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Chuck Jaffee's film reviews for the 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival


By: Chuck Jaffee

NEVADA CITY, Calif. January 8, 2014 - The 12th Wild & Scenic Film Festival (wildandscenicfilmfestival.org) graces Nevada City and Grass Valley Thursday through Sunday, January 9-12. The following reviews appeared recently in The Union. Chuck Jaffee has been writing festival film reviews since 2006.

Backyard: You want a simple solution? Here's a simple solution for any fracking concerns. (Extrapolate to other fossil fuels and other large corporate issues as needed.) Before we start implementing the solution, see "Backyard." While this compact documentary (27 minutes) does not outline the solution, it does remind us, potently, how backyards nationwide are sorely affected or soon to be affected. The solution: Round up the Boards of Directors -- and their immediate families. (More at http://startlets.com/backyard.html )

A Boom with No Boundaries: It's North Dakota, fgahdsakes. If there is a state in the United States less on the way to anywhere and more nothing there when you're there, please put it up for contention. You can barely find a head to count in the third least populated state. North Dakota's idea of a National Park is "ooh, look at the prairie grass blowing in the wind." Sorry, let me start over. (More at http://startlets.com/boomwithnoboundaries.html )

Bringing It Home: Hemp is marijuana. No it isn't. That's pretty much the debate in a nutshell, and the closest the "hemp is marijuana" side can get to the facts is an entrenched guilt by association. We're talking industrial hemp. Marijuana drips with psycho-active THC. If a drug dealer sold industrial hemp, he'd trash his drug dealer reputation (20% THC for getting high; 3/10 of 1% in industrial hemp). The film "Bringing It Home" carries a well-crafted "Hemp is hope" message. (More at http://startlets.com/bringingithome.html )

Gasland II: Whether you're against fracking (hello: global climate change, polluted lives and livelihoods, corporate exploitation run amok) or you're for fracking (hello: jobs, homeland security, cheap energy), see "Gasland II." New to fracking? See "Gasland II" -- THE juicy feature length film for sidling up to a controversial economic boom that's firing up the nation. (More at http://startlets.com/gasland2.html )

GMO OMG: "I do care, but I'm ignoring that I care." In the film "GMO OMG," a mother buckles some under the weight of finding her kids worry-free foods. This isn't just any mother. This is the wife of the filmmaker. Jeremy Seifert is trying to educate his wife, kids … everyone … about genetically modified organisms. He laments that "everyone was getting tired of my obsession with GMOs." When Seifert tells a health-oriented, very veggie interviewee that 97% of soy is GMO, you get yet another flash of the "Oh My God" factor in this film. (More at http://startlets.com/gmoomg.html)

Growing Cities: More than 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln said, "Before long the most valuable of all arts, will be deriving subsistence from the smallest area of the soil. No community whose every member possesses this art can ever be the victim of oppression." I may not have as much quote cred as old Abe, but I say, "America needs a million new farmers fast – and they have to stick with it – for us to have any chance at a better future." (More at http://startlets.com/growingcities.html )

Honor the Treaties: Nothing symbolizes the complex character of the United States of America more than race. It is fair to say that we have come far in matters racial. Of course, we can point to the first Black president of the United States. And yet, we cannot fairly invoke pride in America without an ongoing willingness to look behind the curtain of how far we've come in matters racial. (More http://startlets.com/honorthetreaties.html )

K2, Siren of the Himalayas: Mount Everest, yeh, yeh. K2 may only be the second tallest peak in the world (778 feet shorter than 29,029 ft. Everest), but compared with K2, Everest is a cakewalk. More than 5000 people have summited Everest; only about 300 people have stood atop K2. For perspective, given the natural draw of Everest being the tallest, fewer than 2 percent of climbers die on Everest expeditions. About a quarter of the climbers die in attempts on K2. (More at http://startlets.com/k2siren.html )

Pandora's Promise: Pandora promised her mythological dad, Zeus, that she would never open the container he gave her. She opened it and released all manner of badness into the world. If the myth of Pandora's box were about the energy that powers our lives, that badness would reek of coal, oil, and gas, as well as nuclear energy and even solar and wind, whatever. Everything comes at a cost. The film "Pandora's Promise" does something very important for environmentalist discourse. (More at http://startlets.com/pandoraspromise.html )

Standing on Sacred Ground: Rape. Does that grab your attention? I might have said genocide. Rape unnerves us more because anyone can feel close to the shivering possibility of someone near and dear. Genocide tends to be too far away and too much to digest.Indians, excuse me, Native Americans, are marginal people. I might have gotten fancy and said indigenous people, but then global notions start sneaking in. Next thing you know, someone starts talking environmental justice and global responsibility and everything goes to New World Order in a handbasket. (More at http://startlets.com/standingonsacredground.html )

Uranium Drive-In: To mine or not to mine, that is the question. Put aside unsettled discussion that nuclear power is so important we must mine uranium. The decision to mine uranium boils down to one core focus: jobs. The film "Uranium Drive-In" visits a rural part of western Colorado where job prospects dwindled into a regime of poverty. (More at http://startlets.com/uraniumdrivein.html )


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