Films address water, energy issues

Sierra Club screens environmental documentaries tonight

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Past Event

Sierra Club Film Festival

  • Friday, November 16, 2007, 7 p.m.
  • Steamboat Mountain Theater, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $10

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— Rich Levy, president of the local Sierra Club chapter, hopes a 20-minute trailer for a documentary about the Yampa River will be enough to get people interested in the river and its future.

The trailer debuts at 7 p.m. today at Steamboat Mountain Theater in Ski Time Square, as part of the sixth annual Sierra Club Film Festival, which also features two environmentally minded documentaries. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

"Obviously, the Yampa River is the centerpiece of our valley historically, recreationally and culturally," Levy said.

The river faces its share of man-made challenges, such as water quality, but Levy pointed to a controversial proposal that would divert a large amount of Yampa River water from a point near Maybell across the Continental Divide to the northern Front Range.

The film is meant to address the potential consequences of the proposed project, informally dubbed the "Yampa Pumpback," as well as highlight the river's natural and historical treasures, Levy said.

"It will highlight the attributes of the river, not just the threats of the river," he said.

The documentary is the driving force of the Yampa River Awareness Project, a group that opposes the proposed pumpback and its 200 miles of pipeline, which would pass through Routt County if the project is implemented.

"If we cut out the Yampa flow for diversion to the northern Front Range, that could affect all the Colorado River Basin states," Levy said. "It's really more than just a local issue, it's a Western Slope and western state issue."

In addition to the trailer, the festival will screen two films: Gregory Greene's "Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream :" and Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman's "Thirst."

"Escape from Suburbia" is the sequel to Greene's "End of Suburbia," which asked what would happen to the American Dream as oil and energy run out. "Escape" takes a closer look at how declining oil production will impact day-to-day suburban life.

"Thirst" examines water as a commodity in Bolivia, India and the United States. The film's production company describes "Thirst" as "a piercing look at the global corporate drive to control and profit from our water - from bottles to tap."

Levy said the festival tries to focus on current, relevant issues, and the topics of the two documentaries - peak oil and the privatization of water - fit the bill.

"Both water and energy are pretty high on people's list of concerns," he said.

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