Monday, May 9, 2011

Portsmouth's Red Eft Project announces the first Whaleback Environmental Film & Art Festival, May 13-15, 2011

[Press release from the Red Eft Project and the Whaleback Environmental Film & Art Festival.]

Three days. Six screenings. Four installations. Two parties.

Portsmouth's Red Eft Project announces the first Whaleback Environmental Film & Art Festival, May 13-15, 2011.

Come to Portsmouth May 13-15 for a weekend of environmental voices in film and art! For three days, at locations around town, Whaleback Festival will showcase independent films and art projects with themes like getting back to nature, family farming, land protection, climate change, and what to do with those problematic plastic shopping bags!

The Festival is named after the iconic lighthouse that marks the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. Like Whaleback Light, the festival seeks to illuminate and draw in stories and imagery celebrating our environmental culture. Friday, May 13th, Whaleback starts with a Launch Party hosted at the Gas Light from 5:30-8:30pm. Enjoy light appetizers and socialize with friends, filmmakers and artists on hand to introduce the weekend's festivities. Local filmmaker Jerry Monkman will screen his short The Anderson Farm, and the evening culminates with the feature documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time, one of the first showings of the film in New England.

Joining with filmmakers' storytelling, a handful of artists are telling their stories through installations scattered around downtown Portsmouth. Be lead on a Haiku Scavenger Hunt with Portsmouth Eco-artist Tim Gaudreau, who is placing a series of 10 signs along a trail from Market Square to Little Harbor School with images and QR codes that, once scanned by a smart phone, reveal a hidden message and clue to the next Haiku. In a new collaboration, artists Julianne Gadoury and Kathryn Cellerini present Ecosystem of Dukkah, a grouping of paper forms preserved in bees wax, at the base of a cherry tree below City Hall on Junkins Avenue. Artist and Whaleback organizer Dyanna Smith presents Three Ice Cores in Glass, an interpretation of the science of climate change as discovered in the Greenland ice sheet, located in the window of the Three Graces Gallery on Market Street.

Saturday, Whaleback presents film and artwork brought to Portsmouth from central NH's Winchester Middle School, during the Sustainability Fair running from 10am-3pm at Little Harbor School. Winchester students came together this spring to produce their first documentary: Problematic Plastics: What will you do? The film will be shown during the fair, and students will be on hand to lead fairgoers in a community art installation supporting their theme. Also showing at the fair is local filmmaker Bob Svihovec's animated short Little Blue.

Whaleback culminates on Sunday evening with a double feature and wrap party hosted by the Portsmouth Brewery from 5:30-8:30pm in their downstairs Jimmy LaPanza Lounge. Two Vermont filmmakers screen their films - Jessica Zane will be on hand to show her short film Beyond Denial: The Emotional Terrain of Climate Change; leading into Camilla Rockwell's feature documentary Mother Nature's Child. The closing celebration and wrap party afterwards includes the announcement of the People's Choice Award, an ongoing vote for everybody who participates in Whaleback to select their favorite piece of art of film of the weekend!

Whaleback tickets for Friday or Sunday night's events can be purchased online or at the door for a suggested donation of $12. Or support Whaleback with the purchase of an all-inclusive VIP Festival Pass for $20. More information and event details can be found on the festival website at

Whaleback is supported in part through the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Festival sponsors and partners include the Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth Gas Light, Center for Wildlife, Sustainable Portsmouth, Green Alliance, Checkmate Bookkeeping Services, and Stonyfield Farms.

Whaleback is organized by The Red Eft Project, a Portsmouth-based nonprofit fostering conservation and environmental protection through research, education, and opportunities to explore and connect with nature. To find out more about Red Eft, and to see our other initiatives, visit