What better way to celebrate National Rivers Month than with a free film festival? The San Antonio River Authority is hosting its inaugural Environmental Film Festival from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. tomorrow, June 19th, at the Santikos Bijou Theatre. But come early, as the festival has an occupancy of only 200 people. Featuring 10 short documentary films, a full length documentary feature film about the San Antonio River, and informational tables from local environment and conservation groups, this event will undoubtedly leave you feeling a little more eco-minded. With so many important and fascinating stories taking place in such a short span of time, it was hard to choose favorites. Here's a preview of five particularly interesting short entries.
Easily the entry with the most striking visuals, this 7-minute documentary follows the journey of a group of American kayakers through the Mexican jungle in search of the perfect waterfall. Though it has little storyline or details, the film is anchored by a narration of events, emotions, and abstract tidbits that capture the drama and danger of plunging off these enormous cataracts. Although this film has no specific message of conservation, but it does evoke the awe-inspiring power of nature that may make you care just a little about the planet.
An optimistic film about different approaches around the world to save our oceans from debris that refuses to get caught up in the petty details of all the things we can never do. Touching on jewelry-makers and artists who recycle plastic in beautiful ways and on conservationists studying particularly damaged locales around the world, One Beach forges an interesting connection between our waste and where it ends up, and how we can reuse it and prevent further damages.
Deceivingly, this film isn't about a receptacle for drinking water. Instead, it covers Pete McBride's climbing expedition up Mt. Kenya, the titular water tower where a supposed African water god is responsible for 70% of the country's water supply. Clocking in at just under a half-hour, The Water Tower documents the changes the mountain has undergone through the years and an examines weather conditions and the water crisis in this vulnerable region of Africa.
Another one of Pete McBride's beautiful short films to raise awareness about the global water crisis, I Am Red is a "visual poem" about the Colorado River, the famed water source that carved the Grand Canyon. Due to drought and several other factors, the river has dried up and no longer empties into the ocean. As a tribute to McBride's home river and a call for the audience to protect the water sources they love, this film shows a beautiful and saddening picture of America's Most Endangered River.
Marshland Dreams follows the efforts of Azzam Alwash to restore Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes, the beautiful wetlands of Biblical times and ancient civilizations. After they were partially destroyed during the regime of Saddam Hussein, the lifestyle of the marsh Arabs was destroyed an their livelihood gone. Following the Alwash's efforts and the traditional Arabs who depend on the marshes for life, this film beautifully shows a successful conservation effort and the saving of a unique region.