Wild & Scenic Film Festival: 13 Movie Previews  

This year’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival comes to the Whiteside Theater on Thursday, November 17. Short films on the theme “Currents of Hope” will run from 7:00 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m., with the Whiteside providing its usual refreshments as well as beer from Block 15 and wine from Lumos.  

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for college students, and $5 for kids, 12th grade and younger. Click here to buy online. Tickets will also be available at the door. Proceeds support the Corvallis Environmental Center and its mission of connecting local youth with nature and healthy food. If you can’t make it to the festival in person, it will be available to stream from November 17-21, and local teachers can get a special classroom version to show their students.  

The 13 films in this year’s festival, in the order they will be shown: 

“Finding Salmon” 

The festival’s opening film is presented by Corvallis-based nonprofit Freshwater Illustrated, and follows 11-year-old Keyona into a wondrous world of trees, water, and friendly fish. The Salmon Watch program, which gives Northwest students hands-on experience with salmon habitat, is featured.  

“Rooted in Culture: Oregon’s Wild Camas” 

Camas root has been a staple of Northwest Indigenous people for thousands of years. Oregon director Michelle Alvorado’s film explores the plant’s history through members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs who continue to harvest the roots today.  

“My Last Day of Summer” 

A lively mix of animation and live action, this short film uses the imaginative journey of a young mountain biker to explore issues of wildfire, forest conservation, and outdoor adventure.  


This documentary short from director Ami Vitale tells the story of Shaba, a young elephant orphaned when her mother is shot by poachers, and the special bond she forms with the women who prepared her for a return to the wild at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya.  

“Vala North” 

In the far northern atolls of Papua New Guinea, chieftain John Aini uses traditional knowledge to save the enchanting but endangered coral reefs of his home. Vala North offers a thread of hope in a changing world: Hope for coral reefs around these islands, and for the communities that rely on them.  

“True Wild” 

One of the largest wolf packs in North America lives on Ted Turner’s ranch just outside of Bozeman, Montana. This film follows the pack as well as the wolf expert who studies them, and re-examines the complicated relationship between humans and wolves in the American West.  


Another mixed-media entry, this short from Swiss director Sämi Ortlieb combines ski footage and stop-motion animation to create an exciting new take on the ski adventure film.  

“The New Environmentalists: Rainforest Action” 

The latest in this ongoing series highlights activists safeguarding the Earth’s natural resources from exploitation and pollution, while fighting for justice in their communities. The activists in this series are recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize.  


This film follows Erin Parisi’s journey as she comes into her own identity as a transgender woman and trains to climb the famed Seven Summits, the highest peaks on every continent, to create awareness and visibility for the trans community.   

“The Church Forests of Ethiopia” 

Ethiopia’s old growth forests have been decimated by agricultural expansion, but pockets of this irreplaceable ecosystem survive around hundreds of churches, “scattered like emerald pearls across the brown sea of farm fields.” Forest ecologist Dr. Alemayehu Wassie is working with local priests and communities to protect these vital islands of forest.  

“Guardians of the River” 

Returning to Oregon and California, this film by American Rivers and Swiftwater Films highlights the struggles and victories of the Yurok people as they work to remove dams on the Klamath River. Set to start next year, this project will be the largest dam removal in history, and restore salmon access to over 400 miles of habitat.  

“Can’t Beat This Place for Fun” 

This short takes you into the work (and play!) shop of Flagstaff, Arizona’s Fretwater Boatworks as they keep the tradition of wooden boat building alive. Embodying the legacy of famed river runner and ardent conservationist Martin Litton, the Fretwater team’s unique cast of characters work to conserve both a river and a way of life. 

“One Star Reviews: National Parks” 

Ending on a light note, the festival’s last film is a short exploration of America’s national parks through their most cringeworthy Yelp reviews. In a society that rates and grades everything, not even the most beautiful scenery in the country can avoid bad reviews. 

For more information, visit the Corvallis Environmental Center’s website or email karen@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org 

By Ian Rose 

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