GCC Announces 5th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Saturday, January 9, 6:00 pm at WNMU’s Light Hall
The Gila Conservation Coalition invites you to join us at the 5th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Saturday, January 9 at 6:00 pm at Light Hall on the Western New Mexico University campus. Tickets are $12 at the door, GCC members $10, and students are free. A special price for admission plus a GCC membership will be offered for $20.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival features films of wild rivers, social justice, wildlife, climate change and conservation biology. We have a great lineup, with both serious and light-hearted selections, and locally produced films about the Gila River.
Delta Dawn documents the Colorado River in the spring of 2014, when an experimental pulse of water was released into its long-dry delta, and filmmaker Pete McBride captured the resulting explosion of life. A film titled simply Colorado River follows a seasoned expedition leader as he shares a funny story and lessons learned after almost forty years of rowing through the Grand Canyon.
Due to climate change, conservation biology has a lot of work to do, as portrayed in Spine of the Continent. Writer Craig Childs narrates the story of southeast Utah’s wild landscape in The Story of Place. In the richest nation on earth, why do so many people lack clean drinking water? Thirsty for Justice shares powerful stories of the grassroots movement for water accessibility as a human right.
New this year is a segment of locally-produced films, such as Everywhere is a Gila produced by CAVU and featuring aerial footage of the Gila River watershed, with a cutting-edge poem by Albuquerque’s inaugural poet-laureate Hakim Bellamy. Selected film shorts from WNMU Professor Peter Bill’s New Media students will also be screened.
Great prizes from national sponsors Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Orion Magazine, Klean Kanteen, Earthjustice, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly as well as local sponsors will be awarded as part of the raffle, free with admission.
Additionally, on display will be a beautiful Gila River landscape painting by Tom Holt, which he generously donated to GCC and Southwest New Mexico Audubon Society to fund efforts to defend the river he so dearly loves. Raffle tickets for Holt’s painting are $20 each, with the drawing to be held at the April 22 Earth Day celebration. All proceeds from the film fest and raffle sales benefit work to protect the Gila River.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a natural extension of the Gila Conservation Coalition’s work to inspire people to act on behalf of the Gila River and its watershed. Events such as GCC’s annual Gila River Festival are an opportunity for people to appreciate and understand the importance of New Mexico’s last free flowing river and to encourage them to work to preserve this ecological gem. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival shows us through film how communities like ours are working to protect their watersheds and unique landscapes.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003. The festival’s namesake is in celebration of SYRCL’s landmark victory to receive “Wild & Scenic” status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999. The 4-day event features over 100 award-winning films and welcomes over 100 guest speakers, celebrities, and activists who bring a human face to the environmental movement. The home festival kicks-off the international tour to over 150 communities around the globe, allowing SYRCL to share their success as an environmental group with others organizations. The festival is building a network of grassroots organizations connected by a common goal of using film to inspire activism. With the support of National Partners: Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Orion Magazine, Klean Kanteen, Earthjustice, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, the festival can reach an even larger audience.
A special thanks to our local sponsors: Gila Resources Information Project, Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, Western Institute for Lifelong Learning, and Western New Mexico University.
Significant gains were made through the supplemental terms that will increase accountability and hopefully lead to a robust environmental analysis of the proposed diversion. Some of the important gains include financial feasibility and accountability requirements, making it clear that designs must be up to federal standards, clarifying that less money may be available than previously understood, and that the full range of environmental compliance is necessary, including assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act. If the environmental compliance process is honest it’s highly unlikely that a diversion would be built due to huge costs, technical infeasibility, and damage to the river and the seven endangered species that depend on it. Finally, the supplemental terms make it clear that the Secretary of Interior does not have to choose an alternative that harms the environment even if the state of NM and the NM CAP Entity wants her to.
“People from all over the country have made their voices heard. They don’t want a Gila River diversion project that we can’t afford, that won’t efficiently meet our water needs, and will damage New Mexico’s last free-flowing river,” said Allyson Siwik, Executive Director of the GilaConservation Coalition.
“The Gila River diversion process has been riddled with secrecy, bad judgment, and waste. The eyes of the nation are looking on Secretary Sally Jewell to ensure an honest and rigorous environmental review and to ultimately do the right thing – protect the Gila River forever,” said Todd Schulke, cofounder of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Public Outcry Escalates Over Gila River Diversion Ahead of DOI Deadline
SILVER CITY, N.M. (November 17, 2015) –The Department of the Interior has a deadline of November 23 to decide whether to green-light the design and development of a large-scale diversion on the Gila, New Mexico’s last undammed river. Public outcry over the billion-dollar proposal has been steadily escalating, with nearly 54,000 signatures collected this past month on a petition to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calling on her to reject the costly diversion and permanently protect the Gila River.
The controversy is centered on a proposal to build a large diversion project to take Gila River water and pump it over the Continental Divide to farms and urban areas in southern New Mexico. This is the fourth attempt to dam and divert the iconic southwestern river.
“This river is the lifeblood of the Desert Southwest. Damming it would be like paving over the Everglades,” said Kieran Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The Gila is a biological gem that boasts one of the most diverse concentrations of breeding birds in the country,” added Julie Weinstein, executive director of Audubon New Mexico. “This area deserves permanent protection, not a diversion that would destroy the river as we know it.”
The Gila River watershed includes the nation’s first designated Wilderness Area and the last main-stem river in New Mexico without a major dam or diversion. Named one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers in 2014, the area is home to more than 360 species of birds and the most intact native fish community in the Colorado River Basin.
The Gila River acts as the linchpin for the area’s robust outdoor recreation economy, including activities such as birding, fishing, hunting and boating and New Mexico sportsmen and women are among the vocal opponents of the proposed diversion. “The stretch of river in the proposal offers fantastic fishing and hunting opportunities that could be destroyed by a diversion,” said Garrett VeneKlasen, Executive Director for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “New Mexico should be leading the way in wise, conservative water use instead of this wasteful and outdated approach.”
According to a Bureau of Reclamation study from June of 2015, the Gila River diversion is expected to be hugely expensive, with construction costs estimated at $800M to $1 billion. Federal funding will pay for only a small fraction of the project’s costs, leaving a gap of up to $900+ million for state taxpayers and water users to cover.
“Damming and diverting this natural treasure, when there are more affordable and effective solutions available, runs contrary to common sense and to ongoing efforts to conserve our great outdoors for future generations,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
Federal funds could otherwise be spent now on cost-effective, non-diversion projects like municipal and agricultural conservation, effluent reuse, watershed restoration, infrastructure improvements and sustainable groundwater management. These projects would meet southwest New Mexico’s future water needs for a fraction of the cost while protecting the unique ecology of the Gila River for future generations to enjoy.
“The public has spoken up and overwhelmingly rejects this diversion and so should the Secretary of the Interior,” said Allyson Siwik, Silver City, New Mexico resident and Executive Director of the Gila Conservation Coalition.
Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (2012-2014), Hakim Bellamy, released his latest song, “Everywhere is a Gila,” to draw attention to the looming deadline for Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to sign an agreement with New Mexico that would allow a billion-dollar diversion of the Gila River to go forward. The song, accompanied by aerial and ground shots of America’s first wilderness area and the adjacent area slated for diversion, encourages listeners to take action by writing to Jewell in opposition to the project.
“My son is 8. My job is to share with him all the beauty I’ve ever been fortunate to find in this world. The Gila is part of that beauty. I did this song because I don’t know what else to do. I’m an artist. I generally feel powerless unless I am ‘arting.’ It’s what I know how to do to impact change. It just seems ridiculous to get rid of something our state is known for, unless we’ve tried every way possible to preserve it first. I hope that this video won’t be essentially an artifact to show the beauty of the Gila for posterity,” said Bellamy.
Aerial images of the Gila were shot on a Sierra Club overflight with CAVU, a non-profit organization that uses flight, film and education to aid in social justice and conservation issues. The video work illustrates the natural beauty of the Gila while the song highlights the risk to this very special place, said CAVU Executive Director David S. Smith.
“It is difficult for me to imagine a clearer issue than the proposed diversion of the Gila River. Almost 100 years ago, the Gila was designated the world’s first Wilderness Area.The world’s first. That fact should be sacrosanct. Let’s leave this place alone, so that our children, and our children’s children, and their children may love it, and learn from it,” said Smith.
“The proposal to build the Gila River Diversion is a billion-dollar boondoggle that will benefit private consultants more than any actual water users. Scientific evidence shows us that the diversion will pump more sand than water, and it will be New Mexico taxpayers that have to foot the bill. We can save more water now by implementing conservation projects that we already have the money in hand to carry out. The time to take action is now. We hope people will watch the video and write to Secretary Sally Jewell before it’s too late,” said Camilla Feibelman, Director of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter.
Everywhere is a Gila
Make you a believer,
Jesus, where is a miracle when you need one
Sermon on the Mount
Is what the people asking for
cause 5 loaves and 2 fish ain’t enough to feed the poor
Wilderness gotta eat
And the River is the source
Everybody wanna piece
when the profit is enormous
Especially when it’s free
cause taxpayers are payin’ for it
Tell Governor Martinez our families are getting torn up
Separating mother earth, from her grandsons and daughters
A Billion dollars deported
a runoff of our resources
Evaporating the forest
New Mexico can’t afford it
First they walled the border
Now they wallin’ the water
A living organism
our watershed could use a lawyer
Save the flora y fauna,
that don’t get no human rights
And the river their aborting
while praying to be pro-life
First World War 18 Millions souls
World War II 3% of the Globe
Cold war, hot water, turn off the faucet
The next world war gon’ be about water
Gulf War fossilized, Thermo is threatening
Even Turbine, Condensers need that hydroelectric
Now that Mars found water, Orson Welles is a prophet
Cause the next world war gon’ be about water
Ever see the sunlight marble on the canopy floor
Picking rocks out the river, grandkids on all fours
Gonna miss the babbling brook bliss when it’s gone
after drownin’ our future in the baptism waters
Way down by the riverside burial sight
where generations of Gila River Indians bore life
we talkin’ bout more life, Interstate Stream Commissioners
and elected officials think of your future constituents
4 -legged or two, actin like you’re superior
so we floodin’ your office Secretary of the Interior
fountain penning these letters, freezing the phone lines
an acre of water on your bathroom floor ought to remind ya
this is survival, like a water balloon fight
‘cept the only thing we’re full of is inflation and tax hikes
Our people are high and dry, on this side of the state line
First National Wilderness torpedoed by states rights
– Hakim Bellamy, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, New Mexico (2012-2014)
Song: Everywhere is a Gila By: Hakim Bellamy Produced by: Colin Diles Hazelbaker @ Central Root Studios Mastered by: DJ Icewater Photography: David Aubrey, Peter Bill, Nat Stone, Junchen Huang, BJ Allen, Allyson Siwik Producer, Director and Pilot: David S. Smith Supporting Organizations: CAVU, Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter, Gila Conservation Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity
Climate Change, Bathtub Rings and Low-flow Toilets: New Realities on Western Water
with Dan Beard, author of Deadbeat Dams and former commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Saturday, November 21 @ 7pm
WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium, corner of E St. and Kentucky St.
Free. Donations accepted for Gila River protection champion, Norm Gaume.
Copies of Deadbeat Dams will be available for sale.
More info, 575.538.8078 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join us and Dan Beard, renowned author of Deadbeat Dams and former Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, for an evening of fun and crowdfunding the old-fashioned way to help protect New Mexico’s last free-flowing river.
Beard will be traveling through the state on a three-night book tour to share his latest, “Climate Change, Bathtub Rings and Low-Flow Toilets: New Realities for Western Water.” The new realities of climate change and drought are forcing us to rethink Western water policies. What changes do we need to make to meet the challenges ahead? What policies should be changed and how? Dan will also talk about the Gila River diversion project and why the proposal is one of the stupidest projects he’s ever seen.
Each event is free but hopes to raise funds to support former Interstate Stream Commission Director Norm Gaume’s courageous legal battle with the current ISC to force it to do business honestly and protect the Gila forever.
Events will be held in the following locales:
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 pm at Old Town Farm, 949 Montoya St., Albuquerque
Thursday, November 19, 6:30 pm at Travel Bug Bookstore, 839 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe
Saturday, November 21 at 7pm in the WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium, Silver City
Sponsored by Adobe Whitewater Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Gila Conservation Coalition and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.
About Dan Beard
Dan Beard, the author of Deadbeat Dams, has been a forceful advocate for reform of water resource policy and management for more than four decades. He has extensive experience working in the private sector and government. His government service includes positions with the White House, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Interior Department, Library of Congress, and serving as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. He currently lives in Columbia, Maryland.
Originating in America’s first designated wilderness area, New Mexico’s Gila River is a biological gem. Its riparian forests boast one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in the country — including rare yellow-billed cuckoos — and its waters sustain the endangered loach minnow, spike dace and Gila trout. The Gila is also a mainstay for the area’s recreation economy.
After three previous failed attempts to dam and divert this iconic southwestern river, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and local New Mexico CAP Entity are planning the Gila River diversion project — a billion-dollar boondoggle that could destroy the river as we know it.
The New Mexico Unit Agreement must be signed by the NM CAP Entity and Secretary Jewell by November 23rd.
We need your help NOW to urge Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to save the Gila River once and for all. SIGN THE PETITION!
· The Gila River is an ecological treasure that deserves long-term protection.
· The diversion project is technically infeasible and will yield little to no water in many years.
· The Gila diversion is expected to be hugely expensive, with construction costs estimated by the Bureau of Reclamation at $800M to $1 billion and a continuing cost for operation, maintenance, and CAP exchange water in excess of $10 million each year, in perpetuity.
· The diversion is unaffordable for New Mexicans. The federal funds available will pay for only a small fraction of the construction cost of the NM Unit, leaving a gap of up to $900+ million for taxpayers and water users to cover.
· The project is unnecessary because the area’s long-term water needs can be met by other proven means — through conservation, groundwater management, water recycling and watershed restoration.
Final Value Study Confirms Gila Diversion Billion Dollar Boondoggle
Fatally Flawed Project Still on the Table
Silver City, NM — The Bureau of Reclamation released its final Value Planning Study that provides preliminary cost estimates of alternatives for a Gila River diversion project. The final report confirmed estimates that the Gila River diversion project is likely to cost $1B or more when including costs for operations and maintenance over the life of the project.
Despite a call by local water boosters to downsize diversion options and a demonstrated local reluctance to pay for a diversion, the ISC insisted all alternatives identified and evaluated in the Value Study would divert the maximum amount of water available under the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA).
The Value Study made it clear that all alternatives evaluated included complete build out of diversion, conveyance and storage facilities in phases to deliver water over the Continental Divide to Deming and would require environmental analysis on the entire project. The Value Study alternatives all looked at phasing, with Phase 1 construction costs for most alternatives ranging from 2-4 times the funding currently available. The only Phase 1 alternative identified that could be paid for with existing funding was exposed as not meeting water storage targets and as having questionable functionality.
“There’s no free lunch here,” said Allyson Siwik, Gila Conservation Coalition Executive Director. “This huge fatally-flawed diversion project continues to be pushed forward with all the technical, financial, and environmental problems everyone has been talking about for more than a decade. And it’s clear that local communities in southwest New Mexico will have to pay for it. When will people wake up and see that we can’t afford this project?”
Former ISC director, Norm Gaume, has been critical of the Gila River diversion, citing several fatal flaws that make the project infeasible. Because of the tight constraints of the AWSA, water available for diversion could occur less frequently than 1 in 10 years. The NM Unit will be inordinately expensive due to construction of high capacity diversion facilities that will be infrequently utilized, the absence of suitable storage reservoir sites, and the distance of conveyance. Lining storage reservoirs to reduce seepage losses is required for the project to function, but will be hugely expensive and technically challenging given the large area and steep slopes. The cost of water to end users could be greater than $8000/acre-foot and municipal water rates in Deming could increase more than 10 times.
Once Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signs the NM Unit Agreement by November 23, the fatally flawed project will move into the next phase of design and planning under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Michael Berman Photography Studio Tour – 12 spaces available
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Keynote Address with Godfrey Reggio
Thursday, Sept. 24; 7:00 pm WNMU Light Hall. Doors open at 6:30 pm
$10 suggested donation at the door. Students FREE
World-renowned filmmaker Godfrey Reggio, director of the groundbreaking ‘Qatsi Trilogy,’ will give the keynote address, entitled “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” His premise is that we don’t merely use technology: we live it. Einstein said, “The fish will be the last to know water,” and we will be the last to know technology. After Reggio’s keynote, the first film in his trilogy, Koyaanisqatsi, will be screened along with a selection of short films from the Gila Time-lapse Film Fest.
THINKING LIKE A WATERSHED
Panel Discussion with Jack Loeffler, Dr. Rina Swentzell, Dr. Enrique Lamadrid & Steve Harris
Friday, September 25, 7:00 pm, WNMU’s Light Hall
Admission: $10 suggested donation at the door. Students FREE.
Writer, aural-historian, and conservationist Jack Loeffler will lead “Thinking Like a Watershed,” a panel discussion with Dr. Rina Swentzell, who will represent the Puebloan sense of coherence, Dr. Enrique Lamadrid, an authority on the history of acequias, and Steve Harris, director of Rio Grande Restoration and proprietor of Far Flung Adventures. Godfrey Reggio’s second Qatsi film, Powaqqatsi, and selections from the Gila Time-lapse Film Fest will be screened following the panel discussion.
The Gila Time-lapse Film Festival will explore man’s relationship to nature and technology. Films from around the world and the southwest will be screened, such as Desert Flower, filmed in Joshua Tree National Park by Casey Kiernan, Jewel of the Dolomites filmed in northern Italy by Christin Necker, and Light Study from Canada by Josephine Massarella. Peter Bill, WNMU professor of New Media and director of the film festival, will kick off the inaugural event with a discussion about time-lapse film making on Thursday afternoon at 1pm. The film fest closes with a street party and 4-story projections of time-lapse films on the Murray Hotel.
MONSOON PUPPET PARADE, SKIT & STREET PARTY with Monsoon Puppet Theater, Gila Time-lapse Film Fest, & Music by The Roadrunners, Bayou Seco, and No Dam Diversions
Join the zany and creative forces of the Monsoon Puppet Theater and Bikeworks for a family-friendly parade full of fun costumes, music, dance, and giant puppets! Follow the parade to the Street Party at Yankie & Texas for dancing, food, and kids’ activities.
3:00-4:00 Face painting and mask making at Bikeworks @ Bullard & College
4:00-4:15 Puppet & bike parade from Bikeworks to Yankie & Texas streets
4:15-7:45 Street Party with lots of kids’ activities; Live Music and dancing with No Dam Diversions, Bayou Seco, and The Road Runners; wood oven-fired pizza, popcorn, & more.
7:45-9:30 Monsoon Puppet Skit, Gila Time-lapse Film Fest and projections on Murray Hotel
LANDSCAPE OF THE GILA ART SHOW
Throughout the festival, WNMU Francis McCray Gallery, noon to 5:00 pm
This Gila-inspired show features the work of local artists, as they interpret the Gila River in different media. Artists include Linda S. Boatwright, Kate Brown, Lois Duffy, Penny Flick, Donna Foley, Karyn Neil, Pierre Nichols, Jim Pendergast, Aleada Siragusa, Patricia Taber, Peter Bill and Stephen Dirkes. Visit the show during the Gila River Festival, September 24 thru September 27, from noon to 5:00 pm. On Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, join us for a reception at the gallery.
Named one of the “100 Best Art Towns in America,” Silver City has a vibrant art scene. Be sure to wander through downtown Silver City’s Arts & Cultural District and visit participating galleries, open throughout the festival.
WE ARE THE RIVER; THE RIVER IS US Meditations & Contemplations at the Gila River
Sunday, Sept. 27; 9:15 am to 1:00 pm
Meet at Silver City Visitors’ Center at 9:15 am to carpool to The Nature Conservancy’s Gila Farm, OR, meet at the Gila Farm at 10:00 am. FREE
We close the Gila River Festival with a series of meditations and contemplations – some moving, some in stillness. Martha Everett, Becky Glenn, and Jeff Goin will, respectively, take us through short practices of Qigong, Yoga, and meditation with which we can establish a more subtle, deeper, and meaningful relationship with our natural world in general, and the Gila River in particular. No previous experience in Yoga, meditation, or Qigong is necessary. To create a sacred space, Vicki Allen will lead us in a short, meaningful ritual at the start of our session and will close it again at the end.
NM CAP Entity’s Financial Capacity Called into Question as Deadline Looms
Parties discuss supplemental terms to NM Unit Agreement
September 14, 2015
Given concerns over financing of the Gila diversion, the Bureau of Reclamation has requested that the NM Unit Agreement be amended to include “supplemental terms” to clarify legal and financial roles and responsibilities between the federal government and the NM CAP Entity for the planning, construction and operation of the NM Unit. The supplemental terms outlined by the Bureau of Reclamation at a recent legislative committee meeting provide the Department of Interior with legal protections and assurances related to the NM CAP Entity’s financial capability to carry out its responsibilities for the NM Unit, environmental compliance and NM Unit design and operational standards.
The NM Unit Agreement must be signed by the NM CAP Entity and the Secretary of the Interior by November 23, 2015. As of press time, the parties are still negotiating the amendments.
Locals Don’t Want to Pay the $1B+ Price Tag for the Gila Diversion
Problems surfaced quickly this past summer during the negotiations of the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) that formed the NM CAP (Central Arizona Project) Entity. The Entity wants full responsibility to design, construct, operate and maintain the NM Unit. However, because local parties to the JPA did not want to commit to funding the Gila River diversion, they required language that would allow a CAP Entity member to withdraw from the JPA at any time.
The Entity is comprised of 13 local governmental organizations (Grant, Luna, Hidalgo, Catron counties; Deming, Lordsburg and Santa Clara; four irrigation ditch associations; and two soil and water conservation districts) and the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission. Silver City, Bayard and Columbus opted to not join the NM CAP Entity.
In response, the NM Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), the lead state agency charged with implementing the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) in New Mexico, made it clear that water users must pay for the NM Unit and that the state and ISC are not on the hook for any funding beyond the AWSA subsidy funds. This means that locals would be responsible for the $900M+ shortfall in costs.
Feds Won’t Be the Gila Diversion Sugar Daddy
The Bureau of Reclamation on behalf of the Department of Interior (DOI) provided “full disclosure” to the NM CAP Entity through its supplemental terms that the federal government won’t pay for the Gila diversion beyond the AWSA subsidy of $66M and explained that the availability of the second increment of $36M is very uncertain and the third increment of $28M highly unlikely. Because the DOI must comply with the Anti-Deficiency Act when implementing the NM Unit, the federal government would not be able to initiate construction of the NM Unit unless full funding is committed.
Additionally, BOR is concerned that the JPA calls into question that the CAP Entity has the capability of fulfilling the requirements of the AWSA. The Secretary of Interior in response reserves her right to come back to the table if there are any changes with the composition or roles/responsibilities of the Entity.
Some of the other terms on the laundry list clarify that the NM Unit must be designed, built and operated in compliance with BOR standards and that a separate Memorandum of Agreement will be required to lay out roles and responsibilities with respect to environmental compliance.
If supplemental terms are agreed to, the NM Unit Agreement will have to be approved by each of the governmental organizations party to the NM CAP Entity. Stay tuned for meeting dates and times so that you can lend your voice to that process.
Thursday, September 24 – Gila Time-lapse Film Fest
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm WNMU Light Hall; $5 donation at the door; Students free
Timelapse films allow our human perceptions to stretch as we observe changes on the land that we otherwise would not as we go about our quotidian pursuits. We find timelapse films to be instructive and fulfilling because they can compress a day, a month, a year into a short burst of film that we can perceive in an instant. Time-lapses show us that the world at different timescales is very strange, and much different than our everyday experience: it’s vibrating, buzzing, and moving. By viewing processes we take for granted at different timescales, we hope to change how we interact with the great natural forces that surround us, and find our society’s balance anew.
Join Peter Bill, artist, filmmaker, New Media Professor at Western New Mexico University, and the mastermind behind this film festival, as he talks about time-lapse filmmaking, its technical aspects, historical perspective, and zeitgeist behind time-lapse.
After his presentation, we’ll screen the time-lapse films selected for this festival.
Thursday, September 24 Take a Walk on the Wild Side, Keynote Address with Godfrey Reggio
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm; WNMU Light Hall; $10 suggested donation at the door; Students Free
Beyond solar panels, sustainable development.
We see the world through language. Should our languages no longer describe the world in which we live, then indeed, not only the blind cannot see. “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” (Wittgenstein)
The Homeric poems caution, “Fire, their brilliance, their flaw.” This arguably may now read: technology, their brilliance, their flaw. The incantations of modernity tell us technology is something we use, we’re in charge, it’s neutral. Or is it Mary Shelley’s, not Hollywood’s, Frankenstein? Technology is as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. We do not use technology, we live it. As the new and comprehensive host of life it is our environment, the new terra firma, the sun that never sets. Being sun gazers, we become blind to the world we live in. That most present is most unseen. As Einstein said, “The fish will be the last to know water,” as we shall be the last to know technology. Being sensate, we become our environment; we become what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste; we become technology.
Anything we could have said about the Divines, we now say about technology: it is remaking the world in its image and likeness. Its truth, the truth; its language, 0 1; its shibboleth, “Pray for more.” In this twilight of the real, adrift in the Cloud, we are all together, all at once the cyborgs of wonderland.
Being also so human an animal, we might consider to “Take a walk on the wild side.” Resist destiny. Act free in deed. Live in an uncreated future. Or, we continue on the path to wonderland, infested with -isms, tuned to destiny, the rooted future.
Godfrey Reggio is an inventor of a film style which creates poetic images of extraordinary emotional impact. He is prominent in the film world for his Qatsi trilogy, essays of visual images and sound which chronicle the destructive impact of the modern world on the environment. His other films include Songlines, Anima Mundi, Evidence, and Visitors.
Born in Louisiana, Reggio spent 14 years in a Roman Catholic religious order, living in community, dedicated to prayer, study, and teaching. Based in New Mexico during the sixties, he taught grade and secondary school and college, and co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization project to help gang members. Following this, Reggio co-founded La Clinica de la Gente, a facility that provided medical care to 12,000 community members in Santa Fe, and La Gente, a community organizing project in northern New Mexico’s barrios. In the 1970s, he co-founded the non-profit Institute for Regional Education, and co-organized a multi-media public interest campaign on the invasion of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior.
KOYAANISQATSI: FILM ONE OF THE QATSI TRILOGY, Film by Godfrey Reggio
WNMU Light Hall, 8:30 to 10:30 pm, immediately following Godfrey Reggio’s keynote
Introduced with selections from the Gila Time-lapse Film Festival
$5 suggested donation at the door, Students FREE
Koyaanisqatsi, the first film of the Qatsi trilogy, is a Hopi word meaning “life out of balance.” Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds: urban life and technology versus the environment. The haunting musical score was composed by Philip Glass.
Koyaanisqatsi attempts to reveal the beauty of the beast. We usually perceive our world, our way of living, as beautiful because there is nothing else to perceive. If one lives in this world, the globalized world of high technology, all one can see is one layer of commodity piled upon another. There seems to be no ability to see beyond, to see that we have encased ourselves in an artificial environment that has remarkably replaced the original: nature itself. We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it, as it were. Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive.
The meaning of Koyaanisqatsi is up to the viewer, as art has no intrinsic meaning. This is its power, its mystery, and hence, its attraction. It stimulates viewers to insert their own meaning and value. The film’s role is to provoke, to raise questions that only the audience can answer. This is the highest value of any work of art, not predetermined meaning, but meaning gleaned from the experience of the encounter.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Friday, September 25 – SACRED WATER: THE INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVE Presentation and films by Victor Masayesva
3:15 to 5:15 pm, Light Hall, WNMU; $5 suggested donation at the door, Students Free
In this introduction to his films, Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva will speak about several converging topics: the spirituality of water, indigenous communities’ relationship to time, calendars, and environmental discord. He’ll speak to humane approaches to technology, with a keen awareness of their impacts on human societies, including the Hopi people.
Immediately after Masayesva’s talk, we’ll show three of his films.
Paatuwaqatsi – H2opi Run to Mexico (56 minutes)
Environment, culture, prayer and beliefs all converge in this meditative depiction of running. The sacred and the profane are bridged in the act of running in which individual expended energy merges with the natural world. Paatuwaqatsi is distinct from the typical gloomy representations of impoverished Native American communities. Inspiring and uplifting, it offers profound insights into traditional prayers for water in contemporary Native America.
Time Keepers – Calendario Desconocido (15 minutes)
With the ending of the great Maya Cycle and advent of the new, several indigenous communities have become more aware of traditional calendar and time keeping. With a feeling of urgency, they are watching the effects of climate and environmental upheavals within the context of their time keeping practices.
Color of Wilderness (20 minutes)
This film challenges the predominance of American conceptualization of wilderness, and presents diverse social perspectives on the meaning of wilderness for people of color. It’s a call to the public to become involved in the diversification and perpetuation of color in wilderness.
Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva has been honored with numerous awards, including the University of Arizona Distinguished Alumni Award, the Gold Hugo at Chicago Festival, Two Rivers Visionary Award, Taos Festival’s distinguished filmmaker award and others. He is at the forefront of experimental filmmaking in the Native American media community, and is a prominent advocate for the indigenous aesthetic from the international community.
Masayesva has curated programs and been a resident artist at several art centers, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of America Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been a guest artist and juror at film festivals in many countries, and his films are available in several languages. Masayesva continues to reside in the village of Hoatvela in Arizona.
POWAQQATSI: FILM TWO OF THE QATSI TRILOGY, Film by Godfrey Reggio
Light Hall, 9:00 to 11:00 pm, immediately following “Thinking Like a Watershed” panel
Introduced with selections from the Gila Time-lapse Film Festival
$5 suggested donation at the door, Students FREE.
The overall focus of Powaqqatsi, the second film in the Qatsi Trilogy, is on indigenous peoples of the Third World — the emerging, land-based cultures of Asia, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America — and how they express themselves through work and traditions. What it has to say about these cultures is an eyeful and then some, sculpted to allow for varied interpretations.
Where Koyaanisqatsi dealt with the imbalance between nature and modern society, Powaqqatsi is a celebration of the human-scale endeavor: the craftsmanship, spiritual worship, labor and creativity that defines a particular culture.
It’s also about contrasting ways of life, and in part how the lure of mechanization and technology and the growth of mega-cities are having a negative effect on small-scale cultures.
“Powaqqatsi” is a Hopi Indian conjunctive — the word “Powaqa,” which refers to a negative sorcerer who lives at the expense of others, and “Qatsi,” or life. Powaqqatsi, says director Godfrey Reggio, is not a film about what should or shouldn’t be, but rather “an impression, an examination of how life is changing…. What we sought to capture is our unanimity as a global culture.”
Powaqqatsi is a record of diversity and transformation, of cultures dying and prospering, of industry for its own sake and the fruits of individual labor, presented as an integrated human symphony, with Philip Glass’ score providing the counterpart, performed with native, classical and electronic instruments.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
Saturday, September 26
NAQOYQATSI: FILM THREE OF THE QATSI TRILOGY – Film by Godfrey Reggio
Introduced with selections from the Gila Time-lapse Film Festival
WNMU Light Hall, 1:00 to 3:00 pm; $5 suggested donation at the door, Students FREE
More important than empires, more powerful than world religions, more decisive than great battles, more impactful than cataclysmic earth changes, Naqoyqatsi chronicles the most significant event of the last five thousand years: the transition from the natural milieu, old nature, to the “new” nature, the technological milieu.
Nature has held earthly unity through the mystery of diversity. New nature achieves this unity through the awesome power of technological homogenization.
Naqoyqatsi is a reflection on this singular event, where our subject is the medium itself, the wonderland of technology. The medium is our story. In this scenario human beings do not use technology as a tool (the popular point-of-view), but rather we live technology as a way of life. Technology is the big force and, like oxygen, it is always there, a necessity that we cannot live without, and it is consuming the finite world of nature. It is in this sense that technology is Naqoyqatsi, a sanctioned aggression against the force of life itself – war life.
Naqoyqatsi takes us on an epic journey into a land that is nowhere, yet everywhere, where the real gives way to the virtual. As the gods of old become dethroned, a new pantheon of light appears in the integrated circuit of the computer. Its truth becomes the truth.
GILA TIME-LAPSE FILM FEST 7:45pm – 9:30pm FREE
Intersection of Yankie and Texas Streets in downtown Silver City
Wait until dark for the Gila Time-lapse Film Festival to begin. We’ll project the selected short films on the side of the Murray Hotel. Peter Bill, film professor at Western New Mexico University, choreographs this street performance, with spontaneous trumpet riffs by Danny Reyes, composer and WNMU music professor. Winners of the film fest will also be announced.