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Screenings in the Woods

Screenings in the Woods

by Revati Tongaonkar September 9 2017, 1:42 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 42 secs

The sixth edition of the Film Festival in the Woods is set to be held at the Brushwood Centre at Ryerson Woods, Illinois on the 9th of September, 2017. The festival, which screens short films on environmentalism and preservation to an open-air drive-in audience in the neck of the woods, is gearing up for yet another successful event.

Located in the Ryerson Woods Forest Preserve, the centre hosts the annual film festival proudly each year. This year, though, the authorities at festival's organisation have decided to broaden slightly their intake for films. Where every year the focus has been on short films and documentaries about conservation and environmentalism, from 2017 onwards, films that speak about the benefits of nature on personal and community well-being as well.

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Ineterim Executive Director Catherine Game said "Well-being has been an unofficial part of our mission for years. We've just decided to put an emphasis on the well-being you feel when you experience something meaningful in nature."

The film festival is fairly popular in selective circles; looking at past experiences, their audience has kept on increasing steadily no matter the nature of their promotion campaign. The festival is open to all, with just a 10$ donation cost, which helps cover up all expenses. Program Director Jackie Rockwell remembers how, in 2016, people arrived in time in spite of a steady downpour that had completely soaked the ground, with many of the guests bringing blankets and baskets of food, for a picnic-style event.

Game, and Rockwell both refuse to release the entire line-up of the films to be screened. However, they hinted enough to reveal that a first-rate set of films is to be expected. "There are many more opportunities to find short films these days, especially online, but it's not so easy to find a curated collection of high-quality films focused on nature," says Game, before adding "Especially local nature issues."

Emmy-nominated documentary 'Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability' is the featured film for this year, and the second Film Festival in the Woods screening for its director Pat Wisniewski. Shifting Sands is the story of how the grassroot-level campaign in Indiana in 1966 to oppose the damage done by steel mills caught the attention of the nation, and grew on to help create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Rockwell talks of the aim of the program. "We wanted to provide a fun, family-friendly, nature-inspired, artistic event that also helps us promote environmental education." she says "And I believe we've done that. Mainly because we found so many great films out there we really wanted to share them with as many people as possible."

Some of the other films planned for the films include:

  1. The Nature Fix: An animated film, The Nature Fix is publisher W.W. Norton's video introduction to Florence William's book about how the briefest exposure to nature can boost happiness, health and creativity.

  2. Perspective: Made by filmmaker Jesse Brass, Perspective is the story of pastel artist Zaria Forman, who documents climate change.

  3. Three Owls: Shot over a period of ten days, the film documents artist Margaret Macnamara creating her art by applying up to 50 layers of watercolour to create her art.


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