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A Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, the largest of its kind in North America, is on tour. A scaled-down version of the popular film festival is travelling to 50 towns and cities nationwide.

The films will be shown in small towns and big cities from Madison, Wis., and Bozeman, Mont., to Salt Lake City and Columbus, Ga. The tour got under way in May and will arrive in the Rogue Valley this month.

"By taking our home festival on tour, we empower it to become larger than itself and realize its social obligation to bring the message of these films to a larger audience," says film festival director Kathy Dotson in a press release.

"Film is a powerful medium and is a common ground that everyone enjoys. When placed in this setting, environmentally conscious films can foster an open forum where people of different opinions can start finding solutions," she says.

KS Wild, Grilla Bites, McKenzie Outfitters, Phoenix Organics, the Rogue Group Sierra Club and Patagonia clothing manufacturers will host the festival at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at Grilla Bites, 226 E. Main St., Medford.

The festival tour brings together a selection of award-winning environmental films in a three-hour program:

"Kilowatt Ours": From coal mines in West Virginia to solar panel fields in Florida, filmmaker Jeff Barrie journeys to discover solutions to America's energy-related problems.

"Salmon & Steelhead, A Time for Recovery": These powerful fish are born in the river, travel to the ocean to grow, then make the journey back up their birth river to spawn and die. Sadly, populations of salmon are dangerously low. This wonderfully animated film illustrates the life of these fish and tells of the efforts to restore their habitat.

"Broken Limbs — Apples, Agriculture, and the New American Farmer": The Apple Capital of the World has prospered for nearly a century as home to the famed Washington apple.

But the good times have vanished. Apple orchardists by the thousands are going out of business, ending livelihoods and a uniquely American way of life.

Filmmaker Guy Evans set out on a journey to discover what went wrong.

"The Queen of Trees": Wildlife filmmakers often go to great lengths to get that perfect shot. But not many end up installing a picture window in a ripe fig the size of a grape, just to watch what's going on inside.

That's just one of the creative steps that filmmakers took to film the almost microscopic fig wasps. The film displays the perfect and complex intertwining of ecology's web of life.

The grassroots activist group, the South Yuba Rivers Citizens League, started the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival in 2003.

It began as a fundraiser and community mobilizer for the advocacy of its local watershed, the Yuba River in Nevada County, Calif.

The home film festival is a three-day event and features 110 films with 60 guest speakers and over 3,000 attendees.

Environmental groups started asking to host the festival in their communities and the event and the idea was developed to take a selection of the films on the road.

Festival organizers hope these inspiring and educational films motivate people to go out and make a difference in their community and around the world.

To reach 50 cities, the festival works with environmental groups across the country to host the festival as a way to reach their communities and bring together a diverse audience.

Host groups are encouraged to arrange post-roundtable discussions or provide take-home conversation questions.

Wild & Scenic joined with the clothing company, Patagonia, to find environmental groups interested in this project.

Patagonia gives 1 percent of their annual net sales to environmental groups. Recipients of this grants program are invited to host the festival.

For a complete list of tour dates and more information, visit www.wildandscenicfilmfesitval.org online.

Cost for the festival is $5 to $10. Call 488-5789.

“Kilowatt Ours” is one of the four environmental films to be screened in the touring Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival. - Photo courtesy of KS Wild