The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Wild & Scenic film festival makes water a fresh topic

Imagine a country that isn’t divided by colonial scars, but instead divided by issues of water. Wild and Scenic Film Festival is part of a movement to raise awareness of local environmental issues, which could be the first step in redefining the Virginia-North Carolina border.

The festival will showcase short films centered on the environment. Amongst the collection of films are Browery Youth Award winners, who were recognized as environmental sustainability leads, and “Swine Country,” a film by seniors Sol Winer and Tom Clement which displays the impact of hog farm pollution on residents of Duplin County, N.C.

Started by the South Yuba River Citizens League, the festival is rooted in environmental stewardship and community building. This festival will be hosted on April 25, by the Cape Fear River Basin Studies Program, an initiative by the Center for Principled Problem Solving at Guilford College.

“I think the intended meaning of the festival is to … start a conversation about how to develop a sense of place around shared water,” said Instructor of Art and Experiential Learning Specialist for the Center for Principled Problem Solving Maia Dery. “Water, as far as I can tell, is one of our most inclusive issues … and I don’t know why it shouldn’t define our place.

“What if my sense of identity was based on lines before any human or their politics got here?” asked Dery. “I think that might help all of us see this place, its potential (and) our ability to live in it over the long term with fresh eyes.”

Profits from the festival will benefit the Haw River Assembly — the voice of the Haw. The river runs from Greensboro to the Atlantic, meeting the Deep River mid-way through North Carolina to form Cape Fear. The Haw River was just declared the ninth most endangered river in the country, so making the Assembly’s voice heard is a priority.

Executive Director of the Haw River Assembly and Haw Riverkeeper, Elaine Chiosso, revealed an important step to save the river: prioritizing clean drinking water. The importance of saving the river will be emphasized at Wild and Scenic.

“I think art, whether it’s music, film, dance … can reach people in a way that just reading the news doesn’t do,” said Chiosso in a phone interview.

The festival hopes to reach wide audiences to spread the message. It is expected that a majority of moviegoers will be resident of Cape Fear River Basin, ranging anywhere from Guilford to the eastern tip of NC. In addition, there may be visitors from out of state and even other countries.

“It’s going to be good to have all that energy in the room … because those people are in this place and their wisdom is untapped,” said Dery.

Sophomore Marek Wojtala agreed that the festival is an opportunity to start a conversation about change.

“Maia’s sold me on the transformative properties of water, and … (Wild and Scenic is a) good chance to share it with people at Guilford and the larger Greensboro community,” said Wojtala.

While water exists in every community, the concept of naming a location based on its rivers is uncommon. Chiosso noted that an ecological address — a place of residence based on topography, water sources, etc. — is not used as often as a street address or a location built on political history.

The film festival is an opportunity to reconsider place, to measure North Carolina based on river lines rather than state lines.

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Carson Risser, Staff Writer

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