The Vashon Maury Island Land Trust will present the first annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Where Activism Gets Inspired, at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Vashon Theatre.
The feature film, “The Elwa Undammed: What’s A River For?” documents the largest publicly-financed dam removal in American history, which took place on the Elwah River in Port Angeles.
The story of the Elwa Dam began a century ago when Canadian businessman Thomas Aldwell bought land along the Elwa River and eventually gained financing to build the dam in 1910. In doing so, he dammed the waters of the Klallam people, and 98 percent of the fish population, including 100-pound salmon, declined over the past 100 years. A press release stated that “behind the dynamite and bulldozers that erased Thomas Aldwell’s dream is a saga of competing ideas about the purpose and meaning of a river.”
Eight other short films about the environment will also be shown, including “Elk River,” which blends science and art to capture the migration of elk in Yellowstone National Park and mirrors a similar expedition in 1871. The film won a 2017 award for the “most inspired adventure film.”
“‘Elk River’ is a stunning film,” said Erika Carlton, Land Trust consulting development director. “The whole festival is a blend of serious and fun films focused on being outdoors, with beautiful photography and videography.
The last film will remind viewers of the joy of Northwest rivers. “Parker’s Top 50 Favorite Things About Northwest Rivers” celebrates the best aspects of regional rivers from a child’s perspective.
“From sun to rain to waterfalls to wild salmon to time with Mom, it’s the rivers that make the Northwest such a special place,” the festival press release stated.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is the largest environmental film festival in North America, partnering with more than 160 environmental groups, nature centers, nonprofits, museums and universities to host events across the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Saturday’s event will benefit the Land Trust. Ticket sales will pay for film rights and the theatre. Dollars raised above those costs will directly benefit island conservation.
Tickets, sold at the box office or vashonlandtrust.org, are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for ages 8 and under.