The 5th annual Tahoe Film Fest returns this week to Lake Tahoe featuring documentaries, award-winning environmental films and big Hollywood productions.

The four-day event takes place Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 5-8, at the Incline Village Cinema, Crystal Bay Club Casino Crown Room and Northstar Village Cinema.

The festival celebrates American independent films, new films from Latin America and also includes a filmmaker tribute.

All ticket proceeds go to benefit UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center that it will use for education programs for students around the lake and for campaigns to directly address environmental issues at Lake Tahoe, including single use plastics.

Several full length films, including Marriage Story, including stars Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, and Merrit Wever will be shown on opening night. The movie presents a snapshot into the reality of love, marriage and divorce. The film will be screened at Incline Village Cinema.

Also on opening night at the Crystal Bay Crown Room, Out of Bounds: An Epic Mountain Journey features Australian Olympian Torah Bright, freeskiing star Sammy Carlson and professional snowboarder and environmental activist, Jeremy Jones, on a journey through mountain ranges from Antarctica to Alaska.

During their adventure, they were fully immersed in nature, wildlife and the mountainous ecosystem.

“It was really cool to work with filmmakers that don’t traditionally make snowboard films,” Jones told the Tribune.

Jones is part of a major nonprofit climate advocacy group, POW: Protect our Winters.

POW reinforces the outdoor community to fight against climate change through legislation and education.

“Out of Bounds is a beautiful film that inspires people to get outside and protect the outdoors,” Jones said. “The film shows some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and how they are being affected.”

Jones explained that the film also shows the audience solutions which aligns with his work in advocating for solutions to climate change.

“There needs to be a united push for real change,” Jones said. “Push people to get out in nature so they fall in love with it.”

Jones will be at the screening for Out of Bounds at 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Crystal Bay Club Casino Crown Room.

Two more feature films to be shown include The Two Popes and Midway.

The Two Popes, with Anthony Hopkins and Johnathan Pryce, will delve into the foundations and dramatic changes in the catholic church and shows the power shift in the last 2,000 years.

The Two Popes will be the close the festival on Sunday at the Incline Village Cinema.

A special screening of Midway, a big budget World War II-era flick starring Woody Harrelson, Aaron Eckert, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore and Nick Jonas will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec.7, coinciding with Pearl Harbor’s day of remembrance.

Being in the midst of nature, Lake Tahoe has become the ideal place for leaders in environmental stewardship.

With several organizations dedicated to protecting the lake, Tahoe’s environment ignites passion to protect the land.

The fest highlights environmental films that show the drastic and harmful impacts from microplastics, annihilation of endangered species, the struggle of the honeybees, protecting ecosystems and the major impact of factory farming.

Festival directors chose specific films to engage and educate new generations while celebrating environmental achievements.

UC Davis TERC is committed to the research of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and is made of scientists from around the globe that work to improve the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The proceeds support science education and research and will help keep TERC in Incline Village running to provide science-based education programs for over 14,000 locals and visitors annually.

“UC Davis is especially excited about sharing the film, The Story of Plastic, because we are conducting microplastic research at Lake Tahoe and planning for a plastic pollution reduction campaign in collaboration with the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association and Sierra Watershed Education Partnership non-profits,” Heather Segale, education and outreach director for TERC, told the Tribune.

The story of plastic pollution is particularly timely and important to start a community dialogue

“It is a big eye opener about recycling,” Segale said.

TERC hosts education programs for students from third grade to college.

In 2020, TERC will launch a plastic reduction program.

Working with local businesses, TERC will push for alternatives to plastic water bottles while educating about microplastics and the problem with recycling. Segale explained that the best solution is to use reusables and refillable bottles.

“We have some of the best water in the world,” Segale said.

TERC will be partnering with Take Care Tahoe, Drink Tahoe Tap, and the Tahoe Fund to promote water refilling stations and souvenir water bottles.

“Right to Harm is another film about how big corporations can come in and ruin water and air forcing people leave,” Segale said.

Other films to be screened include Sea of Shadows, Eating Animals, Pollinators, The Condor & The Eagle, The Map to Paradise, Artifishal, The River and the Wall, The Need to Grow, Honeyland, and N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear.

Music documentaries include Echo in the Canyon, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, David Crosby: Remember My Name and Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?

Individual tickets are available pre-sale or at the door for $12.

An all access pass is $75 and will give attendees access to unlimited films and VIP events held at Crystal Bay.