Kentucky Waterways Alliance is Bringing North America's Largest Environmental Film Festival to Louisville

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Join Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) when they host the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival On Tour at the Clifton Center on February 7 at 8 p.m. The festival will be emceed by two-time Emmy nominee Dave Shuffett, host and producer of Kentucky Education Television’s Kentucky Life.  An opening reception will be held at 7 p.m. with food and drink provided by Ramsi’s Café on the World, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and a wine tasting courtesy of Liquor Barn. 

Wild & Scenic On Tour brings together a selection of environmental films from the annual festival held the second week of January in Nevada City, CA. “The films tell a story about our planet, highlighting issues, providing solutions and giving a call to action,” says Tour Manager, Susie Sutphin. “Their collective energy empowers communities to initiate conversations that can bring about compromise and collaborative efforts that positively impact our wild places.”

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003. SYRCL is sharing their success as an environmental group with others organizations to bring the festival to over 90 communities nationwide. It is building a network of grassroots organizations connected by a common goal of using film to inspire activism. The festival’s namesake is in celebration of achieving Wild & Scenic status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999.

The film festival brings a community together. “Film is an artistic language that crosses political and social boundaries and offers a place for diverse perspectives to intertwine and mingle,” said environmental activist Lesley Adams of Medford, OR. “Film is a wonderful medium with which to bring divergent interests together around universal issues and discover that we have more in common than our perceived and historical differences suggest. “

“We’re excited to bring this national film festival to the state of Kentucky for the first time ever,” said Judy Petersen, Kentucky Waterways Alliance executive director. “The event is a great opportunity to learn more about different environmental issues important to our state while being inspired by the work of others.”

The festival film line up represents a mix of environmental issues. The feature of the night is Mountain Top Removal, directed by Michael O’Connell and produced by Gill Holland of Louisville. O’Connell points a sharp lens at the hard coal-mining practice of mountaintop removal, a process that involves clear-cutting and then removing up to 1,000 vertical feet of mountain by explosives. O’Connell will join Jerry Hardt, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth communications director, Judy Petersen, KWA, Tom FltzGerald, Kentucky Resources Council director, and other activists for a Q & A session following the film.

Hardt will be on hand to answer questions about the making of A Crime Against Creation, a short film that presents evangelical Christian leaders bearing witness to mountaintop removal and the destruction of Appalachia. Offering a profound theological rejection of this practice, the film includes testimony from eastern Kentucky residents working to protect their homes and one of the most ecologically diverse forests in the world. The film is one of eight individual stories included in the documentary Renewal about people of different faith traditions building a sustainable future.

You can also watch a group of world class whitewater kayakers travel to some of the world’s most amazing rivers in The Last Descent. These brave kayakers venture down the Marsyangdi River of Nepal, the Brahmaputra River in India, and the White Nile River in Uganda perhaps for the last time as all are threatened or are in the process of being destroyed by large scale hydroelectric projects. The film closes in California with the Tuolumne River and the growing movement to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.

The festival is a natural extension of Kentucky Waterways Alliance’s work to inspire people to act on behalf of the environment. For 15 years, Kentucky Waterways Alliance has worked to protect and restore Kentucky’s waterways. With a membership base that spans the state, KWA strengthens partnerships within watersheds and communities, while working for clean water and more effective water protection at the state and national levels.

If you’re interested in attending, becoming a sponsor for this event, or reading more about the films visit their website at: http://www.kwalliance.org/Events/WildandScenic/tabid/326/Default.aspx

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