Calvin hosts second Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The film Fire Followers even has a connection to Calvin.

Photo from Wild and Scenic. Fair Use.

The film “Fire Followers” even has a connection to Calvin.

For only the second time ever, Calvin University’s GEO department and SAO are putting on the Wild and Scenic Film Festival — a showcase of films that focus on environmental education and advocacy. Some of the films will feature outdoor adventures, but most of them revolve around the idea of inspiring viewers to do what they can to help protect our planet. 

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival began in California in 1983 by a group of grassroots activists who were determined to protect and raise awareness for the South Yuba River. Today, the festival has expanded from this original subject to the overall protection of wildlife in general. “A number of the films focus on subjects that we teach and research at Calvin,” said GEO professor James Skillen. 

Calvin also puts on the Banff Mountain Film Festival every spring, which celebrates mountain culture and a general love for the outdoors. “Those films are a mix of adventure films involving climbing, paddling, mountaineering, running, cycling as well as educational films about the mountain cultures of the world,” Skillen said. However, the Banff Mountain Festival has a narrower focus on mountain culture while the Wild and Scenic Festival promotes environmental advocacy in general. 

These short films are produced by independent filmmakers for those who enjoy the outdoors and anyone who’s interested in learning about and protecting the environment. 

Some of the past and current films involve topics and places Calvin has a direct tie to. “One of the films, ‘Fire Followers,’ is about a Park Service botanist that students volunteer with during a May interim lead by Ryan Rooks and myself every other year,” Skillen said. Taken from the off-campus interim site, students are given the opportunity to learn about the different perspectives of water by traveling by train from Chicago to Reno, Nevada. 

Taken from the Wild and Scenic Film Festival website, this year learn from natural history and conservation photographer, Clay Bolt, on why he focuses most of his work on the life on earth that is smaller than your finger in the film “Clay Bolt.” Hear about how a group of climbers band together after Hurricane Maria in “Climbing Out of Disaster.” Discover who started the forest fire that ultimately stranded hikers and forced people of a small community to come together and persevere through tough times in “Forest on Fire.” These are only three of the thirteen amazing films that will be shown at the festival this year. 

The festival will take place on Nov. 9 from 7-9:30 p.m. in the CFAC Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for Calvin students.