Film festival at ecology center

The Evanston Environmental Association’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival will showcase 18 environmental films, from stories about ordinary people who risk their lives to protect the Earth, to a lighthearted history of bicycling, to a man’s poignant goodbye to his dog.

The EEA, the independent nonprofit organization that supports the Evanston Ecology Center, is the Chicago area’s sole presenter of selections from the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the nation’s largest environmental film festival. The 2016 festival, which will feature different films each night, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Feb. 5 and 19, at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd.

General admission is $7 each night.  Individual EEA members are entitled to one free ticket, with all additional tickets priced at $7. All other EEA membership types (Family, Contributing, Sustaining, Not-for-profit and Lifetime) are entitled to one free ticket, with all additional tickets priced at $5.

Tickets are available online.

“Some of this year’s films will make you laugh, and some will make you cry — but all of them will inspire you,” EEA Board Secretary Karen Taira said. “These films are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things — even risking their lives — to protect the environment. We hope the Wild & Scenic Film Festival inspires people to take action in their own communities.”  

The films range in length from three to 23 minutes:

Feb. 5 Films

  • Fable of the Wolf (3 minutes): A long time ago wolves and men hunted together, but over time this relationship changed. This animated short explores the relationship between wolf and man and how that affects wild ecosystems.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Our Wild Spaces (8 minutes): Take a seat at a campfire discussion at Yosemite National Park about improving diversity in our wild spaces.
  • AINA: That Which Feeds Us (23 minutes): The best-kept secret on Kauai  isn’t a secluded beach or surf spot. It’s that four of the world’s largest chemical companies use this Hawaiian island for open-air testing of pesticides on genetically modified crops.
  • Rabbit Island (6 minutes): Beautiful photography highlights this film about artists who find inspiration on a Lake Superior island.
  • Kew Gardens: Beyond the Gardens—The Forgotten Home of Coffee (6 minutes): Don’t we all love a good cup of Joe? Learn about the fight to protect one of the world’s most economically valuable crops, now threatened by Climate Change.
  • Filtering A Plastic Ocean (6 minutes): Toxic microplastics have a devastating effect on our oceans and our health. But one researcher invented a simple tool that shows how easily we can all participate in cleaning up our local beaches, and the ocean.
  • One Woman Roadblock (5 minutes): Could you stand in front of an oncoming truck to save your home from environmental destruction? Marilyn Baptiste did. See how this former tribal chief defeated proposed gold and copper mines that would have destroyed Fish Lake—a source of spiritual identity and livelihood for her people.
  • Emerald Waters (8 minutes): Explore southwest Oregon’s remote and rugged Kalmiopsis region, home to some of the nation’s most iconic rivers. Now those rivers are threatened by industrial strip mining. “This should be a no-brainer, you know,” says one river lover. “This is our mission. We have to protect these rivers.”
  • Mother of All Rivers (9 minutes): Berta Cáceres risked death to rally her indigenous Lenca people to stop a dam in Honduras. “We are only human, so of course we do have real fears, but that doesn’t mean we are going to be paralyzed by it,” says Berta.

Feb. 19 Films 

  • An Education, A Father/Daughter Trip of Discovery (9 minutes): Hey dads, how about taking your kids on a trip to Antarctica? National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki tackled his 58th expedition with his 11 year old daughter, Lilliana. She battled sea sickness, skied in Antarctica, and got up close and personal with penguins.
  • Comes with Baggage (18 minutes): Evanston biking enthusiasts will love this lighthearted history of bicycle travel in the Americas. Enhanced with historical footage and interviews with bike pioneers, this short film shows you where bicycles can take you both physically and spiritually. You might get the urge to quit your job, sell all your possessions, and escape on a bike.
  • Denali (8 minutes): How do you say goodbye to your best friend? Denali is the story of the relationship between photographer Ben Moon and his beloved dog, Denali. This short film is about friendship, loss and the beautiful fight for life.
  • Parker's 50 Favorite Things (3 minutes): What’s so great about a river? Just ask this kid! Watch Parker run, jump, and stumble as he explores nature and lists his 50 favorite things about a river.
  • Invisible Ocean (9 minutes): Watch as sci-artist Mara Haseltine creates a beautiful, thought-provoking sculpture that reveals a microscopic threat beneath the surface of the ocean. During an expedition to study the health of the oceans, Haseltine finds an unsettling presence in samples of plankton she collected.
  • A Dam Problem (6 minutes): Positive change requires building successful relationships. Farmers and environmentalists patiently worked together to complete a successful dam removal project that benefited agriculture, fish and the surrounding ecosystem.
  • A Line in the Sand (5 minutes): When three power plants began to dump their waste, known as coal ash, on a rural community in Pennsylvania, they thought no one would notice. They were wrong. “The people in the world ain’t going to change things unless you make it happen,” says a retired coal miner who took action.
  • Dredging up a Solution (6 minutes): Narrated by Robert Redford, this short film shows how an amateur diver restored the marine ecosystem in Lamlash Bay by establishing the first community-developed Marine Protected Area in Scotland.
  • 36 Inches (7 minutes): Done by a self-described “recovering apathetic millennial,” this film tells the story of a controversial pipeline project in southern Oregon, and is an excellent primer on the natural gas industry, fracking and pipeline issues across the country.

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