Cheap Dates: Wild and Scenic Film Fest lets you bask in the virtual outdoors

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 1:45pm

    DAMARISCOTTA — Right toward the end of February, everyone is feeling the slow grind of cabin fever in Maine, so it’s perfect timing for the arrival of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, screening Monday, Feb. 26 at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta — free to the public.

    And as you know when it comes to this column, if it’s free, it’s Cheap Dates-approved!

    So what is the Wild & Scenic Film Festival?  Much like the Banff Film Festival, this is a five-day festival that kicks off in California each year featuring more than 125 award-winning environmental and adventure films, as well as speakers, celebrities, and activists. And when they are done, they package it all up and put the film fest on an international tour to more than 150 communities around the world.

    The Damariscotta River Association (DRA) is one of those communities in Maine that has provided a place for this film fest while it is on tour. For the second year in a row, they are screening it one night, Monday Feb. 26 at the Lincoln Theater.

    Hannah McGhee, DRA’s Outreach and Communications Manager and other DRA staff watched several hours of films to condense the tour’s five-day programming down to the one-night event. “We watched all of the 2018 films and selected 10 films that we thought would be most relevant to a Maine audience, ranging in length from three minutes to 30 minutes,” McGhee said. “We chose the ones we thought were particularly well done or thought-provoking.”

    Two standout films include:

    SHIFT (29 minutes): A group of indigenous youth spent 10 years converting traditional trails around Carcross, Yukon into a world-class mountain biking destination and have transformed the community – and themselves – along the way.

    “This was our favorite,” said McGhee. “A town reached a settlement with the Canadian government and gained control over this lovely mountainous area. The townspeople were struggling with how to build an economy in the middle of nowhere. They didn’t want big companies to come in and strip mine, and then they had a conversation with this woman who was an experienced mountain biker and loved the area. After that, the townspeople decided they wanted to develop a network of mountain bike trails and that’s pretty cool in and of itself, but what really made it an awesome project is that they involved the whole community and when they got around to building the trails they hired kids from their own community. These kids would spend entire days in the mountains all summer long, working on the trails and it was such a huge success, it’s now a world-class mountain biking destination.”

    SKY MIGRATIONS (15 minutes): Each fall, our skies fill with the wings of migrating raptors, a migration that relies on two hemispheres worth of wild and healthy ecosystems. Join ecologist and filmmaker, Charles Post, as he shines a light on the network of back country scientists and sentinels at the front lines of raptor conservation.

    “This is a beautiful film, done by a filmmaker who visited a number of volunteer stations on these mountainous places in the western U.S. to observe these raptors on their migratory routes, tag and release them,” she said. “It’s gorgeous footage of these birds and the mountains and a really inspiring story of citizen science.”

    Take a pal or take a date and get your head in the virtual outdoors for just one night.

    To see more info visit Wild & Scenic Film festival on Tour