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Wild & Scenic Film Festival Review

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival premiered last Wednesday at the Glenwood Arts Theater in Leawood. The festival was put on by senior Devon Dietrich and showcased a myriad of short films showing how the outdoors has a huge impact on our society. Take a look at my three top flicks from the film festival here:

The Important Places

The Important Places was a heart-warming tale of a father and son who venture out on a raft trip on the Colorado River, which rekindles their connection to each other and to nature. The film brings on a warm, nostalgic feeling by showing vintage-looking footage from the father’s rafting adventures in the 70s. I even got slightly teary-eyed watching the sentimental moments shared as the father-son duo took on the white water rapids together, all while forming their bond and reconnecting them to nature.This film, along with many others in the festival, was key because they added emotion to the topic of nature. Instead of just handing over facts, statistics and numbers to the audience, they made them feel for the people in the films and actually connect to the topic at hand.

Leave It As It Is

Breathtaking aerial shots of the Colorado River paired with powerful narration were the two factors that made Leave It As It is spectacular. This film was a documentary about the threats facing the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon, which include air pollution and being monetized by the tourism industry. This film left me frustrated about how corporations want to manipulate the nation’s greatest treasure, solely to profit on gift shop merchandise and cable car rides.

50 Things

This adorable film starred Parker, a little boy who shows us his 50 favorite things about Northwest Rivers, including playing hide and seek underneath logs and getting to watching wild salmon jump out from waterfalls. This lengthy list of 50 things was condensed into a brief three minutes. It added a playful and lighthearted touch to the heavy topic of environmental conservation, and I definitely let out an audible “awwww!” at one point or another.

The Ridge

The Ridge was an eight minute film that showed a man conquering a rocky ridge, hopping between boulders and climbing up steep mountains, all while riding a bike. This man’s impressive bike tricks like flips, jumps and rotations had the entire audience gasping after every shot. It was fast paced and accompanied by a beautiful shot of an Irish mountain range. Although it didn’t directly discuss the environment, it made me feel empowered to get out into nature and enjoy what it has to offer.


Overall, the festival not only entertained but inspired. It opened my eyes to problems that affect our world, from beluga whale endangerment or how our society often values money and wealth over the pure joy that experiences in nature can bring us.

My only complaint would be that the films presented a multitude of problems to the audience, but never actually addressed how we could fix them. For instance, I wanted to help stop the construction of an oil pipeline that would cut through forests in Oregon, but I didn’t know how.  

I was surprised to see East students scattered throughout the theater after I expected the audience to be a crowd of granola, Patagonia-wearing nature activists. In addition, I felt as if I was being transported from Colorado to Ireland with breathtaking shots and dynamic storytelling, all from the comfort of the Glenwood Arts Theater.

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Annabelle Cook

Annabelle Cook is the Assistant Online Editor as well as the spread designer for the print publication. In her 4th semester on staff, she has developed content for the online, social media, and print platforms and won awards at NSPA/JEA National Conventions. Outside of Harbinger, she is apart of Track & Field and Junior Board. Read Full »

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