Friday, May 4, 2012

Film screenings and filmmaking during second annual Whaleback Festival

[From the Whaleback Festival.]

Join Portsmouth's Red Eft Project for a weekend of environmental voices in film and art May 11-13! For its second year, Whaleback Festival showcases independent films and art that illuminate a range of ecological themes. This year's official selections go behind the scenes of international climate activism, show us the ease of recycling and reuse through the shopping bag's point of view, and provide visually stunning inspiration for our own afternoon of filmmaking.

The three-day festival opens Friday evening with the independent feature documentary Just Do It: a tale of modern day outlaws. With unprecedented access, UK filmmaker Emily James takes us into the secretive world of environmental direct action. For over a year James was embedded with groups of climate activists, allowing her to document their clandestine activities. Torpedoing the tired cliches of the environmental movement, Just Do It introduces a powerful cast of mischievous and inspiring characters who super-glue themselves to bank trading floors, blockade factories and attack coal power stations en-masse, despite the very real threat of arrest.

Local activists Emily Bowers and Lynn McCarthy will lead the film Q & A, describing their recent experiences in nonviolent direct action, including May 5th's Climate Impacts Day organized by Opening night activities are hosted by the Portsmouth Gaslight from 5:30-8pm with the film beginning at 6pm.

Saturday, the Festival welcomes to town a group of young filmmakers from Hanover, NH to screen their new film Bag Buddies: a journey from single-use to re-use. These talented kids, ranging in age from 10-14, describe their short film as the coming-of-age story of three reusable bags. As cheerful youngsters, they know little of the world. Through their adventures with the family that buys them, they learn about life. We share their hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. Can they find their place in the world? Can they help the family understand the impact of their choices?

Fresh from their selection in the Short Films category for the 6th Annual Colorado Environmental Film Festival in February, Fletcher Passow (director/producer/actor), Max Greenwald (director of photography/voice actor), and Glen Passow (camera operator/voice actor) come to the Whaleback stage to share their film and lead the filmmaker Q & A. Saturday's screening takes place at Portsmouth High School's Little Theatre from 12:30-1:30pm, as part of the annual Sustainability Day hosted by Sustainable Portsmouth.

Whaleback invites even more audience participation on Sunday afternoon with a screening of three short films and a hands-on workshop by Maine filmmaker and ecological artist Krisanne Baker. Baker's artistic films have garnered international attention, screening at the Bejing International Film Festival and Australia's Scinema art and science film festival. Her two-minute shorts World Water Crises: Potential Effect/Cumulative Effects and Upstream to Downstream (In Our Bloodstreams) are currently touring in the national exhibit Women and Water.

Whaleback audiences will be treated to a special preview screening of her latest film, Content Aware Anxieties before its New York premiere later this month. The film addresses the dangers of the fracking process to our water resources.

Following the screenings, Baker will lead a hands-on filmmaking workshop sharing her techniques for what to look for when simply walking about the community, sending participants right out the front door to collect video clips. Coming back together, the clips will be reassembled into an environmental film and posted online creating the first Whaleback festival community film!      

Sunday's screening and workshop will take place in the Levenson Room of the Portsmouth Public Library from 2-4pm. Audience members who want to participate in the filmmaking workshop are invited to bring any digital still image or video camera that uses a memory card for transferring images.

Tickets for Friday's Opening Night screening can be purchased online or at the door for a suggested donation of $12. Saturday and Sunday's events are free. Whaleback Festival VIP Passes can also be purchased for $25 and help to underwrite the festival. Whaleback is organized by the Red Eft Project, a Portsmouth-based nonprofit whose mission is to engage people in positive environmental action. More information and event details can be found on the festival website at