A “Reel” Concern: The Wild & Scenic Film Festival Returns to the Rogue Valley
Peek into the worlds of newts, German browns, ice sheets and grizzlies at the 7th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival “On Tour” on November 8. The night of short film, benefitting southern Oregon’s Rogue Riverkeeper, aims to entertain while encouraging activism toward preserving and protecting the natural environment and its resources.
An offshoot from KS Wild specializing in aquatic advocacy, Rogue Riverkeeper utilizes the Clean Water Act to oversee the health and preservation of clean water and fish populations throughout the Rogue River Basin’s 3.3 million acres of watershed.
In 2012 they partnered with California’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival Organization’s “On Tour” program, enabling them to host a festival of their own as a fundraiser and catalyst to spotlight their environmental missions.
“We’re seeing great challenges to the Clean Water Act right now,” states Sara Mosser, Rogue Riverkeeper Outreach Coordinator. “When regulations are loosened over our valuable resources we see negative impacts to our waterways, so we work to protect our natural resources before they get destroyed.”
The watchdog group also stands at the frontlines of the Jordan Cove LNG (liquid natural gas) Pipeline Project, a controversial proposal that has seen permit and denial processing and stirred reactions from southern Oregon residents for 14 years.
“It’s a major threat, crossing the Rogue River and its tributaries many times,” Mosser adds. “But community comes out in force over and over again saying very clearly that we do not want this pipeline to go through our area.”
Along with maintaining The Swim Guide website, publicizing water safety and quality test results at popular recreation areas, they also address polluted urban runoff, treated wastewater and suction dredge mining issues. Most recently, they joined with several local entities to help improve and maintain Bear Creek, a popular, inner-city tributary running through Jackson County before meeting the Rogue River.
“We’re looking at how storm water is managed and irrigation practices are impacting it, as well as enhancing the riparian barriers,” says Mosser. “Not just for recreation but for its beauty and the resource it is to our community. Right now it’s salmon season and there are fall Chinook coming back to spawn, which can be pretty shocking for an urban creek.”
This year’s film festival also celebrates their 10th year as regional water defenders, with special acknowledgements and celebrations during the festivities. Ten award-winning shorts have been selected offering an entertaining mix of funny, touching, politically relevant and water focused films.
Some of the picks include the short film Big World, which documents Eddie Bauer athlete and father, David Morton’s, endeavors to “unplug” his son, Thorne, and take him on a remote journey through Western Nepal’s remote river system on a paddleboard.
Getting beyond the effects of war, Vietnam veteran Doug Peacock journeyed into the wilderness of Montana and Wyoming backcountry and had a life-altering encounter with a giant grizzly. “When somebody does something great like that for you, you’re in debt…you pay it back,” he says. After immersing with and filming grizzlies for years, and then learning legislation was working to remove them from the Endangered Species Act, the soldier of war turned eco-warrior. His enthralling, original footage of the world of grizzly bears became the genesis for the short documentary, Grizzly Country, and his foundation Save the Yellowstone Grizzly.
Three Iraq War veterans return to its mountains in Adventure Not War, not to fight, but to heal and experience the culture and natural landscape of Iraq beyond its war-torn image.
The awe-struck exclamations of passersby looking through a giant, portable telescope in A New View of the Moon excite film-goers to see the moon like never before.
The festival doors open at 5 pm with music, beer and wine, food and a silent auction followed by screenings at 6:30 pm.
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
6:30 pm, Saturday, November 8
Ashland Historic Armory, 208 Oak Street, Ashland
$10 – $50