The Evanston Environmental Association’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival will showcase 18 of the world’s most inspiring environmental films on Feb. 5 and 19 at the Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. Screenings begin at 7 p.m.; general admission is $7 each night; EEA members receive one free ticket. Registration and tickets are available at evanstonenvironment.org/filmfest.html or by calling the Ecology Center, 847-448-8256, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
This year’s short films have something for everybody, such as stories about ordinary people who risk their lives to protect the Earth, a lighthearted history of bicycling and a man’s poignant goodbye to his dog.
“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,” she added.
Feb. 5 Films
“Fable of the Wolf” (3 min.): 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 min.): A campfire discussion at Yosemite National Park about improving diversity in wild spaces.
“AINA: That Which Feeds Us” (23 min.): The best-kept secret on Kauai is not a secluded beach or surf spot. It is 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 min.): 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 min.):
Everyone loves a good cup of Joe. This film shows the fight to protect one of the world’s most economically valuable crops, now threatened by climate change.
“Filtering A Plastic Ocean” (6 min.): Toxic microplastics have a devastating effect on our oceans and our health. But one researcher invented a simple tool that shows how easily everyone can participate in cleaning up local beaches and the ocean.
“One Woman Roadblock” (5 min.): Marilyn Baptiste stood in front of an oncoming truck to save her home from environmental destruction. This former tribal chief defeated opposed gold and copper mines that would have destroyed Fish Lake, a source of spiritual identity and livelihood for her people.
“Emerald Waters” (8 min.): Viewers will 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 min.): 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,” she says.
Feb. 19 Films
“An Education, A Father/Daughter Trip of Discovery” (9 min.): National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki tackled his 58th expedition with his 11-year-old daughter, Lilliana.
“Comes with Baggage” (18 min.): 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 where bicycles can take riders both physically and spiritually. Viewers might get the urge to quit their jobs, sell their possessions, and escape on a bike.
“Denali” (8 min.): This short film, the story of the relationship between photographer Ben Moon and his beloved dog, Denali, is about friendship, loss and the beautiful fight for life.
“Parker’s 50 Favorite Things” (3 min.): What’s so great about a river? Viewers will watch Parker run, jump, and stumble as he explores nature and lists his 50 favorite things about a river.
“Invisible Ocean” (9 min.): 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, Ms. Haseltine finds an unsettling presence in samples of plankton she collected.
“A Dam Problem” (6 min.): 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 min.): 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 min.): 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 min.): 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.
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 Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival is a production of the South Yuba River Citizens League, and receives support from the following national sponsors: Patagonia, CLIF Bar & Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Klean Kanteen, Orion Magazine, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and Earthjustice. Patagonia’s Chicago store and The North Face in Evanston are local sponsors.