Evanston Ecology Center hosts annual film festival

Alice Yin, Reporter

On Friday, visitors to the Evanston Ecology Center’s opening night of the third annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival will be able to see the rivers and jungles of the earth through the lenses of some of the world’s best environmental filmmakers.

Kicking off last month in Nevada City, Calif., the festival will travel across the country to coordinate with the Evanston Environmental Association, with its first showing this Friday and a second showing Feb. 21. The committee selected 19 films on issues ranging from environmental justice to nature and adventure.

“The films run the gamut,” said Jim Chilsen, board member of the Evanston Environmental Association and an event committee member. “There are films that will make you cry, ones that will make you angry and ones that will make you laugh.”

A six-person committee led by the Evanston Ecology Center’s Program Manager Claire Alden coordinated the event. Alden said the most difficult task was cutting down the films into a final list that they wanted people to see.

“A Boom With No Boundaries,”a five-minute film on hydraulic fracking, bears much local significance. Last summer, a state law passed tightening regulations on fracking in southern Illinois, a method of extracting oil by using pressurized fluid to force fractures in a layer of rock. 

Other films, such as “TEAM network: Badru’s Story,” cover subjects as far from Evanston as Uganda.

“The Joy of Air,” directed by Bryan Smith, Fitz Cahall and Tim Loubier, strays from heavy themes. Described by Cahall as “an ode to catching air,” the project is a carefree poem put to film.

“I just had a brand new son, and that language, that rhythm, that rhyme of kids’ books was stuck in my head,” Cahall said. “So why not write a poem on how that childlike wonder can still be in adults who are passionate about spending time outdoors?”

“Who Rules the Earth?” written and directed by Harvey Mudd College Prof. Paul Steinberg, is a film animated by eleven students from the California Institute of the Arts. It aims to convey the importance of political change in sustainability.

“It is a great privilege to be in the film festival,” Steinberg said. “It’s a wonderful thing that they bring together activism and entertainment.”

In the past, the festival has always filled the room to its 100-person capacity. As of Monday, 40 of those tickets were already reserved for the first night.

“It’s popcorn with substance. It’s film that entertains and makes you think,” Chilsen said. “It takes your breath away.”

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