Chuck Jaffee: Wrapping up reviews for the Wild & Scenic Film Fest |

Chuck Jaffee: Wrapping up reviews for the Wild & Scenic Film Fest

Chuck Jaffee
"Evolution of Organic" has a core message which emphasizes how important the health of the soil and the health of our children is, but corporate infastructure will inevitably dominate.
Submitted photo to Prospector |

(Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-week series of Prospector reviews leading up to the 16th Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Jan. 11-15, 2018.)

Evolution of Organic

From the film “Evolution of Organic”: “One thing the big guys can’t do is be small.” In this historical sweep of the organic food movement, you might think that this means small farmers must cultivate their niche markets.

They must assertively grow the community connections that will help them and their communities thrive. Indeed, but there’s a fuller picture.

To understand organic as evolution, follow the money. Small may sustain itself as a place for innovation and customization. It may continue to represent the holistic seed.

Yes, the film’s core message emphasizes how it’s all about the health of the soil and the health of us and our children, but corporate infrastructure inevitably will dominate.

Where it’s at currently, organic food has only penetrated one or two percent of the American landscape (generously calculated, as much as four).

The big guys, however, are well along figuring organics into their balance sheets. They are hearing not only that more and more people want organic food.

The big guys are discovering the unsustainable costs of pesticides and herbicides and monocultures. They are calculating the missed opportunities in not being able to label products as certified USDA organic.

As local color, given its showing at the 16th Wild & Scenic Film Festival, it is heartening to recognize Amigo Bob Cantisano, Michael Funk, and Izzy Martin prominently featured in the “Evolution of Organic.”

They, like most of the people in the film, have been at it for decades.

This documentary provides rather familiar coverage and personality.

As a history lesson, though, it unfolds a story of origins, building and mainstreaming the movement, and a sense of the future arriving.

Such context and encouragement in our awareness diet is tasty and nutritional.

Short Films

Showcasing quality short shorts (under ten minutes) is a proud part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Should one or three of these figure into your decision about which of nine festival venues to choose in any given timeslot? Anyway, taste a dozen of them below.

Some films deserve thumbs up even with a label of program filler.

Others inspire or raise awareness or have fun beyond and because of realizing a vision that gets in and gets out in a right-sized few minutes.

Brothers of Change: Here, “Black people don’t do that” refers to the sport of climbing, and to the fact of a group of Blacks who are into it, and the community of it, big time.

Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out: This sick, kick and a half, trick bicycling is jaw-dropping fun through pretty, Scotland scenery.

Dragging 235 Lbs. Uphill Both Ways: Assuring family values (with four kids) plugged into the great outdoors is a gratifying long haul.

Every Bend: The ranging blessings of Wild & Scenic Rivers designations, perhaps most of all for kids, get an appreciative nod.

Forgotten but Not Gone: Sort of a cute, wolverine, otter, bear-ish combo, the oddly named “Pacific Fisher” suffers from toxic land use and tenuous corporate “help.”

Ghosts of the Arctic: “The cold is my home,” says a polar photographer immersed in the harsh, beautiful white of the Arctic, especially when he “captures” remote wildlife on their terms.

Imagination: Tom Wallisch: A clever wrapper around some sick, kick and a half, in-town, trick skiing fuels excitement in otherwise bored kids.

Land Where We Live, The: Yet another beautiful remote place to preserve — how do we gauge all too real fears about the still resident definitions of “progress” and “development”?

Letter to Congress, A: A letter sent in 1960 invigorates something “good for our spiritual health even if we never once in ten years set foot in it.”

Norma’s Story: A cute, respectful, cautionary animation for kids (are they the only ones who will listen), spoken with the inherited gravitas of an indigenous voice.

Valve Turners: As with this example, perhaps the best of “monkey wrenching” is a coordinated, non-violent, polite mucking of the worst pipelines of shortsighted greed.

Where the Wild Things Play: Framed by geeky guys and a geeky guy song, this film peppers through women just doin’ it — an array of extreme adventure and sport.

Chuck Jaffee of Grass Valley likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find his other articles for The Union at

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