Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wild & Scenic Film Festival - Delancey Street Foundation Theater - 10/21/2009

review written by San Francisco Surfrider Member Christy O'Connell

I attended the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Wednesday night, held at the Delancey Center Foundation screening room on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The film festival was started by the South Yuba River Citizens League, SYRCL, a watershed advocacy group based in the Sierra foothills. The event was hosted by two Bay Area non-profits - International Rivers and the Women's Environmental Network. This film festival is the largest of it's kind in the United States. The festival travels from city to city so that a lot of people can see the films and hear their messages.

The Wednesday night San Francisco event was emceed by Michelle Chan, host of KPFA's radio program "Terra Verde." "Terra Verde" is a live public affairs program that investigates and analyzes environmental issues from a global perspective. The festival screened 11 films which varied from animation shorts to documentary style flicks.

The turnout was a variety of WEN members and pro-environment, Bay area folks. The Surfrider Foundation was one of five organizations co-sponsoring the event. (Our San Francisco Chapter's logo appeared in the film festival program.) Our table was shared with The Greywater Alliance.

I has the opportunity to learn more about greywater systems and how they can benefit homeowners. However, the purpose of the festival was to bring awareness to many topics covered by each film.

A few examples of flicks ranged from a clever animation about animals in the zoo, to how coal is ruining the Appalachian region of West Virginia's residents, pollution infecting the largest wetlands ecosystem in Puerto Rico, to one man's dutiful efforts to save the endangered Lora sea turtles from extinction.

This particular film, "Papa Tortuga" was extremely heart-warming. It followed Fernado from Tecolutla, Vera Cruz, Mexico on his daily chores of saving Lora sea turtle eggs from poachers and relocating them to safe nests til they are ready to hatch. He has a team of volunteers and has promoted his efforts through education. He invites local and distant school children to be a part of the annual release of 30, 000 baby sea turtles into the great big ocean.

photo: Children releasing the turtles

Check out the "Papa Tortuga" trailer --

It is quite remarkable to witness how one man's efforts have dramatically affected the life span of this ancient species of turtles.

photo: Papa Tortuga

It just goes to show you, that one person really can make a difference. Personally, I am going to follow-up on the mission and progress these films are promoting. They certainly have opened my eyes to environmental crises that are existing in a variety of national and international locations due to human consumerism.

Thanks to Karolo Aparicio of International Rivers who coordinated our Chapter's participation in the festival!

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