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2023 Films

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Inhabitants: Indigenous Perspectives on Restoring Our World

Inhabitants follows five Native American Tribes across deserts, coastlines, forests, and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices. For millennia Native Americans successfully stewarded and shaped their landscapes, but centuries of colonization have disrupted their ability to maintain traditional land management practices. From deserts, coastlines, forests, mountains, and prairies, Native communities are restoring their ancient relationships with the land. As the climate crisis escalates these time-tested practices of North America's original inhabitants are becoming increasingly essential in a rapidly changing world. 

Sacred Cow

At our grocery stores and dinner tables, even the most thoughtful consumers are overwhelmed
 by the number of considerations to weigh when choosing what to eat—especially when it comes to meat. Guided by the noble principle of least harm, many responsible citizens resolve the ethical, environmental and nutritional conundrum by quitting meat entirely. But can a healthy, resilient and conscientious food system exist without animals?

The connection between nutrition and ecosystem health is starting to make some headway into mainstream media. Everyone is trying to figure out how to feed the world in the most sustainable and healthy way. However, we've allowed corporate interest, big food, flawed science, click-bait media and naïve celebrities to steer us away from what a truly nutrient-dense, ethical and sustainable, and regenerative food system really is. The mantra that “all meat is bad” influences how we're training dietitians, shaping our dietary guidelines, designing school lunch policies, and funding for nutrition-related research.

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Monty and Rose 2: The World of Monty and Rose

“Monty and Rose 2: The World of Monty and Rose” is a feature-length documentary film about the endangered Piping Plovers that have nested at Chicago’s Montrose Beach. They were the first Piping Plovers to successfully nest in Chicago since 1948. The film—a 2021 sequel to the “Monty and Rose” short—tells the story of how the birds took up residence on one of the busiest stretches of the busiest beach in Chicago. It also follows their story from hatching in western Michigan in 2017 to the present day and the 2020 and 2021 nesting seasons.

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Just Eat It.

We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly bethrowing nearly 50% of it in the trash?
 
Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that has been discarded. In a nation where one in ten people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling. But as Grant's addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the 'thrill of the find' has unexpected consequences.

Featuring interviews with author, activist and TED lecturerTristramStuart, food waste expert DanaGunders, and acclaimed author JonathanBloom, Just Eat It looks at our systemic obsession with expiry dates,perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this seeminglyinsignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around theglobe. Just Eat It brings farmers, retailers, inspiring organizations, andconsumers to the table in a cinematic story that is equal parts educationand delicious entertainment.

Stewart Udall and the Politics of Beauty

Stewart Udall left a profound legacy of conservation and environmental justice as Secretary of the Interior during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. His social and environmental successes stemmed from his ability to bring together people with disparate interests, and inspire them to achieve common goals. His example can serve us well today!

More importantly perhaps, Udall called on all Americans to move away from our emphasis on economic growth and consumerism and toward quality of life, and a new politics centered on beauty, frugal living, appreciation of nature and the arts, and a recognition of the Earth’s limits.

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Breaking Trail

Emily Ford, 28, Black, LGBTQ, sets out with Diggins a borrowed female Alaskan Huskie sled dog as her companion and protector to hike the entire 1200-mile Ice Age Trail in winter. As the 69-day journey through subzero temperatures tests her physical and mental endurance, Emily and Diggins develop a powerful bond.

She posts on IG throughout and discovers they are being followed by more than friends and family, receiving encouragement and survival packages from strangers along the way. As her story gathers momentum in local, national and international press Emily learns she’s become a figurehead to encourage those who don’t feel like they belong in wild places, especially people of color, to spend more time in nature. What begins as an extraordinary physical challenge also becomes a spiritual adventure. If successful she will be the first woman and person of color to finish.

Rise Up Again: Exploring Our Shared Humanity

It's not realistic to expect to always be thriving. Life can be messy and we can’t separate the highs and lows or have one without the other. But we can learn to accept the process, to understand that it's part of the journey, and to build our own inner resilience. It’s about bouncing forward and using adversity as a catalyst to get better and become stronger. And we also need to remember that we are part of a community - that when we are vulnerable, we can lean on each other and lift each other up. And together, we are so much more resilient than we know.

 

“This work is not for yourselves – kill that spirit of ‘self’. If you can rise, bring someone with you" - Charlotte Maxeke.

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Era of Megafires

Wildfires have always been a part of our ecosystems in the Western U.S, but their steady increase in size and destructive power over the last 40+ years has been un precedented.

 

The cost to our communities has been devastating.

 

The good news is that we can actually change the way many of these fires come to us! By managing our forests for resiliency, preparing our communities, and adapting to climate change, we can live better with wildfire.

Dear Mother Nature

Wyn Wiley (he/him), aka Pattie Gonia (she/her), has made waves over the past year as an environmental advocate drag queen. We follow Wyn as he travels to Hawaii to see first-hand the impacts of careless consumption and plastics on Mother Nature (or as Pattie says, "Mother Natch"). Wyn meets with scientists, non-profit leaders, volunteers, then rallies the Pattie community to lead a beach clean-up. Ultimately, Wyn partners with sustainable fashion designer, Angela Luna, to create three dresses that personify the plastics crisis.

Earth Focus: For the Love of the Land

Discussing mental health has historically been taboo in many rural communities. As climate change pushes farmers, homesteaders and herders to the edge, this film pierces the mental health taboo through personal, poignant stories of struggle, resilience, and hope.

Where Cranes Dance

The International Crane Foundations, headquartered in Baraboo, Wisconsin, works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. In our new introductory film, Where Cranes Dance, we will take a journey around the world, with some of our charismatic cranes as our guides. Along the way, we will meet extraordinary people, who are working tirelessly to save cranes and the places where cranes dance. When we fly together, everything is possible. https://savingcranes.org/

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Running Free: The Baraboo River Restoration Story

Throughout the late nineteenth century, as many as eleven low head dams were built along the Baraboo River in southwest Wisconsin. As time passed, maintaining these dams became a financial burden to the private landowners and communities that owned them. Beginning in the late 1990’s, a number of conservation groups along with city officials and citizens developed plans to remove dams along the Baraboo River. In October of 2001, the Linen Mill Dam was removed, resulting in a free-flowing river that had not been seen there since the 1930s. This film commemorates the 20 year anniversary of the dam removal project by revisiting the personal experiences of those involved and exploring the improvements to the water quality, fisheries, and adjacent communities since.

The Brix Project

Black Currants in the Driftless is the story of farmer Wandi Peralta of Branches and Berries and his journey from the mountains of Dominican Republic to the hills of southwest Wisconsin. Peralta produces several varieties of rare perennial fruits - the primary crops being a black currant and aronia berry which sells to bakers and beverage makers around the upper Midwest. Matt Raboin of Brix Cider connected with Peralta through the Savanna Institute and their common passion for agroforestry to conserve the Driftless ecosystem. You can find black currant cider on the menu at Brix Cider in small batches.

A Richer Experience: Learn about the truly farm-to-table-to-farm relationship between Brix Cider and Dorothy’s Range. Folllow Farmer April’s story about how she began raising heritage pigs, learn about her farrow-to-finish operation, and discover the rich connections between Brix apples, April’s pigs, and the Brix community.

Taking Care of the Land and Water: Cates Family Farm raises livestock through a deep commitment to land stewardship and conservation. Learn about the impacts of this rotational grazing operation for soil health, water quality, and how this operation furthers Brix’s farm-to-table mission.

Spearfishing: A Living History

Jason Bisonette, an Ojibwe of Odaawaazaga’igan and Marine Corps veteran, is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. Learn how he takes part in safe spearfishing harvest limits through Ojibwe sovereign nation rights in order to preserve Ojibwe education and tradition and to protect the practice for future generations (From The Ways series).

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Milly Zantow: Local Recycling Pioneer

Plastics One through Seven: Short movie on Millie Zantow, the Sauk County woman who devised the plastics recycling numbering system and worked to get the national recycling movement started.

Recycling Revolutionary: When Milly Zantow learned about a problem in her Sauk County community—a landfill closing much earlier than it should—she took action. Seeing for herself that there was too much plastic waste, she thought it should be recycled. At that time, no one was recycling plastics, but Milly figured it out. She went on to come up with the idea for the numbering system to identify plastics for recycling, now used worldwide, and she helped with the writing of Wisconsin’s recycling law, making her a real revolutionary for an important cause.

Last Wild Places: American Prairie Reserve

The American Prairie Reserve is assembling land in northern Montana, with the goal of creating a seamless 3.5 million acre grassland habitat. When they reintroduce bison to the landscape, both the ecosystem and local people benefit.

Protected: A Wild and Scenic River Portrait

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Follow river paddler, author, and conservationist, Tim Palmer, through the enchanting waters of Oregon’s Wild Rivers Coast, which has the highest concentration of National Wild & Scenic Rivers in the US. With just a canoe, a camera, and an old van, Tim finds his bliss and his calling on these rivers, and has found a way to share their beauty… while reflecting on the significance of national Wild & Scenic Rivers Act that protects beautiful rivers all across country.

Game Hawker: A Wild Journey to Falconry

Shawn Hayes leads a life of devotion. For him, falconry is more than a deep partnership with raptors: it’s his life’s work. As an American falconry ambassador, he’s carved a space for himself where people of color haven’t always been welcome. It’s taken him across the globe, into strongholds of tradition and conservation. This film is about more than what humans can train birds to do—it’s about what those birds can teach us about living in partnership with wild creatures and wild places.

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Pollination. The ancient partnership between bees and plants is so fundamental to life on land that we often take it for granted. But a team of scientists is discovering that an unexpected third partner makes the bee-plant mutualism possible. Developing bees rely on microbes – bacteria and fungi – to consume nectar and pollen and become a protein-rich food source for the bees. Without the microbes, the bee-plant partnership falls apart. This discovery presents an urgent question: how are microbe-killing chemicals like fungicides affecting bees? And how can we adapt food systems that depend on these chemicals to protect wild pollinators?

The Good Land

Devil's Lake state park is home to some of the best bouldering the Midwest has to offer. Over the past 10 years the lake and it's surrounding areas has experienced a bouldering resurgence. A group of dedicated climbers have poured their lives into this place, reviving old areas and relentlessly searching for new lines. Devil's Lake is unique and holds a special place in the hearts of those who have taken the time to fully experience it. Welcome to The Good Land.

Seed Opportunities: The Efforts of SSWIG in Southwest Wisconsin

A Wisconsin farmer-led watershed group, the Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group (SSWIG) is a community of farmers and partners that share a common goal of improving our soil and water quality through soil health and other conservation practices.

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Persistence: Midwestern Farmers and Their Uncommon Crops

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Eight unconventional Midwestern farmers share the beauty, hardships, and highpoints of their calling. This refreshingly honest mini-documentary about the ups and downs of growing uncommon fruit and nut crops in the Midwest revels in the moments of poetry, and the unvarnished truths, found on the farm.

Flowing Free: Recovering Native Trout and Restoring Communities in Wisconsin

The national forest in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is crisscrossed by streams filled with fat brookies and dotted with ponds brimming with bass, pike, and walleye. "Flowing Free," a new film from Trout Unlimited, takes you there: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, home to 1,200 miles of fishable streams and 600 fishable lakes.

In and around this forest, Trout Unlimited is working with state and federal agencies to restore streams before the next flood. Thanks to investments from the likes of FEMA, we can fix basic but costly problems that plague rural communities—and hamper efforts to rebuild native Eastern brook trout strongholds.

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