The eighth annual Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Arts Festival aims to educate the local community about environmental issues through the four-day festival, which will feature 45 films.

The festival will take place starting today and running until Sunday at the Hippodrome State Theatre, located at 25 SE 2nd Place.

Trish Riley, the founder of Cinema Verde, said she doesn’t believe environmental issues are political or religious, but are health and safety issues.

“We’re at a certain time in our political history where environmental issues are marginalized,” Riley said. “It’s important to get past the marginalization of these issues because everyone’s health depends on it.”

Riley doesn’t choose films for the festival based on professionalism, but said she chooses films based on issues that aren’t being talked about.

“Sometimes I honestly do choose the ones that are more like home movies,” Riley said. “But it’s because they’re talking about an issue that no one else has addressed but I know is important and I want the audience to know about it.”

Cinema Verde is less a filmmaker’s festival and more of an environmental festival, Riley said.

Films that will be screened at the festival are as short as two minutes to as long as two hours.

Some of the films might involve the environment in different ways than the viewer would anticipate.

“Resilience” is a film about the toxic stress children are susceptible to and how researchers are working to combat this stress through field-tested therapies.

“We need to have healthy lives,” Riley said. “The bad effects of stress on our health starts as babies.”

Peace4Gainesville has organized a discussion on “Resilience” through the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding. The discussion will immediately follow the screening Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

An EcoFair will also be taking place Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Sun Center Plaza adjacent to the Hippodrome.

“There’s about a dozen tables signed up for Saturday or Sunday,” said Peggy Nieman, a volunteer who has been with Cinema Verde since the start.

The Alachua County Humane Society will be there Saturday with adoptable dogs, said Veronica Quesenberry, an intern with Cinema Verde.

“It takes grants to be able to do this thing, we don’t make money off of it,” Riley said. “We won’t sell enough seats in there to pay rent for the theater. But we do it because it matters.”

Blocks will be arranged that are each about two hours long. If you don’t want to purchase a ticket for the entire four days, you can purchase individual passes for each block. Blocks and movie descriptions can be found at schedule.cinemaverde.org.

VIP tickets are available online at cinemaverde.org for $125. VIP tickets include entrance to all 22 film blocks and the VIP reception party today at 7 p.m. Single tickets to film blocks are available for $10.

“Students could come here to see films and still finish in time to go out,” said Alycin Hayes, a volunteer with Cinema Verde. “Nobody goes till 11 p.m.”