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Film festival aims to promote awareness of wildlife, environment
by Cortney Maddock
Oct 28, 2009 | 1167 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy graphic - This quirky main character of the short film “Zoologic” is a gorilla who challenges the fussy zookeeper’s perspective on who watches who at the zoo.
Courtesy graphic - This quirky main character of the short film “Zoologic” is a gorilla who challenges the fussy zookeeper’s perspective on who watches who at the zoo.
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Nature conservation group the Nevada Wilderness Project will step indoors Wednesday to show seven independent films all creatively aimed at bringing awareness to environmental and wildlife issues.

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival will be held at 7 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“It came about for two reasons, the first is it seemed like a natural fit for our organization,” said Charlotte Overby, communications director for the Nevada Wilderness Project. “Many of the films deal with conservation, wildlife issues and environmental issues. The second reason is it is the Nevada Wilderness Project’s 10th birthday. Having a film festival seems like a great way to celebrate a birthday.”

The Nevada Wilderness Project’s goals are to protect public lands, create open spaces and promote nature conservation and the films were chosen to further those goals.

“We choose films that are reflective about what we as an organization do in terms of conservation around the state,” Overby said.

The films picked include, “Division Street,” “Papa Tortuga,” “Homegrown Revolution,” “Zoologic,” “Historia de un Letrero,” “Fridays at the Farm” and “Maybe.” The films range in length, with “Division Street” by filmmaker Eric Bendick being the longest with a run time of 54 minutes and “Maybe” by filmmaker Sam Chou being the shortest at two minutes long.

“Historia de un Letrero” won the short film online competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in France.

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival has already made a stop in Las Vegas and although Overby said the Las Vegas audience was undoubtly different from the audience that will be at the Reno festival, the films were picked with both locations in mind.

“We get to review the films and select films that we believe our audience would like,” Overby said. “It’s really cool, we get to show them films to inspire conservation and the community (and) we also get to show them what the NWP is about.”

The films “Friday at the Farm” and “Homegrown Revolution” address food production by looking at how organic foods are grown as well as people who choose to grow their own gardens.

“ ‘Friday at the Farm’ ... is beautifully shot and filmed,” Overby said.

The film “Division Street” looks at transportation’s impact on wilderness areas and the environment while on a cross country road trip. “Papa Tortuga” sheds light on saving endangered animals whose habitats are disappearing. “Zoologic” takes an animated approach to dissecting the daily routine and “Maybe” asks and explores the question “What are we afraid of?” in our ever-changing world.

Overby said all the films bring something unique and interesting to the table and should make audiences think. In addition to exploring homegrown organic food, “Homegrown Revolution” also explores renewable energy, which Overby said is important to the Nevada Wilderness Project.

“You really do have to weigh many factors,” Overby said. “Think about renewable energy, like large-scale solar energy projects. We all want renewable energy but it also affects land and habitat. Our organization wants to support renewable energy but as long as it’s smart from the start.

“We want to make sure they are developed in the right place and make sure that wildlife conservation happens at the same time,” Overby added.

In addition to viewing handpicked independent films, audience members will be able to buy raffle tickets to win prizes. Overby said there will be a pair of Black Diamond skis available as well as other goodies. Raffle tickets are one for $2 or three for $5.

Overby said she hopes people leave the film festival with ideas about how to get involved in the community.

“We hope they’re inspired to get involved in conservation in Reno and in their community,” Overby said. “The films are super inspiring. We also hope that they learn more about us, and have a lot of fun. The films are fun.”

Tickets to the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Student tickets are $8 with a valid school ID. Tickets can be purchased at www.wildnevada.org or by calling 746-7851.

The film festival begins at 7 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union at UNR, located at 1664 N. Virginia St. in Reno.
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