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Siskiyou Film Fest focuses on environment

The Siskiyou Film Fest has moved from Ashland to Grants Pass. The three-day event will take place beginning with an opening night gala at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, and continuing through Saturday, Feb. 9, at One Eleven Evelyn: Center of the Performing Arts, 111 Evelyn St., Grants Pass.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the weekend festival which screens award-winning films about real people creating real solutions to today's environmental challenges.

6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7

The opening night gala will be hosted by the Siskiyou Project, which works to promote and protect the spectacular natural assets of Oregon's Siskiyou Wild Rivers area in Josephine and Curry Counties. Siskiyou Project will introduce its new executive director, Shane Jimerfield. The evening will feature a reception with wine tasting by Troon Vineyard, finger foods by Chef Marilyn of Summer Jo's, and a display of local artist Paula Fong's illustrations of our region's unique plants and animals. Many of the event sponsors will be present to offer more information on their services.

Patsy Smullin of KOBI 5 will introduce the evening's films with Jimerfield:

  • "Ryan's Well" — shows how one determined spirit can change the world. At the age of 7, Ryan Hreljac raised thousands of dollars to drill a well in Angolo, Uganda. Ryan was so moved by what he saw he kept working and now has raised enough money to build 319 wells in 14 countries, helping nearly half a million people. (26 min.)
  • "The Organic Opportunity" — is a story of hope and practical steps any community can take to build a thriving local economy. It tells the story of Woodbury County, Iowa's innovative economic development campaign and shows the positive impact a local food system grounded in organic agricultural practices can play in a community's economic, environmental and physical health. (26 min.)
  • "Global Warming is a Religious Issue" — is a short interview with Rev. Jim Wallis, best-selling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion and public life, faith and politics. (2 min.)
  • "Kilowatt Ours" — is an inspirational film that demonstrates the connection between personal choices and energy use and introduces us to individuals, businesses, schools and universities who have cut their energy use in half by taking simple steps that benefit the consumer, the environment and the economy. (38 min.)
  • "Siskiyou Field Institute" — takes you to the Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma, where people come to learn about and explore the amazing Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion, a land of steep mountains, wild rivers and unusual diversity of species and habitats. SFI brings together the region's leading scientists and naturalists to share their passion and knowledge with the public each year through dynamic field courses and other educational programs. (18 min.)

Friday, Feb. 8

4-5:30 p.m. Reception for award winning director John deGraaf at The Creative Alternative, 229A S.W. G St., Grants Pass. There will be a preview of "Buyer Be Fair." Circle J's restaurant will provide finger foods.

  • "Buyer Be Fair" — takes viewers to Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, the U.S. and Canada to explore how conscious consumers and businesses can use the market to promote social justice and environmental sustainability. (60 min.)
  • "The Curse of Copper" — takes us to a community in the heart of the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Here local communities oppose the plan by a Canadian mining company to mine in a pristine cloud forest — as it will ruin their livelihoods and destroy their environment. (34 min.)
  • "Sharks: Stewards of the Reef" — takes you on a voyage of underwater discovery, to explore tropical reefs and dive with sharks. This educational documentary examines escalating threats to shark population including habitat destruction of reef ecosystems and over fishing that are causing Pacific reef shark populations to plummet. (26 min.)

Saturday, Feb. 9

YouthFilmFest

Children 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Teens Noon to 2 p.m.

All youth admitted free.

Special guests between festivals will be birds of prey from Wildlife Images.

2 p.m. Films

  • "Nomads" — serves up a generous helping of humanity and whitewater action in this short film about three women making a difference in the African villages of Uganda. In between malaria talks and handing out mosquito nets, the three tear it up on the White Nile's biggest waves. (20 min.)
  • "Finding Solutions" — tells the story of people who have discovered how to lead modern and fulfilling lives without destroying the Earth and each other. (18 min.)
  • "Decades Born in Fire" — combines beautiful footage of the Wild Illinois River Valley and documents the environmental consequences of salvage logging in the Siskiyou National Forest after the 2002 Biscuit Fire. (35 min.)
  • "Coffee to Go" — interweaves a wide array of expert commentary showing how the 25 million coffee growers worldwide bear the brunt of global price fluctuations and how Fair Trade practices improve their lives. (23 min.)
  • "A Land Out of Time" — shows how time is running out for vast swaths of the Rocky Mountain West as millions of acres of public land are leased for oil and gas drilling. Westerner ranchers who have lived on the land for generations expose the dramatic changes to the landscape and their heritage and spark a backlash. (56 min.)

Saturday Feb. 9 7 p.m.

  • "The Shift" — sheds light on the beauty and magnificence of the human spirit, revealing itself in empowering ways all over the globe. The most visible face of The Shift is the global environmental movement, but this evolutionary phenomenon is broader and deeper. It involves our very understanding of who we are as human beings, and our responsibility to the world and to life itself. (7 min. trailer)
  • "The Grandmothers Speak" — Thirteen Indigenous grandmothers from around the globe — the Arctic Circle, North, Central and South America, Asia and Africa — have come together because they were told in prophecy that their ancestral ways of prayer, peace-making and healing are vitally needed in the world today. (5 min.)
  • "Common Ground: Oregon's Ocean" — examines Oregon's ocean ecosystems and looks for ways to protect marine biodiversity and enhance fisheries. It features underwater footage filmed off the Oregon Coast. The film weaves cutting-edge marine science with perspectives from those who rely on the ocean for their livelihood. (30 min.)

"Ripe for Change" — is about the choices we make regarding what we eat and reclaiming the aesthetics and meaning of food as it nurtures and sustains our bodies. It brings to life the powerful stories of both large and small family farmers in California many of whom are bringing a variety of healthy and diverse foods directly to consumers. (60 min.)

"The Good Fight" — shares one of the environmental success stories, of our time, as Martin Litton, David Brower and others halted dam building within the Grand Canyon, Martin began his environmental work back in 1936 and continues today to prevent illegal logging of the Giant Sequoias within the Giant Sequoia National Monument. (30 min.)

"The Vanishing of the Bees" — takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and spiritual implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee, a mysterious ecological tragedy that could topple our food chain and forever change our way of life. (7 min.)

Siskiyou Project seeks to improve federal policies that protect the region's wild landscapes, fish, flora, and fauna. The group engages with forest workers, businesses, and agencies in surrounding gateway communities, to encourage economic growth in tourism, fire hazard reduction, and sustainable forestry practices. The group's educational programs raise awareness about the ecological and socio-economic advantages of protecting the area's wild salmon habitat, plant diversity and recreational opportunities.

Tickets are $10 for all the films on one day or $25 for the full festival.

Call 592-4459.

A scene from “Sharks: Stewards of the Reef,” a featured film in the Siskiyou Film Fest. - Photo from David McGuire