Tonight we focus on the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, which takes place in Nevada City, January 9-11. We talk with the festival director and founder, Kathy Dotson, and then with two of the filmmakers who will be in the festival: David Brown of a film about Dumpster Diving, I LOVE TRASH, and Annabella Funk, a third grade student who has made a film history of the Yuba River.

Listen to Ecotopia #14 Online Now!

This year’s will be the seventh annual festival, and the sponsors state:

“The Wild and Scenic Film Festival is a call to action….[F]ilmgoers are transformed into a congregation of committed activists, dedicated to saving our increasingly threatened planet. We show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. Through these films, Wild and Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action.”

Our purpose in this edition of Ecotopia is partly to promote the festival, which is an excellent event within our listening area, but also to look at the Ecotopian issues that filmmakers undertake and how film functions as a medium for spreading the word about important environmental issues and problems.

Our questions for Festival Director Kathy Dotson:

  • Please give us some details of the festival.
  • How many films will be shown?
  • How are films selected for the festival? Do you have a panel of judges?
  • How did you come to found the festival?
  • In what ways to you see film as an effective medium for promoting environmental causes?
  • What else would you like to tell us about the festival?

Our conversation with David Brown, creator of I LOVE TRASH.

Synopsis: Two rules: purchase nothing for 3 months and live off only the things and food found in the trash. This dumpster diving experiment reveals much about our society.

Questions for David:

  • Please tell us more about this film.
  • What motivated you to make this film?
  • How did you find your subject?
  • Who did the dumpster diving?
  • What did the film reveal about our society?
  • What’s your background as an environmentalist and filmmaker?
  • What particular problems or opportunities did making this film present?
  • What do you hope is the effect?  How does film differ from other media?

Our conversation with Annabella Funk, creator of “Journey of the Yuba”

Synopsis:  This family-oriented history of the Yuba, written and directed by a third-grade girl, tells the story of both the challenges and beauty of the river. Winner of the Student Filmmaker Award.

Questions for Annabella:

  • Where do you go to school?
  • What got you started in making a film?
  • Why did you choose the Yuba?
  • How did you actually make the film? What parts of the Yuba did you visit?  How did you research the film?
  • What equipment did you use? How did you edit the film?
  • What do you hope your film will accomplish?

Resources on Environmental Films and Filmmaking

  • Probably after listening to this program, you have an overwhelming urge to make a film yourself!  Fortunately, with digital cameras and home computers, we can all become filmmakers if we’d like, and there are plenty of places to show your film, such as You Tube. A good info source is: The Complete Eejit’s Guide to Filmmaking     You’ll find ideas on all aspects of the filmmaking process, plus tips for making low budget films using a digital camera plus editing software on your home computer.
  • We also want to tell you about Green Planet Films, a nonprofit distributor of nature and environmental films from around the globe. They promote environmental education through film and believe the power of film can be an instrumental catalyst to awareness, education, and change. In 2004 they obtained nonprofit status. Since then they have been growing their selection of DVDs and promoting them to those who wish to educate themselves or others on the important environmental topics of our time.  Check the website for a list of their many great films.

Playlist for Ecotopia #14

  • Let’s Go To The Movies      4:42    Aileen Quinn; Albert Finney;Ann Reinking;Chorus     Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Annie                                 
  • Let’s Make a Movie  2:57    Ratcliff Bailey           Deuce           
  • Fresh-Garbage (Album Version)  3:13    Spirit   Spirit                                      
  • Proud Mary   5:27    Tina Turner   All The Best                         
  • Cool, Cool River       3:56    Paul Simon   Rhythm Of The Saints                               
  • Weave Me the Sunshine   4:28    Peter, Paul And Mary          The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary