Environmental Film Fest back for Earth Day

Contributing writerApril 18, 2014 

Organizers of Olympia Film Society’s Environment Film Festival will show the German animated film “Moon Man” Sunday at Capitol Theater. The film has been dubbed into English.


By Molly Gilmore The Olympia Film Society’s fifth annual Environmental Film Festival will be of interest to people other than dedicated environmentalists — although the festival includes the West Coast premiere of “Wrenched,” about the original eco-warriors.

In addition to explorations of the plight of bees and steelhead, this year’s festival also offers something for the sports-adventure crowd and a quirky animated film about the Man in the Moon.

Here are at some of the highlights:

n “Wrenched: The Legacy of the Monkey Wrench Gang” looks at the influence of writer Edward Abbey on the environmental movement of the 1970s and ’80s. Abbey’s novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang” was so influential that the term “monkey wrench” has come to refer to the activities of eco-warriors.

This will be the film’s West Coast premiere, said Helen Thornton, the society’s film programmer, who curates the festival.

“It’s a really great film,” she said. “I’ve gotten to watch most of it. It’s very well edited, very beautiful. It’s great storytelling.”

n “More Than Honey” explores why the honeybee population has been declining for the past decade and a half. Thornton knew she wanted to show the film at this year’s festival. People have been requesting it, she said, because it’s a mystery with broad implications. Bees are needed to pollinate 80 percent of plant species.

n “Wild Reverence,” made by Olympia filmmaker Shane Anderson, shows the plight of another dwindling species: wild steelhead. Growing up in Olympia, Anderson fished for wild steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula, but their population has gone into a precipitous decline, particularly in Washington.

These days, he doesn’t try to catch the elusive fish. “I prefer snorkeling for them,” he said. “I can’t justify catching such a repressed population, and just the opportunity to see one of these amazing wild animals in their own environment gives me hope and faith that the species will respond when we give them a chance.”

n “Moon Man,” a German-made animated film that has been dubbed into English, is the festival’s fanciful entry. “The movie’s offbeat charm sets it apart from the frenetic energy of a lot of family-targeted animation,” Sheri Linden wrote in a review for The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s a very sweet, brand-new animated film,” Thornton said. “… It’s an adult film, but it’s really great for kids and families.”

Environmental Film Festival

What: The Olympia Film Society explores bees, steelhead and the meaning of wilderness at its fifth annual festival, scheduled near Earth Day (April 22).

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

Tickets (per screening): $8.50 general admission, $5.50 for film-society members, $4 for children 12 and younger. Matinees: $5.50 general, $4.50 for members, $4 for children

Festival passes: $50 general admission, $30 for film-society members

More information: 360-754-6670 or olympiafilmsociety.org



7 p.m. “Wrenched: The Legacy of the Monkey Wrench Gang,” the West Coast premiere of a documentary about the original eco-warriors.


4 p.m. “More Than Honey,” about the mysterious decline of the honeybee population over the past 15 years.

6:30 p.m. “Wild Reverence,” a premiere that includes a Q&A with Olympia filmmaker Shane Anderson, about the dwindling population of wild steelhead.

9 p.m. “Stand,” which combines the adventure of stand-up paddle-boarding with environmentalism, taking viewers into the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.


2:30 p.m. “Moon Man,” an animated film about what happens when the Man in the Moon decides to visit Earth.

5 p.m. Two short films — “The Meaning of Wild” and “Untrammeled,” a premiere with a filmmaker Q&A – will screen together. “The Meaning of Wild” follows the filmmaker on his journeys into various wild areas, and “Untrammeled” shows the adventures of Montana high school and college students as they experience the wilderness, many of them for the first time.

7:30 p.m. “The Last Lions,” a suspenseful film that follows the adventures of a lioness as she tries to keep her cubs alive.

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