The Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust will present the second annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Vashon Theatre at noon Sunday.
Nine short films will be shown from a wide-ranging collection chosen by Land Trust staff as having significance to islanders. Subject matter in the movies range from the story of an all-female group of adrenaline junkies to a battle against invasive plants, to one man’s efforts to regenerate the soil quality of his farm during severe drought.
“It’s trying to figure out what people on Vashon like, what they might relate to or what they might recognize as familiar, or have never thought about,” said Development Director Erika Carleton. “So we’re trying to do a little bit of everything.”
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, now in its 17th year, is hosted annually in the historic towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley, California. Organizers offer a selection of films to be shown on tour in communities and cities both nationally and internationally, and today partner with environmental groups, nonprofits, museums and universities for local screenings and events.
The timely film “Wildlife and the Wall” will take Vashon audiences to southwest Texas for a close examination of the array of life that depends on migratory pathways and open access to mountain ranges, deserts and the Rio Grande. Filmmaker Ben Masters, said Carleton, explores over 1,200 miles of untouched landscapes from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico to examine the impact that border wall construction would have on the wildlife community there, which she noted is seldom, if ever, part of the dialogue. A feature-length version of the film will be released later this year.
Carleton said the film “Canis Lupus Colorado,” which chronicles the history and reintroduction of native gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains, has implications for many islanders concerned about their own environmental footprint.
“It’s really a story about how an ecological balance can be completely thrown out of whack when you remove that part of the system,” she said, noting that many of the films to be shown concern the relationship people have with nature — a theme that is relevant to the Land Trust’s own work on the island, such as growing produce at Matsuda Farm. “It’s always interesting to me to think about what an ecological balance looks like on Vashon. I love the way the story of wolves in Colorado gets you thinking about balance and an ecosystem.”
The legacy of Douglas Tompkins, conservationist and founder of The North Face activewear, is the subject of another film.
Carleton said Tompkins, who helped establish national parks in Chile and Argentina, embodied the values of preservationists everywhere and set an admirable example of what can be achieved when powerful people do the right thing. His longtime partner Kristine, former CEO of Patagonia Clothing, consulted a duo of cartographers during the production of another film in the festival, “The Nature of Maps,” as they explored lands the couple helped preserve together.
To Carleton, the film festival has all the makings of a perfect day out for islanders, who she said responded positively to the event last year.
“We decided to let it be, ‘Come watch movies on a Sunday afternoon,’ and we hope you will have learned something, thought of something, or become inspired by something you haven’t seen before. That’s the idea.”
Tickets are available for purchase at the door and online at bit.ly/2Rvm8Fd. All proceeds will benefit the Land Trust.