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‘Wild’ movies showing at WorldFest

A mini-version of the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival tours the country with a stop very close to home at WorldFest in Grass Valley. Here are some the reviews.

“The Story of Stuff” is a must-see distillation of the facts and scope and repercussions of our consumer economy. Annie Leonard speaks in front of a “white board” of simple, effective drawings primed with simple, engaging animation. Speaking with earnest vitality and a savvy sense of fun, she clearly outlines the extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal of stuff.

Ms. Leonard wags at government.He rails about corporations. And she holds us accountable too. The manipulation has grown cancerously in the last 60 years. We buy into the manipulation and buy and buy and buy. We work and work and work, not to foster education or health or safety or leisure. We work to acquire new stuff and to replace stuff, whether or not it needs replacing.



Thanks to its 20-minute length and its creative approach, “The Story of Stuff” rates a place in mind ahead of such must-see awareness raisers as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Corporation.”

“Fridays at the Farm” is a gem of respect for food production, for family, and for creative short filmmaking.




When he became a father, Richard Hoffman wanted to transplant his feelings of disconnectedness into an environment that could fulfill his family. Connect he did, to the community and spirit of a small organic farm.

Artistically assembling and pacing thousands of still and time-lapse photos, Hoffman attaches a non-preachy narrative that compels appreciation.

Lovingly labor intensive and child friendly, the farm avoids the culture of pesticides and genetically modified food. The farm manages the risks of weather and natural pests well. They apply nurturing soil strategies. They pull weeds. Along with the process of growing crops, life also gestates in the bellies of a couple of mothers.

“Fridays at the Farm” may seem like a single family dwelling surrounded by skyscrapers, but it is gratifying to ratchet down the overwhelming challenges of the modern world to such elemental devotions.

“Ride the Mergansers” was my favorite film for kids at the 2007 Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. As it is with top notch films for kids, it’s a treat for all ages.

In the north country woods, a manmade birdhouse helps in the threatened habitat of hooded mergansers. Heightening dramatic effect, a well chosen classical score accompanies newborn ducklings as they figure out how to escape their nest. Watching each barely-winged, plump little member of the brood plummet to a lake where mother awaits is hilariously endearing.

“Water Loving Doggies” captures summer spirit on the Yuba River. To Matisyahu’s “Time of Your Song” this five-minute film pieces together shots at surface level, above, and under water. A few humans show up on camera, but it’s mostly doggie paddling and such amidst simple, doggie loving, Yuba River loving appreciation.

“Little Bird of the Yuba” won the “I Love the Yuba” award at the 01/08 Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. When Larry Huntington expressed his thanks for the award, he didn’t hesitate to mention that it was shot using the video feature of a typical digital camera.

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Chuck Jaffee of Nevada City likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find his other articles for The Union at http://www.startlets.com. For instance, find the link to his review there of “Dream People of the Amazon,” also showing at WorldFest.


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