Film Festival in the Woods Features Chicago Filmmaker

RIVERWOODS, IL – With a mix of short, thought-provoking environmental films, light-hearted animations, and poignant documentaries, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods examines the costs and benefits of sharing space with nature at it’s 2015 Film Festival in the Woods, August 22, 2015, 7:30pm-9:30pm. Some of the short films to be featured include:  Chasing Water and Delta Dawn by award-winning photographer, Pete McBride; CHICAGOLAND, by Ben Kauffman; and Bluebird Man by Neil Paprocki and Matthew Podolsky.

Each film examines the environmental impact of coexistence with our natural world. McBride’s films address the timely subject of water. With extreme conditions in California and the national attention on lack of resources, water has become headline news.  Chasing Water and Delta Dawn shares a photographic and explorative journey on the Colorado River.  Using incredible photography, McBride takes an intimate look at the watershed as he and his crew attempt to follow the irrigation water that sustains the family’s Colorado ranch, down river to the sea. His encounters along the way help us to feel the extreme value of water and the heavy demand on this important commodity in North America.

2015 FF 4x6 poster no sponsorsBirds are also feeling the pinch for resources, with increasing difficulty finding breeding grounds and food sources as land gets gobbled up by homes, highways, and deforestation.  Thirty-five years ago, Alfred Larson decided to retire and in his sudden pause, took note of the change in the landscape.  Once a fluster of noise and activity, the Idaho landscape he grew up in seemed more quiet and still.  Larson began a project to build one bluebird house with his new-found free-time and in so doing launched a conservation effort that changed his life, the landscape, and the local bluebird population.  Paprocki and Podolsky’s Bluebird Man, is a short documentary about bluebird conservation and citizen science.  This Wild Lens production focuses on the efforts of 91-year-old Alfred Larson, who has been monitoring and maintaining over 300 nest boxes for bluebirds in Idaho for 35 years.

Kauffman’s film was made right here in Chicago with Manual Cinema.  Although Chicago boasts almost 5,000 acres of urban natural areas, some wildlife subsist within the built environment.  In the film, CHICAGOLAND, the filmmaker tells a timely story about the unseen wildness of our cities and the animals that also call it home. We follow a lone urban coyote in search of sustenance for herself and her pups while navigating the perils of the Chicago landscape, both man-made and natural. Traveling from the perimeter of the city into its center, we see through her eyes a Chicago where the boundaries of “nature” and “city” are permeable; a Chicago where the wild and the urban intermingle.  This creative endeavor is a nail-biter and a lot of fun to watch.

This popular Film Festival is presented outside on the Brushwood Center lawn with room for picnics, blankets and chairs.  Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing art, nature and discovery by offering multiple points of entry for the public to connect with the natural world.   This festival is in partnership with the Center for Humans and Nature, Lake County Forest Preserve, and the generosity of our sponsor:  Frances Simons/Baird & Warner.

The program is free, but with a suggested donation of $10.  In the event of rain, the festival will be held indoors.  Come at 7pm for a gallery tour. BrushwoodCenter.Org.