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Park Film Festival Wows Nature Lovers

Grand Teton National Park

National Park News

Nature lovers enjoyed an uncommon treat last month as the second annual Grand Teton Film Festival brought a panoply of outstanding movies to the big screen at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Modeled after similar events, such as the Telluride and Banff film festivals, the Grand Teton Film Festival featured an exciting slate of movies that profiled environmental issues and highlighted protected areas from the Arctic to the Andes and Asia. Each film showcased remarkable natural landscapes and explored the human experience in the natural world.

John Grabowska, environmental filmmaker and NPS producer, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service historian Mark Madison served as curators for the selections offered during the three-day festival. The event was free to the public thanks to generous funding by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and local corporate sponsors.

From the classic silent film, Nanook of the North, that aired the first night to the finale´ films of American Cougar by Jeff Hogan, local Jackson filmmaker, and The Ends of the Earth, a breathtaking film still under production by John Grabowska about the Alaska Peninsula and its concentration of coastal brown bears, the festival brought entertainment, inspiration, and enlightenment to receptive audiences.

The last two films put a superb finishing touch to the festival.  American Cougar told the story of female mountain lion F51, who lives and narrowly survives in the rugged landscape of Jackson Hole among other powerful predators such as wolves and grizzly bears. This film shared scientific data gained by a team of dedicated and tenacious researchers from Craighead Berengia South and Panthera who tracked F51 and other cougars to document their lives.

Grabowska’s film, The Ends of the Earth, is a work-in-progress; however, the rough cut version shown Saturday evening, September 15th, absolutely captivated and enthralled the viewers. Grabowska introduced his film and described the difficulties in shooting the footage before he requested the audience to serve as a focus group for improvement to the final cut. Being transported to the wilds of remote Alaskan territories for a glimpse of the powerful creatures that inhabit the land was spectacular.

Expanding on the success of the first two film festivals, Grand Teton plans to host a third year and beyond.

Featured films for the 2012 Grand Teton Film Festival included Nanook of the North, Mi Chacra (My Land), Remembered Earth, Chasing Water, Fish and Cow, Refuge of the American Spirit: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, People of a Feather, Tokyo Waka, Woman Among Wolves, Triumph and Tragedy on the Little Bighorn, American Cougar, and The Ends of the Earth.

NPS filmmaker John Grabowska has directed productions from the subarctic to subtropics. Often broadcast as prime time specials on PBS, his films have won awards at festivals around the world. Grabowska led environmental media workshops in Argentina and Panama, co-founded the American Conservation Film Festival and has served as a guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

Mark Madison taught environmental history, American history, environmental ethics, and conservation biology at Harvard, the University of Melbourne, and Shepherd University, and is currently the national historian for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He lectures on conservation issues around the country and runs the conservation archives at the National Conservation Training Center. He has two books in progress: one on wolf restoration and another on the California condor.


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