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Wild & Scenic film fest returns to Aspen

Aspen Times staff reportAspen, CO Colorado
Matt Fields-Johnson
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ASPEN – For the second annual Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Aspen, a local organization’s efforts will be featured on the big screen along with a selection of award-winning short documentaries.The Independence Pass Foundation will bring the touring festival to the Wheeler Opera House on Tuesday, Jan. 5. A slide show documenting the foundation’s work on Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen, will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by seven short documentaries that tackle subjects ranging from organic backyard farming to western range wars, and from threatened orangutans to the protection of the world’s largest marine reserve.The evening’s program will also feature the debut of a 10-minute video documenting two decades of restoration work on the pass, where the foundation has re-vegetated and shored up steep, eroded slopes and removed literally tons of old snow fencing that littered the fragile, high-alpine tundra near the pass summit. The video was produced in the fall, while the multi-year effort to remove the fencing was under way.The fencing was originally placed on the pass with the aim of compacting snow along it so it would melt more slowly in the spring, allowing for more water to be retained in reservoirs and aquifers. The material was left there when the project was abandoned.In addition to the film program, the evening will treat attendees to a shot at prizes donated by area businesses and individuals, including a pair of cross-country skis and two nights at the Hotel Jerome. Event proceeds benefit the foundation’s ongoing restoration work.The foundation received a $1,000 grant from Patagonia to aid in hosting the festival, with the goal of attracting new supporters. The foundation’s other, long-standing public fundraiser is the springtime Ride for the Pass – a bicycle ride/race up the pass before it opens to vehicular traffic for the summer.The film festival, presented and sponsored by Patagonia, will travel to 75 towns and cities around the country. Admission is $10 ($8 for students 18 and younger with ID), available online at http://www.aspenshowtickets.com and at the Wheeler and Ute Mountaineer in Aspen.

• I Love Trash by David Brown – Two rules: nothing purchased for three months; and living off of only the things, clothing, and food found in the trash. The dumpster diving experiment reveals much about our society. • American Outrage by Beth & George Gage – Carrie and Mary Dann are feisty elderly Western Shoshone sisters who have always grazed their livestock on the range outside their ranch in north central Nevada. That range is part of 60 million acres recognized by the U.S. as Western Shoshone land in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. In 1974, the U.S. sued the Dann sisters for trespassing on public land without a permit. Their dispute swept to the U.S. Supreme Court and eventually to the United Nations. The film examines why the U.S. would spend millions prosecuting and persecuting two elderly women grazing a few hundred horses and cows in a desolate desert (2009 Wild & Scenic honorable mention).• Homegrown Revolution by Jules Dervaes – In the midst of a densely urban setting in downtown Pasadena, radical change is taking root. For more than 20 years, the Dervaes family has transformed its home into an urban homestead. As a family, they harvest nearly three tons of organic food from their one-tenth acre garden while incorporating many back-to-basics practices, as well as solar energy and biodiesel. • Last Frontier: Conservation & Exploration in Papua New Guinea by Trip Jennings – New Britain Papua New Guinea is one of the last frontiers between the industrialized world and tribal village life. This film weaves the story of an epic kayaking expedition around the story of a culture, ecosystem and river on the brink of change. • Orangutan Foundation International by Channel G – As tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra are being logged, often illegally, and converted to palm oil plantations, orangutans in the wild are under threat of extinction. They are also extensively poached. Orangutan populations could be completely gone within five to 10 years. OFI’s care center and orphanage provides for more than 200 orangutans, in preparation for reintroducing them into the wild. • Paradise Found: The Phoenix Islands by Kate Raisz – In a remote corner of the Pacific, the nation of Kiribati has created the world’s largest marine reserve, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. The reserve covers 410,500 square kilometers and is home to thriving coral reefs and abundant sea life, including sharks and manta rays. “Paradise Found” follows scientific expeditions to these islands and the efforts of the people of Kiribati and the international environmental community to create the reserve. • Historia de Letrero by Alonso Alvarez Barreda – a stranger transforms the afternoon for another man with the stroke of the pen. Winner of the Short Film online competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.


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