On June 13 the Wild and Scenic Film Festival partnered with the San Antonio River Authority for an evening of short films at the Santikos Palladium. This free annual event, now in its fifth year, aims to celebrate activism and raise awareness of SARA’s activities and its impressive portfolio of projects and public parklands.
The filmmakers deftly squeezed a wealth of information about water conservation and parkland preservation into the fourteen films, whose runtimes ranged from three to nineteen minutes.
Through the eyes of bat educator Corky Quirk, of NorCal Bats, The Invisible Mammal managed to cover four types of bats, bat conservation efforts, bats’ vital role in reducing agricultural pesticides, and the devastating impact of white-nose syndrome. (More than 7 million bats have succumbed to this mysterious disease since 2006.)
The crowd favorite was the (Unofficial) History of the National Parks Part One, a collaborative effort by Ryan Maxey and Parks Project. In just over four minutes, the film takes viewers from the Big Bang through the colonization of the Americas, John Muir’s appreciation of the redwoods, the creation of the National Park Service, and the push-pull of government influence.The takeaways, aside from the ever-present threat of commodification and the importance of the arts in cultivating an awareness and passion for parklands (Ansel Adams, anyone?), is the NPS and parklands’ critical role in providing a space for everyone to enjoy.
The film festival doubles as an opportunity to honor recipients of SARA’s Watershed Wise Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties who have helped to raise awareness of watershed issues.
Winners included Concepión Park champion Estela Avery, former executive director of the San Antonio River Foundation; the Hon. Joe Straus, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives; Brenda Justice, a park ranger at Goliad State Park; the City of Kenedy; and the San Antonio Bay Partnership. You can find the full list of honorees on SARA’s site.
Bummed that you missed this opportunity? You can catch the Southern Basin Screening on June 28 at Kenedy City Hall.