Wild and scenic

Dean Potter in “Moonwalk” by Mikey Schaefer.

The camera can capture the beautiful, unbelievable and awe-inspiring. The upcoming Wild and Scenic Film Festival provides a look at the “unicorns” of Japan, a man’s fight to save the planet with weed-eating goats and the rescue of a humpback whale tangled in fishing nets.

“The theme for this year’s WSFF is ‘A Climate of Change’ and we carefully selected films that had relevance to the Pacific Northwest for our festival,” said organizer Jeff Ludwig. “Documentaries are a great way to get information and educational efforts to a wide audience.”

The festival is co-produced by Orcas Center and the San Juan Preservation Trust and is from Nov. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. The films run from as short as one minute to as long as 20 minutes. Over 110 films have been accepted for the festival; 15 of these short documentaries  will run each night. Tickets are $10.

Ludwig, who is also the facilities manager for Orcas Center, got the inspiration for having a film fest after the center acquired a “big screen” and projection equipment for the main theater several years ago. The screen and projection is used primarily to broadcast opera live from the Met and plays from the London National Theater.

Ludwig has helped to organize the event with several members of SJPT and he will be running sound and technical support for the showings.

Kathleen Foley, of SJPT, said the festival is a great way to spread the message of preservation to a wide audience.

“I think there is something for everyone in this film festival. It’s got an environmental theme, yes, but we want people to understand that we didn’t want to choose films that only focused on problems with our environment,” she said. “We wanted to choose films that focused on solutions. We also wanted to keep it light hearted and fun, so there are many great adventure films (some Banff festival winners in there) as well as some just plain silly ones.”

Organizers hope that this may be the start of an annual event at Orcas Center. This is the 11th Wild and Scenic Film Festival Tour to be offered by South Yuba River Citizens League, based in Nevada.

SJPT will have a staffed table at the event.  There will also be refreshments and free giveaways during the festival. Body Boat Blade and Wildlife Cycles have donated door prizes.

Here are a few cinematic highlights:

“The Denali Experiment,” Friday

Free-ride skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and big mountain snowboarder Lucas Debari step out of their elements and make an attempt to climb, ski and snowboard Denali. Sage and Lucas get a helping hand from a huge cast of seasoned and professional climbers and ski mountaineers from the North Face Athlete Team, including Hilaree O’Neill, Conrad Anker, Ingrid Backstrom, Jim Zellers, Emilio Previtali and Giulia Monego, as the two embark on the hardest expedition of their lives. www.camp4collective.com (USA, 2011, 16min)

“One Plastic Beach,” Friday

Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting plastic debris off one beach in Northern

California for over ten years. Each piece of plastic Richard and Judith pick up comes back to their house, where it gets cleaned, categorized and stored before being used for their art. The couple make sculptures, prints, jewelry and installations with the plastic they find washed up, raising a deeper concern with the problem of plastic pollution in our seas. (USA, 2011, 8min)

“Scars of Freedom,” Saturday

This is the story of the repercussions of human negligence juxtaposed with the incredible power of human compassion. An entangled humpback whale, left for dead; a fishing net, her anvil.

Estimated at 250 kilos this net had cut halfway through the left side of her tail. Between two dives, our film crew heard a radio call announcing some fishermen had spotted an entangled whale. Untrained for such missions, we nonetheless set off to her rescue and captured incredible footage. Beautiful images of humpbacks swimming through the protected waters off Hawaii offer a contrast to the story, concluding with a powerful statement; ‘Change begins with the heart.’ www.celinecousteau.com (USA, 2012, 6min)

“Moonwalk,” Saturday

Dean Potter is nothing if not creative. In this short piece, he highlines across a desert landscape with a massive full moon as his backdrop. Best Adventure Film, Port Townsend FF. www.mikeylikesrocks.com/blog (USA, 2012, 4min)

For a full list of the film showings, visit http://orcascenter.org/.