Local filmmaker puts river clean-up on the big screen

The film is part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, coming Feb. 9 to The Blue Note.

Some audience members at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival's Columbia stop might see themselves featured on screen.

Coming to Columbia for the first time, the festival will feature eight of the 110 films featured at the groundbreaking three-day festival in Nevada City, Calif.

One of these eight films is "Missouri Stream Team," created by local filmmaker Jim Karpowicz. The film profiles the work of various river clean-up organizations that make up the Missouri Stream Team, including Missouri River Relief, a group founded in Columbia 10 years ago.

“My film basically chronicles the story of the Missouri Stream Team movement,” Karpowicz said. “ It really is a movement. The film was made in celebration of the Stream Team program's 20th anniversary.”

Columbia is one of 43 stops on the 2011 tour.

Venues outside of Nevada City pick their own line-up of films from the 110 to host smaller, customized satellite festivals in their respective cities.

Tour Manager Susie Sutphin said the new venues allow the festival's founding organization, the South Yuba River Citizen's League, to share the experience with more people.

"We could basically share our success as a river group with the film festival with more and more communities," she said.

Missouri River Relief Program Manager Steve Schnarr is part of the committee that brought the festival to Columbia. He said the festival would be a great way to begin the organization's tenth year.

"We thought this would be a really fun great way to kick off our tenth anniversary and get everyone together in this area that's helped make (Missouri) River Relief and sustain us," he said.

Films featured at the Columbia festival will include everything from surfing to ladybugs, and range from a couple of minutes to around half an hour. The event will end with a performance by local musicians Crazyfish and Friends.

Karpowicz will be on hand to introduce his film, which has been played in around 20 different venues across the country, and to honor the efforts of many of those in attendance.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is the first festival-type screening for “ Missouri Stream Team” in Columbia.

Karpowicz said getting to interact with all of the volunteers he featured in the film was one of the best parts of the filming experience.

"While it was officially a state program, it's the volunteers that made it happen, so we were really touched by the people we were talking to and interviewing because of their dedication to cleaning up Missouri's waters," Karpowicz said.

In an effort to reward the volunteers and workers who make such environmental projects possible, all proceeds from the Columbia festival are going to Missouri River Relief.

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