SATURDAY, JAN 9TH – Kick off 2016 with the 5th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

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5th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival Kicks Off 2016 with Films that Inspire

Saturday, January 9, 6:00 pm at WNMU’s Light Hall; Doors open at 5:30 pm

Kick off 2016 with some inspiration and join the Gila Conservation Coalition (GCC) 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. Doors open at 5:30 pm. 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.

“This year’s 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. It’s a great way to start off the new year with inspiration and renew our commitment to protecting the planet,” said Gila Conservation Coalition executive director Allyson Siwik.


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 New Mexico-produced films, such as Everywhere is a Gila produced by Santa Fe-based CAVU and featuring aerial footage of the Gila River watershed, with a cutting-edge spoken word 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, such as Gila’s Fight by Chris Theulen and Gila River: Up Against the Wall by Kate Brown.

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.

For more information, visit GCC’s webpage, or 575.538.8078.