2015 Film Festival Program Friday April 24, 2015 | Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Oakland, CA


5:00 PM Happy Hour, Sponsored by Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP
Join us for a Happy Hour featuring wine from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Sierra Nevada beer, and banh mi, rice bowls and more from Bicycle Banh Mi. Stroll through the venue, bid on fun silent auction items, enter the opportunity drawing (valuable prizes), and talk to sponsoring businesses and organizations from the community in our tabling area.

7:00 PM Films Start

Featuring Master of Ceremonies, Jack Muir Laws Jack Muir Laws

We are excited to announce that renowned naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws will join us again for this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival to act as our intrepid Master of Ceremonies.

Jack is in love with the natural world and has dedicated his life to sharing this passion with others. He is a trained wildlife biologist and Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. Jack has taught nature education since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. Laws has written and illustrated books about art and natural history including The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is the founder and host of the Bay Area Nature Journal Club, monthly free nature sketching workshops, field trips and events, connecting people with nature through art.

Featuring Special Guests Jason Jaacks and Steve FisherSilentRiver_jasonjaacks
Filmmakers of our feature film, Silent River

Jason Jaacks is a visual storyteller who focuses on social and environmental issues. His films have documented a range of topics, from the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border to performance poetry among Native American youth. In 2012, Jason was named a National Geographic Explorer. He is the founder of SplitFrame Media and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Steve Fisher is an investigative journalist with a focus on U.S.-Mexico relations. Steve Fisher_Silent RiverIn 2014, he was a fellow at the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law where he worked with the ACLU to investigate a little-known migrant incarceration program. He is currently a fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. He most recently co-published an investigation showing the involvement of the Mexican military and Federal Police in the attack that resulted in the disappearance of 43 students.


8:30 PM Intermission (30 minutes) Last chance to bid on silent auction items!

10:00 PM Thank You & Close. Pick up/pay for your silent auctions items at Registration.


Kai Lightener entered the world of rock climbing at the age of six. As fourteen-year-old Kai ascends to the top of the most difficult routes –rated 5.14c– and expands into outdoor climbing, he relies upon the support and encouragement of his single mother, Connie. (Directed by George Knowles, 2014)


American Lawn

In having lawns, are we giving in to societal expectations that have no real rationale, or do lawns have more meaning than we are typically willing to give them? Is the grass really always greener on the other side? For a lot of people, “in lawns we trust” is more than a motto: it’s a way of life. Conversely, many folks see their lawn as an enemy. Lawns actually have a lot in common with other hot button social issues in that there’s no ambivalence where they’re concerned–one way or the other, everyone has an opinion. American Lawn explores this fascinating dichotomy, resulting in a kaleidoscopic, lighthearted, and insightful portrait of Americans of all stripes grappling with their relationships to lawn.
(Directed by Robert Sickels, 2014)



I am not a good freestyle player, but I love to give it a try. For two years now, I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few countries with a ball as a faithful companion.
(Directed by Guillaume Blanchet, 2014)


The Curious Snail

The “Curious Snail” showcases the beauty of a snail’s simple and small world. All 4K and 5K content is available for commercial licensing upon request.
(Directed by Alex Jones, 2014)

 The Curious Snail

Delta Dawn

The Colorado River hasn’t kissed the sea in almost two decades – until the spring of 2014 when an experimental pulse of water was released into this forgotten delta. A team of river runners followed the water to witness this unprecedented restoration effort, and attempted to be the only, and potentially the last to float the Colorado River to the sea by paddle board. With unpredictable adventure as the backdrop, filmmaker Pete McBride tells the story of Western water, a challenged Colorado River and the uplifting potential for environmental restoration via collaboration, all through his repeated experiences chasing a river to the sea.
(Directed by Peter McBride, 2014)

 Delta Dawn

Dryden – The Small Town That Changed the Fracking Game

Sponsored by Earthjustice

The industry kept saying: ‘We have the power; you have none. We are coming. Get out of the way or leave,” said Joanne Cipolla-Dennis, recalling what happened when the oil and gas industry came to her town of Dryden, NY. But Joanne and her neighbors came up with a plan. This is the true story of people who discovered their shared strength and turned the tables on a powerful industry.
(Directed by Chris Jordan-Bloch, Kathleen Sutcliffe, 2014)

 Dryden The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game


What would Planet Earth post about humans on its profile? The Earth fast forwards through a virtual relationship with humans — but soon starts to ask itself whether it wants to be friends with a species that exploits its national resources and threatens animals and plants.
(Directed by Bernd Hezel and Ephraim Broschkowski, 2014)


Love in the Tetons

Sponsored by Mechanics Bank

Fifteen years ago, Juan Martinez, an at-risk teenager from south-central Los Angeles, stepped off a bus in Grand Teton National Park and saw the stars for the first time in his life. The experience inspired him to connect more diverse and urban youth to nature, and in the process, he met Vanessa Torres, a park ranger, and fell in love all over again. This debut film of NPX’s 10-part series reveals the compelling journey that led Juan to the Tetons, to Vanessa, and to his renewed vision of the American Dream: one that blooms out of love, inclusion, and our living, breathing national parks.
(Directed by Amy Marquis and Dana Romanoff, 2014)

 Love in the Tetons

Marie’s Dictionary

This short documentary tells the story of Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language and the dictionary she created in an effort to keep her language alive.
(Directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Go Project Films, 2014)

 Marie's Dictionary

Our Power: Black Mesa, AZ

The Navajo people in Black Mesa, Arizona are trying to protect their aquifer from a nearby coal mining plant’s pollution. The cities of Phoenix and Flagstaff get their water at the expense of the Navajo Nation. As part of the Climate Justice Alliance, they strive to generate “energy without injustice, power without pollution” by using solar power instead of fossil fuels.
(Directed by Mark Decena, Teri Heyman, Kontent Films, 2013)

Our Power: Black Mesa AZ

Pamela – A New Voice for the Environment

Life in the flatlands of Oakland, CA can be a struggle. Pamela Tapia gives us a glimpse into how youth experience life and environmental inequities in Oakland. She shares her own story of how she used her battle with asthma (aggravated by her home’s proximity to diesel truck routes) to become an advocate for her community and for environmental and social change through the New Voices Are Rising program at Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.
(Directed by Melinda James, Brennan King, Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, 2014)

 Pamela A New Voice for the Environment

The Ridge

The Ridge is the brand new film from Danny Macaskill… For the first time in one of his films Danny climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.
(Directed by Danny Macaskill, 2014)

 The Ridge

The New Environmentalists – Eagle Eyes – Peru

The New Environmentalists share a common goal – safeguarding the Earth’s natural resources from exploitation and pollution, while fighting for justice in their communities. The film is the latest in the Mill Valley Film Group’s Emmy Award-winning series featuring inspiring portraits of six passionate and dedicated activists. These are true environmental heroes who have placed themselves squarely in harm’s way to battle intimidating adversaries while building strong grassroots support. Narrated by Robert Redford, The New Environmentalists illustrates how ordinary people are effecting extraordinary change.Overcoming a history of traumatic violence, Ruth Buendía united the Asháninka people in a powerful campaign against large-scale dams that would have uprooted indigenous communities that were recovering from Peru’s brutal civil war.

River of Eden

Join filmmaker Pete McBride, a National Geographic Freshwater Hero, on a journey into the Fijian Highlands to discover why the locals said “no” to easy money from resource extraction, and how they turned to tourism to fund a conservation area that protects one of the most beautiful rivers on Earth.
(Directed by Peter McBride, 2014)             

 River of Eden

Silent River

Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement 20 years ago, U.S. companies have used the Santiago River as their own waste canal. Silent River is a short documentary film that follows a young woman and her family as they defy death threats to try and save one of the most polluted rivers in Mexico.
(Directed by Jason Jaacks and Steve Fisher, 2014)

Silent River

Why I Think This World Should End

Experience this spoken word call to action from Prince Ea.
(Directed by Brandon Sloan, 2014)

 Why I Think This World Should End
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