Wild and Scenic Film Festival, “by activists, for activists”

The Evanston Wild and Scenic Film Festival, presented by the Evanston Environmental Association (EEA), presents 12 short films, each a gripping film about mother earth: her rise and fall caused by climate change.

On Friday, March 11, the shorts will be screened at Rotary International. The festival features a subset of the larger 20th annual wild and scenic film festival. Produced by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL- pronounced “circle”), it features over 110 short films, all devoted exclusively to inspiring activism with the goal of restoring the earth and creating a positive future for the next generation.

SYRCL is an activist organization in California dedicated to raising funds and awareness to recover California’s wild salmon and protect the Yuba River watershed. The festival raises funds for the EEE and the SYRCL.

If you’ve never been to Evanston’s Wild and Scenic Film Fest, consider taking your Wild and Scenic family to Rotary International this Friday night and check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Camp Yoshi, appearing at the Evanston Wild and Scenic Film Festival (Photo provided)

The theme of this year’s festival is Currents of hope. Filmmakers of all ages were invited to submit their work. Six of the 12 films in this year’s collection feature school-aged narrators, informing the festival of the unique perspective of the heir generation. Here are two brief reviews of Friday’s event.

my last day of summer

In the first scene of this 8-minute short film, we meet Julia, a young girl who rides her bike to a repair shop. His chain is out of alignment and his bike is unusable. It’s the last day of summer and she’s hoping for one last adventure. While waiting for her bike to be repaired, she discovers a book of graphic stories about cycling. It doesn’t take him long to go from the bike shop to the behind-the-scenes trail in this storybook.

Over the next few minutes we meet serious biker Julia, a trail lover, and she takes us on a fast and furious ride heavy with joy. Scenes flow seamlessly between stylized black and white designs and the lush green pathway. The hike wakes us up as we discover Julia’s transcendence from the mundane to her love of nature, where she excels. This short film reminds us of the transformative powers of nature. my last day of summer won an honorable mention in the Children’s Movie category and is worth the price of admission alone.

my last summer, appearing at the Evanston Wild and Scenic Film Festival. (Photo provided)

Protect the monarch butterfly

Monarch butterflies have declined by 99% over the past 40 years. They are on the verge of extinction. Among the reasons for the decline are habitat loss and loss of milkweed due to herbicide use and climate change. This 4-minute film, produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association, highlights a community-based habitat restoration project at the northern tip of Lake Erie.

Monarch butterflies can migrate up to an amazing 3,000 miles. Along the way, they need food and resting places, without which they face habitat loss and death. The restored habitats provide food for thousands of monarchs as they migrate south from Canada to the highland fir forests of central Mexico.

Why are monarchs important? They are pollinators. They seek out nectar and involuntarily move pollen within and between flowers. This helps flowering plants produce seeds that disperse and produce more plants. The seeds and fruits from successful pollination feed other organisms, including us! Monarch butterflies contribute to the sustainability of the whole ecosystem.

While this short is interwoven with beautiful butterfly footage, like so many films from the festival, the point is to beg for action. For example, we can help reverse the decline of monarch butterflies by adding monarch-loving plants to our gardens this spring. The reward will be beautiful monarch butterflies and stunning monarch caterpillars, as well as the satisfaction of doing your part to help the environment.

On the occasion of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, become an activist butterfly this spring. Plant milkweed! For more information, visit Butterfly Garden Requirements and Plant Lists – Education (illinois.gov).

In person this year Wild and Scenic Film Festival returns to Rotary International at 1560 Sherman Ave. Doors and the virtual lobby open at 6:30 p.m., the show runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants can choose to attend the film festival in person or online on Friday, March 11. All ticket holders have access to all movies on video on demand for five days after the event.