Environmental Film Festival marks 10th anniversary

Augustana Faculty members Kathryn Allen and Susan Kornreich-Wolf have given new life to the Environmental Film Festival. The festival showcases a series of documentaries on campus, in order to raise awareness of the environmental problems on Earth.
This is the tenth year Augustana will host the festival. Wolf has participated for several years, while Allen has been a part of the process since the beginning.
“Back years ago, when we were first getting started, we were so excited about all of the great movies out there that we were running movies in every room we could,” said Allen.
Senior Stephi Drago, an environmental studies and geography major, is involved with the festival both as a viewer and a volunteer. Through Global Effect she helps with advertising: primarily chalk messages and in the past, posters.
“It’s really meant to raise awareness because there are so many problems out there that we just don’t know are happening, and when you realize and watch these films and see that ‘oh wow this is happening in this place’ it really helps raise awareness and will ultimately help people change their reaction in order to help make it better,” Drago said.
One topic that specifically interests Drago is covered in a film called “Damnation,” which uncovers the truth about the seemingly innocent walls of dams.
“We are just realizing all of the issues that are coming along with those (dams), and basically finding out that ‘wow, we need to start taking these things down now because they are much more destructive than they are constructive,’” Drago explained.
Environmental film maker Deia Schlosberg will also be present, showcasing two of her films,“Stories of Trust” and “Uncommon Sense Profiles.” Schlosberg will also give this year’s Ellwood F. Curtis Family Lecture in Public Affairs.
“Because President Bahls offered the Curtis Lectureship as part of the Environmental Film Fest we have been looking for a year, almost, for a really powerful speaker, and one that would relate to the film fest but also to public affairs because that’s the Curtis Lectureship,” Wolf said.
Sophomore Barrie Chileen, an environmental studies and geography major, is not only looking forward to the films, but the speaker as well.
“I was reading through her bio, and she just seems to be like an amazing individual who’s really involved with the environment and stewardship, and she seems to have done a lot and the fact that they opened up that resource and have that individual come talk us is a great thing,” Chileen said.
The festival will be held in the Olin Auditorium on Saturday at 11 a.m. Admission is free, along with refreshments and snacks. The event is sponsored by the Eagle View Group of the Sierra Club, Radish Magazine and Augustana College.
“It really has been a community event, that’s been its purpose from the beginning: to inform as many people as we possibly can, students included, about what’s happening to our planet, and to come away with a deeper sense of education, of knowing as well as inspiration to do something, because just knowing isn’t enough,” Allen said.
She explained some of the problems with the Earth are “just depressing,” and cannot change without people who are actively encouraged to make a difference.
The Environmental Film Festival on Saturday will highlight some of these problems, and give students an opportunity to think deeper about what can be done to improve the environment.