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The Carletonian

Film fest gives activism new stage

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Thirty-three Carleton and St. Olaf students spent last Friday night at the Paradise Center for the Arts in Fairbault to see an environmental film festival. The Wild and Scenic Film Festival is an annual event screened in locations around the country.

“I think the point of the event is to inspire activism and to get people to start thinking about environmental issues and get them to go beyond just thinking about them but to do something in their communities,” said one of event organizers, Natalie Jacobson ’18.

Jacobson and fellow Take Back the Tap member, Ella Fadely ’18, coordinated the with Cannon River Watershed Partnership to encourage the local college student bodies’ involvement in the festival. The two organizers stressed the importance of establishing this partnership between the campuses themselves and the greater communities’ environmental efforts.

“We were also hoping that this event would help both Carls and Oles network with local Northfield organizations and people working really hard to change the environment everyday,” said Fadely.

Jacobson expanded on this further, acknowledging that “there’s sort of a disconnect. I feel like I don’t know anything about the non-profits in Northfield or what type of service is happening in our community, so that’s something we could all push for.

The festival not only helped foster a relationship with the greater Northfield community but also helped the students become in touch with nature.

Funded entirely by companies with a background in environmental activism, the main goal of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival is to help viewers become more aware of the nature around them in this highly industrialized world.

“It’s not just about environmental activism but getting people to think about their connections to land,” said Jacobson.

The event screened ten different films, each less than twenty minutes. Ranging from a thirteen-year-old Iowan political activist to a woman obsessed with composting to a plea to save Chile’s Patagonia region, each film had a different message about the importance of preserving nature.

Freshmen Julia Miller attended the festival, and her favorite was a film set in Washington state. “I loved the film [because] they talked about the actual details of the project they were doing, to restore the river after they took the dam down. I thought that it was really interesting because one of the problems I had with the other films were that they were too much of general ideas and not a lot of things we can actually do.”

Another popular film focused on the journey of an American explorer who started an organization to connect scientists, requesting data or samples from extremely remote areas of the world, with the extreme adventurers who travel to these loca- tions. “I really liked that one because it showed how people who aren’t scientists can contribute to the movement,” commented Fadely.

Both Jacobson and Fadely agreed that Carleton would participate in the festival next coming year in some capacity. Jacobson is even hoping for a screening on campus. “I think the ideal would be for Take Back the Tap and other environmental groups to host one on the Carleton campus because then we can choose the films and we can cater to the interest of the student body.”

This year’s event has given the pair several ideas on what type of films they want to show, how long the screening should be, and what type of people are interested in this sort of event. Until then, both the organizers hope to continue their coordination with the Cannon Water Rivershed Partnership.

“They have a yearly river clean-up event, so we were hoping to get a lot of Carleton students to come to that and sort of build a bridge between the Northfield activism and the Carleton activism,” said Fadely.

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