This year’s lineups for the two screening events include the critical darling and Oscar-nominated Parasite, which has now reached capacity, and Sea of Shadows, an investigation into the plight of the most endangered cetacean in the world.

Take a peek at the schedules:

International Cinema Series

The Chambermaid (2018): Directed by Lila Avilés, the film is set entirely in a deluxe hotel. Mexico’s entry into the 92nd Academy Awards follows a chambermaid as she attempts to rise through hard work and dedication to duty. Along the way, the movie inextricably draws the spectator into the world of the often invisible, yet always on display, working class of the modern service industry. Spanish with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Feb. 14.

Ága (2018): In this meditative and revelatory flick directed by Milko Lazarov, the elderly, indigenous Nanook and his wife attempt to live day by day on the frozen tundra in harmony with a world increasingly thrown out of balance. Co-presented with Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature. Yakut with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Feb. 21.

The Freshman (1925): Sam Taylor and Fred Newmeyer direct the silent era’s popular slapstick comedy about a naive college student, played by Harold Lloyd, who learns that he must fit in to stand out. Featuring a post-film discussion with Dr. Christina Petersen, author of The Freshman: Comedy and Masculinity in 1920s Film and Youth Culture. Silent with intertitles. 7 p.m. March 6.

The series continues through spring with Pain and Glory (March 27), Suburban Birds (April 3), Maiden (April 17), a film to be announced (April 24) and A Hidden Life (May 1).

Antonio Banderas, left, and Julieta Serrano in a scene from "Pain and Glory." [ Manolo Pavón/Sony Pictures Classics via AP ]

Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival

Sea of Shadows (2019): Through an investigation into the plight of the vaquita, the world’s most endangered cetacean (of which only 15 are known to still survive), this documentary illuminates the dual role of technology — nets, drones, moving images — to help and hinder efforts to save the species from exploitation by organized crime. Featuring an introduction and post-film discussion with Eckerd graduates and members of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Team, Aaron Barleycorn and Jason Allen, about their work with the vaquita rescue effort. 7 p.m. Feb. 25.

Honeyland (2019): Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, the observational documentary about a Turkish beekeeper in Macedonia unfolds like a fictional portrait of a lifestyle on the wane. When a young family moves to the small hive-like community, they disturb the local ecosystem as much as local tradition. Honeyland won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars. Featuring an introduction and post-film discussion with film studies professor Nick Corrao. Macedonian, Turkish and Bosnian with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Feb. 26.

"Honeyland" stars Hatidze Muratova. [ Neon via AP ]

The Green Lie (2018): In this participant documentary, filmmaker Werner Boote goes on the road with a green advocate to investigate the little “green lies” we tell ourselves about sustainable consumerism. Featuring an introduction and post-film discussion with environmental studies professor Joanna Huxster. German with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Feb. 27.

The River and the Wall (2019): Worlds collide when two filmmakers, one river guide, one conservationist and one field ornithologist travel the length of the U.S.-Mexico border to consider the ecological effects of building a border wall. Immersive and engaging, the documentary explores the environmental side of a political issue. Featuring an introduction and post-film discussion with producer Hillary Pierce. 7 p.m. Feb. 28.

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018): Research has confirmed that we have now entered the Anthropocene, an epoch in which human activities create change in the environment on a scale greater than all other natural processes combined. Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, this wide-ranging documentary focuses on the reality of the new era from across the globe, from intimate changes to massive transformations. Featuring an introduction and post-film discussion with Baichwal. 7 p.m. Feb. 29.

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