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Films with Purpose


Alliance festival invites you to be inspired by movies

      Instead of kicking back and watching Netflix on a cold January evening, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay hopes to entice you out to Maryland Hall for an evening of movies at their second annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival.
      Now an annual fundraiser for the Alliance, the January 23 festival presents 14 short films. They aim to inform, inspire and ignite possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers can expect to see award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture, Native American and indigenous cultures.
      Last year, the Alliance’s inaugural event sold every one of its 150 seats. 
      “That was both amazing and unexpected,” said Communications and Maryland Outreach Coordinator Lucy Heller with the Alliance. “We held it at St. Margaret’s Church in Annapolis and the only complaint we heard was that the venue was too small.”
      Heller says the festival is unique in that it offers something different than the Alliance’s other signature event, Taste of Chesapeake.
      “Taste of the Chesapeake is a bit expensive for some people, this festival makes supporting the Alliance pretty easy and attracts a different crowd... We have space for 180 and we have already sold 120 tickets – so we are excited about potentially selling out this event, too.”
      Heller joined other team leaders from the Alliance’s offices in Lancaster, Penn., Richmond and Washington, D.C., in narrowing down a field of 150 films available for their showings. Each location will show the same slate of films on the same night.
      “We started working on the selections over the summer and hope we found the right combinations. We have some films that will be more science-y, like Blue Carbon, and others that are more human interest, such as the one about the 97-year-old marathon runner, For the Love of Mary.
       “We hope these films help open the door to new people learning about the Alliance and being inspired by all this beautiful scenery and we hope it pushes people to get outside more and become closer to nature.”
     Here to tempt you, a preview of the films: 
A New View of the Moon 
      Become reacquainted with awe alongside strangers interacting with a telescope trained on the moon. Watch as Wylie Overstreet takes a telescope around the streets of Los Angeles to give passersby an up-close look at a familiar object in the sky. 
Blue Carbon 
      “Blue Carbon” is carbon that’s captured and stored by coastal wetlands, helping to mitigate climate change. This film is about mud and the multiple benefits that estuaries provide for us. “You never go into a wetland and just restore one benefit,” says wetlands ecologist John Rybczyk. It improves water quality, provides salmon habitat, protects our shorelines and also benefits our climate. 
Brotherhood of Skiing 
      Since 1973, the National Brotherhood of Skiers has overcome barriers by bringing soul and smiles to the mountain. Formed during the height of the black power movement, the organization is dedicated to creating a welcoming space for people of color on the slopes and supporting black youth in snow sports. Today, the NBS hosts the largest gathering of black skiers in the US representing 53 ski clubs with over 3,000 members across the country.  
      On a clear morning in Portland, Oregon, 14 youth with oversized backpacks await a long day of travel. Along with five veterans, a few volunteers and Axe the service dog, they are headed to Fairbanks, Alaska. From there, they will pile into bush planes and fly into the Arctic Circle. This is Soul River, a non-profit organization founded by decorated Navy veteran Chad Brown. Their three-week deployment to the Chandalar River is the culmination of outdoor conservation education, collective strengthening, leadership development, healing and a whole lot of fishing. 
Clay Bolt 
       Clay Bolt is a natural history and conservation photographer for the World Wildlife Fund and has been featured in prominent magazines such as National Geographic. Affectionately referred to as the “bug guy,” Clay explains how and why he focuses on the 99 percent of life on earth that is smaller than your finger. 
Climbing out of Disaster 
      In the immediate aftermath of Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria, a group of local climbers bands together to use their skills and knowledge for the greater good of the community. 
     JaBig, a Montreal-based DJ, is on a quest to beat the record for the longest continuous bike ride in a single country. Join him on the last day of his ride to discover what happens when you stop listening to all the reasons why you shouldn’t, and listen to the voice inside you, telling you to go. 
  For the Love of Mary 
      97-year-old runner, George Etzweiler, completed a race up the Northeast’s tallest peak, Mount Washington, for the first time when he was 69 years old. Despite having a pacemaker, the State College, Pennsylvania resident competes in the grueling 7.6-mile race up nearly 4,700 feet of paved road, breaking his own record each year for the oldest finisher. In addition to his ancient, lucky, green running shorts, Etzwelier carries something else special with him: the memory of his late wife of 68 years, Mary. 
Grizzly Country 
      After serving in the Vietnam War, author and eco-warrior Doug Peacock spent years alone in the Wyoming and Montana wilderness observing Grizzly bears. His time in the wild changed the course of his life. With the protection of Yellowstone grizzlies now under threat, Peacock reflects on the importance of habitat and why he continues to fight for wild causes. 
March of the Newts 
      Follow one of the forest’s funkiest creatures into a gangly gathering of amphibious affection...learn how you can help protect these sensitive animals from an emerging disease. 
Mexican Fishing Bats 
      When the sun sets over the Sea of Cortez, a tiny bat weighing about as much as five nickels emerges from the boulder-covered hillsides on Isla Partida and heads out to sea. And night, according to PhD candidate Edward Hurme “is when the magic happens.” All night, the bats swoop across the sea surface, snagging fish that elude capture by researchers despite their boats, nets, and high-tech gear. This video follows Hurme and his team in action, as they untangle the mystery of how these endangered bats find their prey. 
Music of Spheres 
      Our ancestors believed that the movement of celestial bodies were a form of music. They called it the “music of spheres.” Wanda Diaz-Merched, a blind astrophysicist from Puerto Rico, studies the universe through sound and carries on this ancient tradition. Using Wanda’s actual sounds, this film weaves the journey of a truly unique scientist. 
My Mom Vala 
      Life has a way of putting us where we need to be. For Vala, that’s in both Greenland—where she works at her family’s fishing lodge—and Reykjavik, where she teaches her daughter how to do it all on her own, too. 
   Our National Parks belong to everyone. So why are      they so white? 
      Only 20 percent of National Park Visitors are people of color, as the broader conservation movement continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion. Watch this video to learn about the troubling history of public lands and to meet the conservationists of color who are trying to change the parks’ future.  
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival, doors open 5:30pm, film program starts 6pm; event ends at 9pm, Maryland Hall, Annapolis, $30 w/discounts, rsvp: