The Boulder Environmental/Nature/Outdoors Film Festival (Boulder E/N/O FF) today officially announced their film lineup which will celebrate the natural world around us – the ocean, land ecology, and the air we breath. Boulder ENO FF will take place at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, Colorado (2590 Walnut Street) on July 10-13. Ben Masters’ THE RIVER AND THE WALL is the Opening Night selection, and Benedict Erlingsson’s WOMAN AT WAR is the Closing Night selection.
Created by Richard Paradise, the Founder and current Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society which produces the Martha’s Vineyard Environmental Film Festival, the Boulder E/N/O Film Festival will strike a balance between films, panels, and events focused on the environment and how we all exist within our world’s ecosystem, with films that celebrate the undeniable beauty of the “outdoors” and sports that bring us closer to mother nature through those entertaining and oftentimes thrilling activities.
Paradise said, “In our first year, we have a lineup of films that don’t simply look at our world and the state of our environment and its resources, but have put together a program that will invite the audience to delve further into the topics and issues brought up by those films and filmmakers. This is our world and while these wonderful, insightful films can illustrate what is going on around us, and illuminate us all regarding both the world’s beauty, majesty, frailty, and our place in it, we think it’s vital to be an active participant in that world. Therefore, the Boulder E/N/O FF will also feature panel discussions and conversations with the filmmakers, their subjects, and experts to give our audiences an opportunity to use the films as launch points to learn more and talk about what they have just witnessed on the big screen.”
Boulder E/N/O FF will open with Ben Masters’ award-winning documentary THE RIVER AND THE WALL on Wednesday, July 10, following a Gala reception, Green Carpet entrances, and live music by The Doscocos Jazz Trio at the Dairy Arts Center. The event will also include VR (Virtual Reality) content from PROTECT OUR WINTER and Google’s Earth Wall and Sustainability Presentation.
THE RIVER AND THE WALL follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Inspired by the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead, and what he saw as the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas, Masters recruited NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on a two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters. The film won the Best Texan Film at SXSW, and tied for the Audience Award at the EarthxFilm festival.
A crowd-pleasing multi-award winner, Benedikt Erlingsson’s WOMAN AT WAR, will close out the film festival on Saturday, July 13 at the Dairy Arts Center. The film won Audience Awards at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Seville European Film Festival, and the Tromsø International Film Festival. A critical favorite as well, The Hollywood Reporter said “Is there anything rarer than an intelligent feel-good film that knows how to tackle urgent global issues with humor as well as a satisfying sense of justice? Look no further than Iceland filmmaker Benedikt Erlingsson’s gloriously Icelandic (for lack of a better adjective), near-perfect follow-up to OF HORSES AND MEN, featuring an environmental activist modestly taking on the world, one electric pylon at a time.”
Following the screening of WOMAN AT WAR, the film festival will wrap things up with an after party at the Hilton Garden Hotel (2701 Canyon Blvd.).
Additional highlights include John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, about a couple that took a vision to start a farm that produced a wide variety of fresh, thoughtfully grown food and turned it into a robust and highly functioning biodynamic operation that grows food without pesticides, poisons or any of the other mainstays of modern farming. The film has been a popular festival-favorite this year. Marcus McCauley from McCauley Family Farms and Ethan Steinberg, a startup growth expert from Propagate, an agroforestry analytics and project development company, will be on hand following the screening for a Q&A.
Karina Holden’s film, BLUE, looks at the crisis point the world’s oceans, and in particular – our coral reefs, have reached in this Australian documentary that has also spawned a call-to-action to correct the abuse of the world’s waters before it’s too late. Ocean First’s Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza will attend the screening to talk about the film and the issues presented in it. Roger Sorkin’s CURRENT REVOLUTION also blends the documentary film with a call-to-action aspect. The film is about the status of our electricity grids and systems, the battle to replace those aging systems as well as incorporate solar energy into the mix as a means to transition from petroleum-energy dependence. The film is the first in a series of planned films dealing with environmental topics and the screening will include a “Clean and Renewable Energy Film & Forum” panel discussion for audience members to learn more about the topic from the Sorkin and other guest speakers.
Additional special guests will include Martina Halik, one of the subjects of Grant Baldwin’s THIS MOUNTAIN LIFE, who, with her 60-year-old mother Tania, attempted a bitterly cold 2300-kilometer ski trek from Canada to Alaska through the treacherous Coast Mountains; a journey that has been completed only once before, and never by a female duo.
Tickets and passes are available and on sale now. For more information, please go to: https://www.boulderenoff.org/.
The 2019 Boulder Environmental/Nature/Outdoors Film Festival Films & Descriptions
Opening Night Selection
THE RIVER AND THE WALL
Director: Ben Masters
Country: USA, Running Time: 99 min
In his last feature-length film, UNBRANDED, Ben Masters set out to cross America on wild mustangs in an unforgettable journey across public lands. In his latest film, he sets out with an equally audacious and challenging plan: to navigate 1,200 miles of the border between the USA and Mexico on horses, mountain bikes and canoes. While everything the native Texan does involves some sort of adventure, his real purpose in THE RIVER AND THE WALL is to explore the wildlife across this complex and diverse terrain, and understand how it would be affected by the wall proposed by President Donald Trump. The film provides a different layer to the debate raging from Washington, D.C. to El Paso and beyond as Masters paddles, pedals and rides his way through this thorny issue.
Closing Night Selection
WOMAN AT WAR
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Countries: Iceland/Ukraine, Running Time: 104 min
Halla is a 50-year-old environmental activist who crusades against the local aluminum industry in Iceland, purposely damaging electricity pylons and wires to cut off their power supply. As her actions grow bolder, and the government ramps up their efforts to catch and discredit her, Halla’s life changes in the blink of an eye when she is finally granted permission to adopt a girl from the Ukraine.
Additional Feature Film Selections
Director: Josh Murphy
Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min
ARTIFISHAL is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
Director: John Chester
Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min
John and Molly Chester were living in Santa Monica when they were forced to move from their apartment because their dog was making too much noise for the neighbors. What they moved to was a dream of sorts, a scratchy, tired farm less than an hour from Los Angeles. Molly was a chef with a vision of a farm that produced a wide variety of fresh, thoughtfully grown food that she could cook with. John’s background was filmmaking. And together with no real agricultural experience between the couple, they took on the arduous, multi-year task of reimagining and reworking their Apricot Lanes Farm into a robust and highly functioning biodynamic operation that stays true to their values of growing food without pesticides, poisons or any of the other mainstays of modern farming. Their story is captured in this remarkable film that educates and inspires us on how we can eat and live a different life.
Director: Karina Holden
Country: Australia, Running Time: 76 min
BLUE is a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing this critical moment in time when the marine world is on the precipice.
Director: Roger Sorkin
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min
CURRENT REVOLTION is the first film in a series which tackles the challenge of how the utility, auto, tech and defense industries can help modernize the aging power grid to make it more secure and responsive to the needs of its users, while enhancing environmental performance. Through interviews, observational and archival footage with top executives, military personnel, utilities workers, elected officials and others — from substations to gas stations, board rooms to military bases — the film tells the story of a towering American industry on the brink of massive change. Whether it fails, prevails or adapts, the outcome will profoundly affect us all.
INTO THE CANYON
Director: Pete McBride
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
When photojournalist Pete Mcbride and author Kevin Fedarko set out to hike the entire length of the Grand Canyon — a grueling 750-mile transect through some of the country’s most unforgiving terrain — they learn the hard way why only a handful of humans have pulled off the feat. It’s a tremendous challenge that entails oppressive heat, dizzying exposure and incredible physical stamina. But the trek allows them to take on a more important mission: documenting the threats that surround one of America’s most iconic national parks. In INTO THE CANYON, the duo ventures into the fragile and otherworldly landscape, examining what’s at risk to be lost to uranium mining, large-scale development, growing helicopter traffic and more. Along the way, they battle the heat, scramble through exposed cliffs, get snowed on, nearly die once or twice and gain intimate knowledge of the canyon’s singular, magnetic, life-changing draw.
THIS MOUNTAIN LIFE
Director: Grant Baldwin
Country: USA, Running Time: 76 min
Martina Halik and her 60-year-old mother Tania attempt a bitterly cold 2300-kilometer ski trek from Canada to Alaska through the treacherous Coast Mountains; a journey that has been completed only once before, and never by a female duo. Their adventure is interspersed with beautifully crafted portraits of high-altitude human endurance: the gripping story an avalanche burial; a group of nuns who inhabit a mountain retreat to be closer to God; an impassioned alpinist; a focused snow artist; a couple who has been living off grid in the mountains for nearly 50 years.
Inspiring Eco/Outdoors Short Films
Director: Jess Colquhoun
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
“I didn’t think I had a future,” Will Robinson says of coming home from Iraq with PTSD and injuries. For 12 years, he endured the dead ends of medication-and-alcohol abuse and ineffective therapy. Then inspiration struck. He tackled the Pacific Crest Trail, then the Appalachian Trail, walking 3,800 miles on his own path to recovery. “Hiking gave me the ability to be the person that I always was, the confident person who was capable of doing anything,” says Robinson, whose trail name is Akuna.
CLIMBING OUT OF A DISASTER
Director: Dominic Gill
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
Bryant Huffman spent his days deep water soloing, sport climbing and bouldering as founder of Climbing Puerto Rico. Then Hurricane Maria dropped a nuclear bomb of water and wind, which destroyed much of the island. With his work as a guide temporarily suspended, Huffman and his climbing buddies put their skills to good use by morphing into emergency arborists. And out of the devastation comes a glimmer of something positive. The hurricane peeled huge chunks of limestone from cliffs, creating scores of new routes.
THE THEORY OF HUMAN MOTIVATION
Director: Duct Tape Then Beer
Country: USA, Running Time: 3:15 min
What gets you up in the morning? There are fundamentals: water, air, food. But from there it gets deeper. If you’re like the filmmakers, it’s a need to thrive, grow, to become the person we dream of being. We wake up to close the gaps between the supposed to do’s and the want to do’s.