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Film Festival Goes Wild

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by Mackenzie Jones

Nature is as essential as food, oxygen and water, and we are sometimes oblivious to its magnificence. Every snowflake, miracle of birth, ray of sunshine and unique tree, are so much a part of our collective psyche that we often take them for granted. Yet when we stop and reflect about nature’s complexity, we are awed. On April 15, at 7 pm, Sandpoint’s Panida Theater will be hosting the annual International Wildlife Film Festival, where the wonder of nature, and the human attempt to capture its essence, will be celebrated through four nationally acclaimed videos. The videos include “Sun Come Up,” “Expedition Grizzly,” “GOOD RIDDANCE! Termites: Attack of the Killer Environment,” and “Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth.” 

In “Expedition Grizzly,” renowned naturalist Casey Anderson and his best friend Brutus, an 800-pound grizzly bear, set out on an expedition to document the lives of vulnerable grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park. Casey has made a full-fledged commitment to the study of grizzlies by living among them, right down to partaking in their diet, including the Army Cutworm Moth. The video received an honorable mention for ‘Human Wildlife Interaction.’ 

The featured videos not only evoke curiosity and charm, but also meet the viewer’s comedic needs. “GOOD RIDDANCE! Termites: Attack of the Killer Echidna” cleverly reveals that there is a way to get rid of pests without poisoning the environment by making the problem part of the solution. This film was the winner of the Festival’s ‘Best Animation’ and ‘Best Sense of Humor’ awards. 

“Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth,” received the ‘Best of Festival’ award in 2009. The movie is a heart-warming tale of a man’s quest to find and film the wild snow leopard, which lives in the remote mountains of northern Pakistan near the Afghan border. Pakistani journalist Nisar Milak and cameraman Mark Smith spent two years documenting the daily life of the snow leopard, finally lifting the veil on this most elusive of all cats.

The evening concludes with Academy Award nominated “Sun Come Up”. This film was the winner of the ‘Best of Festival’ in 2010. It follows the relocation of the Carteret Islanders, a peaceful community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, and now, some of the world’s first environmental refugees. When rising seas threaten their survival, the islanders face a painful decision: they must leave their beloved land in search of a new place to call home. Out of this tragedy comes a story of hope, strength, and profound generosity.

The Film Festival is underwritten by All Season’s Garden Center, and its major business sponsors include Dub’s Drive in and Dr. Jerry and Pat Lewis. The Festival is a fundraiser for Sandpoint High School’s Venture Club, which hosts climbing, camping, mountain, biking, hiking, sailing and other outdoor opportunities for SHS students. Advance tickets can be purchased for $8 at All Seasons Garden Center, Eichardt’s Pub or from any high school Venture Club member. They will also be available at the door for $10. Tickets are $6 for children 12 and under. 

As with any good film festival here in Sandpoint, there will be plenty of opportunities for door prizes and raffle prizes provided by local businesses. It is guaranteed to be a night of education and inspiration. 

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Panida Theater, Sun Come Up, Expedition Grizzly, Good Riddance Termites, Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth, Mackenzie Jones, film

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