The ongoing effort to educate the public about environmental issues, doesn't mean learning can't be fun. For the second year, the Patagonia Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival on Tour, sponsored by the Environmental Resource Center and the Elephant's Perch, will take place at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m. Raffles and refreshments will be available at 5:30 p.m.
"It gives people different outlooks on all facets of being environmentally friendly," said Elephant's Perch co-owner Kate Russo. "There is humor and good messages."
The film festival has a unique platform. The annual festival, held the second week of January in Nevada City, Calif., is the base for the traveling film festival, which allows presenters to choose films that resonate with their community.
"We get to make up our own film line-up," said ERC climate protection coordinator Kyle Livingston. "'Wild and Scenic' is its own group, and they encourage nonprofits all over the West. The idea is to get new members and the incentive is to use the 'Wild and Scenic' films."
Eight movies have been chosen from an award-winning list of independent films. The films will educate and inspire viewers around issues both local and global in scope. This year's festival will examine food production, energy sources, water usage and land conservation.
"It is nice to preview films and tailor the festival to this community," Russo said. "The films present issues we think the community would be excited about. And, we get to tie the festival with the Sustainability Conference, which goes through the weekend, and it makes sense with a lot of the ideas behind many of the films."
The slate of films include "Hybrid Pedal," a road movie that features environmentalists and road bikers who make a thousand-mile ride from Portland, Ore., to Salt Lake City, and along the way encounter wildlands in the western United States. Riders rode through seven threatened areas, including spots in the Wood River Valley.
Other films to be screened are "Ladies of the Land," which features four women who found farming, and "Oil and Water," which follows two kayakers on an endless road trip from Alaska to Argentina who used a retrofitted Japanese fire truck for the journey. The truck never used petroleum.
"Gimme Green" is a humorous look at American's obsession with lawns and the effect that has with the environment, economy and life. "I Love Mountains" is a short film about mountaintop mining in Appalachia.
The festival will end with "Land Out of Time." This film reveals how the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lease millions of acres to the gas and oil industry and issue tens of thousands of permits to drill for natural gas all over the West. Many wild places are being rendered into an industrial landscape. The film introduces audiences to the faces and unconventional partnerships behind the fight to save the landscapes of the West.
"We need stuff in the off season," Russo said. "We need reasons for people to get out and do something."
Tickets will be $10 each for ERC members and students 13 and up or $20 for a family package. For non-ERC members, tickets will be $15 each or $25 for a family package. Attendees may also join the Environmental Resource Center at the festival for $50 and get free tickets for the entire family. Tickets will be available for advance purchase at the Elephant's Perch and at the Environmental Resource Center. For details, call 726-4333.