The Wild & Scenic Film Festival (WSFF), screening at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre on March 5, aims to create a space “where activism gets inspired”; it is the largest environmental film festival in North America. The group behind this festival, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL, pronounced “circle”), is California based organization that leads a range of river and watershed conservation programs. After kicking off in Nevada City in January each year, (WSFF) tours over 140 communities, and regards the environmental messages shared in its films as a “call to action”. With funding made available by Patagonia, the Whitehorse chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is bringing this film festival to Whitehorse for its debut this March. This event is a fundraiser to protect the Peel Watershed.
The nine films to be screened in Whitehorse have been hand selected by CPAWS, and films range from around two to 50 minutes in length. Amber Church, conservation campaigner at CPAWS and event organizer, has seen all of the films and says they’re “an awesome fit for the Yukon. All the films tie back to things happening in our territory, and will really inspire people to consider current issues here in the Yukon.”
The set of films slated for Whitehorse feature diverse stories from around the planet. Dryden – The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game tells of a small community in New York State that took a stand against fracking in the region. Common Ground features a community in Montana that must decide what to do with a tract of unprotected land, speaking to the immense complexity of land use planning processes.
The Little Things is an atypical sports movie about professional snowboarders who endeavour to showcase small actions that can contribute to the health of the earth. Pride of Namibia discusses tourism initiatives that “directly benefits the people who give wildlife the freedom to roam”.
Hitting closest to home is Headwaters of the Wild, which was created from last summer’s International League of Conservation Photographers’ trip (ILCP) into the Peel Watershed.
Established in 2005, the ILCP is a U.S. based non-profit organization whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. This is the newest film from National Geographic filmmaker Andy Maser, and will be premiered here. Photographers Peter Mather and Tomohiro Uemura took part in the trip, and will introduce the film.
The films will be screened at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre on Thursday March 5 beginning at 7:30. Tickets are $10 each, and are available at CPAWS Yukon (506 Steele St), or online at eventbrite.com/event/15658215143. Event sponsors such as Kleen Kanteen and Patagonia have provided door prizes, and a reliable source tells me that there are “several pounds of cliff bars” to be given away.