Wild & Scenic Film Fest returns

The Blue Note will screen environmentally-themed documentaries at film festival.

Documentary and nature lovers alike will find The Blue Note the definite place to be Sunday. The concert venue’s stage will be taken over by the environmentally-focused Wild & Scenic Film Festival just one day after it plays host to Lunafest’s series of women-produced documentary shorts.

Returning to The Blue Note for its fourth consecutive year, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival features “environmental and adventure films that illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet and the work communities are doing to protect the environment,” according to a press release from festival host Missouri River Relief. Festival organizers say the focus of this year’s selections will be on “the connection between humans and the world we live in.”

The festival is hosted by and serves as a fundraiser for Missouri River Relief, a Columbia-based non-profit organization. Its river cleanup and stewardship activities have resulted in the removal of more than 718 tons of trash from the Missouri River.

“The winter is kind of the offseason for Missouri River Relief, and this film festival is a really awesome opportunity for volunteers and supporters of river relief to get together to share the afternoon and learn a little bit about this world we are in and see some really interesting films,” program manager Steve Schnarr says.

A total of 12 films will be screened during the three-hour festival, which will be held 2-6 p.m. Sunday, with topics ranging from activists’ fights to preventing the damming of a Chilean river to an exploration of one Appalachian man’s vision of using green burials to conserve land.

“We try to get a diverse slate of films,” Schnarr says. “Some are really hopeful, some beautiful, some more thoughtful and some tackle some pretty intense environmental issues that our world is dealing with right now. “

Schnarr says organizers are particularly excited that two of this year’s films deal directly with the Missouri River and issues it faces. “Backyard” discusses the effect “fracking” natural gas extraction has had on the lives of individuals living in five states, including two located in the Missouri River watershed. “Pelican Island Adventure,” directed by MU graduate student Roxi Pop, documents the experience of a group of St. Louis high school students who spent several days cleaning up trash from the Missouri River with MRR.

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